How to Can Peaches

by Josée

Homed canned peaches are fabulous to eat when they are out of season. Not only are they less expensive than store bought canned peaches but they taste much better. Here I’ve provided a thorough guide to canning peaches that should be helpful for both the newbie and experienced canner.

Tip: The trick to canning peaches and having fun is to be prepared, enjoy some good music and not to do it alone. If you can snag a good looking guy to help, all the better.

How many peaches?

To determine how many peaches you need, first estimate how many quarts (1 L jar) will be consumed each week in your home. If you don’t think you’ll eat a whole quart in a week then envision your monthly consumption.

We go through one quart a week and that’s only because I ration them. There are 52 weeks in a year so that means we need about 52 quarts of peaches plus some extras for sharing. A quart jar fits about 2 to 2.5 lbs (about 1 kg) of peaches depending on their size and how you cut them up. If I want 52 quarts of peaches then I need 100 to 130 lbs of peaches.

Step 1: Quarts consumed in a week (A) × 52 (weeks in a year) = Quarts needed (B)
Quarts consumed in a month (A) × 12 (months in a year) = Quarts needed (B)
Step 2: Quarts needed (B) × 2 lbs (or 2.5 lbs) = Pounds of peaches required (C)
i.e. 1 quart a week × 52 weeks = 52 quarts needed
52 quarts × 2 lbs (or 2.5 lbs) = 104 lbs peaches (or 130 lbs)

What Kind of Peaches?
Now that we’ve got the math out of the way, go out and get those peaches! Make sure you get freestone peaches and not clingstone peaches. If you aren’t sure if your peaches are freestone ask whomever is selling them. A freestone peach is easy to pit while clingstone is not because the pit (or stone) clings to the flesh, hence the name cling-stone. Tip: If you inadvertently get a huge load of clinstone peaches use them for making peach lavender jam, peach salsa or freeze them.

Quart sized jars (Tip: Use wide mouth)
Lids + Rings
Jar lifter
Water bath canner
A large bowl (one or more)
Large pots (two or more)
Water bath canning pot + lifter
Ladle, slotted spoon + wooden spoon
Funnel (that fits a wide mouth jar)
Old dish rags and dish clothes
Large propane burner + propane tank (optional but worth having)
Sugar (I use cane sugar)

Setting Up
Gather all the equipment listed above and set up your work space. It’s important to have an efficient workspace flow so think about the steps that need to happen and arrange the equipment accordingly. Look through the steps below and envision your work space.

Peeling and Cutting the Peaches
To peel peaches plop them in a pot of boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds and then plunge them into cold water to stop them from cooking. Tip: Don’t bother using ice, unless you have an infinite supply. A large bowl filled with cold water placed in the sink works perfectly. If the water becomes too warm replace the water.

If the peach is ripe the friction of rubbing your hands over the peach will slip the skin off. Tip: If the skin is being stubborn find the spot at the blossom end, or at the tip of the suture (crease). Pinch at the skin here, usually it bubbles up a little in this spot, and pull (see second picture below).

After removing the skin cut the peach in half. To halve a peach run a small knife along the suture of the peach continuing until you’ve cut a full circle around the peach. Keep the knife in the peach and rock it from side to side to dislodge the flesh from the pit. One side will come loose leaving the pit in the other side. Using your figure grasp the pit from the top and remove.

Preventing Oxidization
If you leave a peeled peach exposed to oxygen it will begin to brown. To keep the peaches from browning plunge skinned and cut peaches into a pot filled with water and lemon juice, citric acid or Fruit Fresh. Here are some ratios that can be used.

Preparing the Light Syrup
You can can peaches in water but they won’t preserve as nicely. I opt for a light syrup of 11 cups water and 2.5 cups cane sugar. This makes enough syrup for 7 quarts of peaches. There are so many different ratios of water and sugar out there for light syrup. Just pick something that suits your taste. Mix water and sugar in a pot of bring to a boil and then keep hot.

Preparing the Jars and Lids
Because the jars will be processing for longer than 15 minutes the jars don’t need to be sterilized. Just make sure the jars are clean. Give them a quick wash in some hot soapy water, making sure to rinse off the suds. Prepare your lids according to the manufacturers directions. Tip: I use Tattler lids. These lids are BPA free and reusable.

Set up your canning pot and start warming the water if using a stovetop. If you are using a propane stove don’t worry about pre-warming the water it will come to a boil fast.
Packing and Canning the Peaches

Peaches can be hot or cold packed. This means you can pack peaches into jars cold or you can warm them up in the hot syrup first. I recommend cold packing. Cold packing takes less time, is less awkward and less messy. For peaches there doesn’t seem to be a big difference in the end result between hot and cold pack.

Pack the peaches into the jars pit side down. Tip: Tap the jar onto the countertop to get the peach slices to settle into the jar. You might be able to fit an extra slice or two by doing this.

When you have seven quarts filled with peach slices add the hot syrup to the jars leaving 1/2 inch head space (the space between the liquid and top of the jar). Using a wood chopstick or wood skewer release any bubbles trapped in the jar. Top up syrup if necessary. Don’t use any metal utensils in the jar because it can weaken the glass. Tip: Pressing down on the top peach slice also releases bubbles trapped under the peach slices.

Wipe the rims of the jar and place a lid and ring onto each jar. Tighten the ring fingertip tight. You want the ring tight enough that the contents won’t escape but loose enough that air will escape creating a vaccum.

Place the jars into the canning pot ensuring that the water covers the jars at least an inch over the tops. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling heavily begin timing. For raw pack peaches process for 30 minutes. If your altitude is greater than 1000 ft adjust your processing time accordingly by checking this chart

Tip: Using a propane burner is the best way to can a large amount of peaches. It’s much faster and because the processing happens outside it keeps the house cooler.

Remove the jars at the end of the processing time and allow to cool completely. Tip: If you are using Tattler lids don’t forget to tighten the rings. Do not tighten the rings if using metal lids!

Refrigerate any jars that did not seal.

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Farmlife Chick August 20, 2013 - 4:22 am

Oh my! You are amazing! I found you at the Barn Hop! I linked up my post about peaches! Not as successful as yours!;) Hehe!

AmyG August 20, 2013 - 12:04 pm

Thanks for this easy-to-follow tutorial. I've got peaches coming out of my ears this year, with four fruitful trees, and this will help me get 'er done!

Kim Corrigan-Oliver August 20, 2013 - 2:58 pm

Okay brilliant idea to use the propane burner outside for canning..using this for sure, thanks!

Shirley August 20, 2013 - 3:05 pm

This looks like an easy tutorial to follow. Here I am 71 years old and have never learned to can!! Maybe I'll try these.

Jane August 22, 2013 - 12:22 am

Oh my gosh! What a lot of peaches! I canned peaches last year, but not terribly successfully (as in, they survived, but could have been done better). Thanks for this info! Apparently everyone was getting down to business at this peachfest (hubby with his shirt off in the ladel?! 😉 laughing, so laughing. things just got realz)

Jeremie August 22, 2013 - 8:59 pm

I didn't realize she posted that picture… lol


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