It’s peach season! If you are like me, I love to gather as many peaches as I can and process them so I can enjoy the fresh peach flavor all year long. I’ve already shown you how to freeze peaches, and how to make peach fruit leather. Now this year I’m going to show you how to can peaches!
I used to thinking canning was really hard and was quite scared of it for the longest time. But really it is quite simple. And I can’t believe I went so many years without doing it! I can save so much money by canning my own food. Especially peaches! I like a light syrup or canned in juice myself. But do you know how much a small can of peaches costs now? When I can get a big 22 lb box of peaches for $14 and can them myself to get quite a few quarts….it’s a no brainer.
How to can peaches in light syrup
Gather your supplies!
- Ripe Freestone peaches (obviously)
- Quart jars (wide mouth or regular)
- Lid lifter
- Jar Grabber
- Water Bath Canner
Be sure to prepare the jars. You will need to make sure both the jars and the lids are well cleaned and sterilized. I like to run mine through the dishwasher to ensure perfect sterilization.
Side note on Lid Preparation:
To prepare the lids, simply boil a small pot of water. Add the lids (not the rings) to the hot water and remove from burner. Let the lids stay in the hot water for three minutes. They are now ready to be added to the jars and the water bath processing.
Next prepare your peaches. You will need to blanch your peaches to easily remove the skin from your peaches. Then you can slice them and remove the pit. Some people leave their peaches in halves. But I prefer slices for my canned peaches. It just makes it easier to get out of the jar. Plus then I don’t have to do any extra slicing later on when I only want a few slices of peaches to top my cottage cheese, yogurt or ice cream.
So either slice or half your peaches. To prevent your peaches from turning brown later on you can use the fruit fresh sprinkle. Or I like to just do a quick rinse in water with a little lemon juice. Just like when I freeze the peaches. Place the peaches in a water mixture of 1 Tablespoon lemon juice for every 2 cups water. You don’t need to let the peaches soak it in long. Really I just put the peaches in, stir a bit to ensure that each peach is coated and then drain.
As you are doing this, be heating water to boiling. You will need hot water in a few minutes. It’s always good to get the water hot now while you are slicing the peaches. You know how it always takes longer for a pot to boil when you are watching it. *snicker* There are two methods you can perform to pack your peaches into the jars. You can do a hot pack or a raw pack. I’ll tell you the difference and you can pick. But just a personal preference, I raw pack. Simply because the peaches aren’t as mushy later on when you open the bottle of peaches.
How to Hot pack peaches
Some people prefer the hot pack method. It is thought to be safer for canning. Although my mom always used the raw pack method for 30+ years and we’ve never gotten sick on her peaches. Just saying…. But the hot pack method peaches are less likely to float in the jars. To hot pack simply add sliced peaches into barely boiling water for 5 minutes. Then remove and fill the jars immediately.
How to Raw pack peaches
I like to raw pack my peaches because for me it is easier. Plus I like my peaches to not be as mushy as you tend to get from the hot pack method. But again it’s all just preference. To raw pack, simply slice your peaches and then pack the peaches into the jars. Use a spatula to ensure they are well packed. Add the syrup (which I’ll explain in a moment) leaving just 1/2 inch from the top of the jar. Use the spatula again to ensure there are no air bubbles in the jar. With a wet rag wipe the rim of the jar and put on the lid, prepared for the water bath.
Creating the Syrup for canning Peaches
There are so many different ways you can create the syrup. You can create a heavy syrup, medium syrup or a light syrup. You can even learn how to can your peaches in fruit juices! My favorite method is creating the syrup right in the jar before I pack in the peaches. For me it is just a little less messy.
Since I have carpal tunnel and really can’t lift a big heavy pan of boiling hot liquid and adequately not spill, I opt for less mess. For this method you simply place the sugar into the jar and add an inch or two of hot water.
Swirl the jar around until all the sugar crystals are dissolved. Then pack in the peaches. Then finish off by adding more hot water until all the peaches are covered and leaving 1/2 inch head space on the jar.
With this method you will use 1/4 cup sugar for a light syrup, 1/3 cup sugar for a medium syrup and 1/2 cup for a heavy syrup. That is per jar.
The other way is to mix 5 cups hot water and 3 1/4 cups sugar (this is a medium syrup). Stir until dissolved and keep hot while you pit and cut your peaches. Pack the peaches into the jars and the pour syrup over the top. Make sure to cover all of the peaches at the top, but leave 1/2-inch head space.
Finally the last option is making a syrup with fruit juice. If you would prefer not using sugar at all you can use fruit juice instead. Usually White grape juice is the most picked choice. For a lower calorie and sweetness simply use a 4:3 ratio for the syrup. Meaning 4 cups water and 3 cups juice. Heat it to just barely boiling or just below boiling. Then use it as the syrup and return to the canning instructions. Be sure to visit Pickyourown for more measurements and ratios if you want more options for low sugar, zero sugar, or different fruit juice options for the syrup. They have an amazing article!
How to can peaches- onto the water bath!
You want to place your jars into the water canner filled with hot water. Make sure the water covers each jar by a minimum of 1 inch. Process your jars in the boiling water for a minimum of 20 minutes. Use the USDA Processing time chart below to calculate how long you need to process your peaches based on your elevation.
Once they have been processed, use the jar grabber and remove them from the water. Place on a towel and allow to cool thoroughly. You should begin to hear the jars “popping”. This is the sign that they are sealing correctly. It is the most beautiful music to a homemaker who does a lot of canning. I get so giddy when I hear the musical pop!
Once the jars are completely cooled check each jar to make sure they are sealed. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. And it will need to be refrigerated and used within a week.
If the jars are sealed, it is time to label them and then place them in a dark, draft free room. Usually a storage room of sorts that keeps a fairly regular temperature and not a lot of direct sunlight. This will help the food store longer.
Congratulations! You have now canned peaches! I hope you enjoy the fruits of your labor! Literally! These canned peaches are amazing on top of cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream toppers, in oatmeal, or even on their own!
*A special thanks goes out to my sister who dramatically helped me with this article. Answering all my questions on various methods, Whys and Hows, and reminding me how our mom did it all those years growing up. Thank you Sis!!
Looking for more Peach recipes?
- How to Freeze Peaches Without Sugar
- How to blanch Peaches
- Peach Fruit Leather
- How to Bottle Peaches without Sugar–coming soon.
Do you have any questions about how to can peaches?
Do you have any tips on how to can peaches?
After you can peaches, what is your favorite way to enjoy them?