It’s no secret that I LOVE peaches! I look forward to peach season in Utah each summer. So I decided a few summers ago to learn how to can peaches so I could eat deliciously ripe peaches all year long! Canning peaches is not as hard as it might seem and it’s a fun and useful skill to learn. It’s a great way to add to your food storage as well. It does take some time and it can make a mess in your kitchen for a day or so but oh my goodness it’s worth it. So today I’m going to share how I can peaches in a detailed tutorial.
Supplies for Canning Peaches:
Water Bath Canner—mine can fit 7 (quart sized) jars (I found mine at Walmart)
Quart Glass Jars (I use Wide-Mouth jars–you can buy them by the dozen at grocery stores)
Extra lids (also found at grocery stores by the glass jars)
Jar Grabber (also found at grocery stores by the glass jars)
Fruit Fresh (or ascorbic acid–I got the Fruit Fresh at the grocery store, it was by the canning equipment and the pectin for making jam)
There are a few things I’d recommend prepping before you start working with the peaches: getting the jars ready, the water boiling in the canner, and the sugar syrup made.
Jars: Prepare your jars, lids and bands by washing and sanitizing them. One batch= 7 (quart) jars. I just put them in the dishwasher. You could also handwash them in hot, soapy water and rinse them well. Be sure to keep the jars warm until you are ready to fill them with fruit (I just keep them in the warm dishwasher and take them out one at a time when I’m ready to fill them with peaches). This will help minimize the risk of the jars breaking when you put them in the hot canner.
Canner: Fill the canner half full with water and place on your burner on the stove. Place the lid on the canner and heat to a simmer.
Syrup: Peaches are packed in sugar syrup (sugar+water) or fruit juice. I prefer the sugar syrup method because it’s cheaper than buying fruit juice. It’s added to help stabilize color and shape of the fruit as well as taste. I used this chart and made the “very light” syrup. All you have to do is mix the water and sugar together in a pot and bring it to a simmer. Then turn it lower and keep it hot but not boiling.
Quick tip: You need to use NEW lids for canning. If you buy new jars, just use the lids they come with. I already had all of my quart jars this year since I’ve canned fruit in the past, so I had to buy new lids. You can only use the lids once; after they’ve been sealed and then opened, you cannot reuse them for canning.
Prepare the Peaches
While your water and syrups are coming to a boil, you can be getting those delicious peaches ready! YUM! Make sure to select peaches that are ripe and without bruises or dark spots. Cling-free peaches are the easiest to work with. I used Early Alberta peaches from Brigham City and they were scrumptious!!!
How many peaches should you have? It depends on how much work you’re willing to do. I canned 14 quarts from approx. half a bushel of peaches–so I got 2 batches per half bushel. It takes about 5-7 peaches to fill one quart jar, depending on the size of the peaches and how you cut them. (An average of 17-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to 24 quarts—an average of 2-1/2 pounds per quart. source)
Okay, now here we go! First you need to peel the peaches. An easy way to peel a lot of peaches at once is to BLANCH them.
- Bring a pot of water to boiling.
- Put the peaches into the boiling water for 30-40 seconds.
- Take out the peaches and immediately put them into a big bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.
- The skins will just slide off! It’s like magic.
In the picture above:
- Peaches in the cold water bowl.
- Skin slides off.
- Peel a bunch of peaches in no time!
- Slice the peaches and throw away the pit.
Once the peaches are sliced, I throw them in a bowl and sprinkle Fruit Fresh on top and toss the peaches gently. This keeps them from turning brown while I continue to slice more peaches. You can slice the peaches into halves or quarters. I did a little bit of both. Cut out any dark or mushy spots.
Carefully place the sliced peaches into a warm jar, overlapping them and filling it to the neck of the jar. Place peach halves with the “pit” side down to pack them in better. I sprinkled a little bit more of the Fruit Fresh on top again to help keep them from turning brown.
Once the jar is full, pour the hot sugar syrup into the jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top. Wipe the edges clean with a damp washcloth. Then place the warm lid and band on top, twisting it securely but not super tight.
Keep repeating this process until you have all 7 quart jars ready to go into the canner. By this point hopefully the water in the canner is at a boil.
I bought this jar grabber at the store for under $10 and I love it! It has a great grip so I don’t feel like I’m going to drop the jars. Carefully place the jars into the canner.
Process the Canned Peaches
Make sure there is about an inch or 2 of water covering the top of the jars. Bring to a rolling boil and cover the canner with the lid. I followed this chart to figure out my processing time. I’ve used the Raw style of packing, using quart jars, and my altitude is around 4000 ft, so I kept the jars boiling in the canner for 40 minutes.
Once the jars are done processing, use the jar grabber to lift them carefully out of the canner. Let them cool on a flat surface. It’s kind of fun to listen for the “pop” sound the lids make when they are fully sealed. To check and make sure they are sealed, press on the lid with your finger. If it doesn’t move, that means it’s sealed. If it pops up and down, it did not seal so you can refrigerate the jar and eat the peaches. Or you can reprocess the jar using a NEW lid if the peaches are still hot.
Store in your pantry for up to 1 year—in a cool, dark and dry place for longer storage life and to protect from spoiling. Avoid storing near heat sources such as a furnace, water heater, or sunny areas.
Quick tip: Once the jars have cooled down and are ready for storage, loosen the band so that it doesn’t rust closed. Believe me, it’s super frustrating when a few months down the road you are trying to open the jar to get at those yummy peaches and the dang lid won’t come off.
Finally, I took one of those liquid chalk markers and wrote the date on the lids, so I know when they were canned.
YOU CAN DO THIS!! Like I said, it really is not hard to do, although it does take a few hours for each batch and your kitchen just MIGHT be dripping with peach juice for awhile. And you might get a little bit sweaty and look like a crazy person before it’s all said and done. I might have dreamed about peaches for 2 nights straight! But it’s worth it. I get really happy when I open my pantry and see all of those pretty peaches all in a row! So give it a try and hopefully this tutorial will help you out.
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