How to Can Peaches So You Can Savor Summer for an Entire Year
The process for canning peaches is as simple as prep, make a syrup, pack, process, and cool. It’s often the peeling process of the prep step that turns people away. We’ll show you our tricks for easily peeling peaches for canning, let you choose how sweet to make your syrup, and teach you how long to process different-size cans using different packing methods. We’re here to make canning peaches easy-peasy so you can start making amazing ice cream toppers, peach cobbler, and more.
Prep the Peaches
As with canning any fruit, start with ripe, unblemished fruit that’s washed well. According to Penn State Extension, some of the best peaches for canning are Glenglo, Ernie's Choice, Cresthaven, John Boy, Loring, Redhaven, and Sunhigh. PickYourOwn.org also includes Elberta, Fairhaven, GaLa, Glohaven, Halford, J.H. Hale, Midpride, Newhaven, Redglobe, Rio Oso Gem, Strawberry Cling, Summerset, Suncrest, and White Heath Cling varieties in its list.
Test Kitchen Tip: If your peaches aren’t quite ripe, place them in a brown paper bag on the counter for a day or two. Check the peaches daily; they can go from perfectly ripe to overripe quickly.
Once you've made your pick of the best peaches for canning, peel, halve, pit, and, if desired, slice. Treat with an ascorbic acid color keeper solution; drain. Here's how to accomplish each of those steps.
How to Peel Peaches for Canning
To make easier work of your quest to learn how to can peaches, use this method for peeling peaches.
- Cut a shallow X: Using a sharp knife ($35, Bed Bath & Beyond), on the bottom of each peach. This step allows for expansion whiles the peaches are blanched.
- Blanch the peaches: Carefully lower peaches into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins start to split.
- Quickly cool peaches: Using a slotted spoon ($3, Target), transfer peaches to a large bowl of ice water.
Test Kitchen Tip: While it may seem like extra work, there are good reasons why we blanch peaches for canning. It firms the flesh, increases flavor, and loosens the skin for peeling.
- Peel peaches: When cool enough to handle, remove peaches from water. Using a small sharp knife, peel off skins.
- Remove the pits: Cut the peach in half to remove the pit. Continue to cut as directed in your recipe.
Test Kitchen Tip: Remember to treat peaches with ascorbic acid color keeper and drain once your peaches are prepped.
Make the Syrup
Most canning recipes include a syrup, but if you want to make a basic syrup without a recipe or you don’t have a recipe, here’s how to can peaches in syrup. Choose the sugar level you want and place the following amounts in a large saucepan. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Skim off foam, if necessary, for a clearer syrup.
- Very Thin or Very Light Syrup: Dissolve 1 cup sugar with 4 cups water to yield 4 cups syrup. Use this for already-sweet fruits or if you want to cut down on sugar.
- Thin or Light Syrup: Dissolve 1⅔ cups sugar with 4 cups water to yield 4¼ cups syrup.
- Medium Syrup: Use 2⅔ cups sugar and 4 cups water to yield 4⅔ cups syrup
- Heavy Syrup: Use 4 cups sugar and 4 cups water to yield 5¾ cups syrup
Choose Raw-Pack or Hot-Pack
Peaches can be canned using either the raw-pack or hot-pack method. The raw-pack method is fast and easy and helps preserve the texture of delicate fruits like peaches. The downside to a raw pack is that peaches may shrink and start to float. The hot-pack method takes a little longer but it breaks down the peaches to eliminate air so they're less likely to spoil and won’t float in the can. Also, you can fit more peaches in fewer jars, and processing time is lessened because the food is already hot.
To make a raw pack: Pack uncooked peaches, cut sides down, into jars. Pour boiling syrup or water over peaches, leaving a ½-inch headspace. Process pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes. Using the boiling water option here is how to can peaches in water (aka make canned peached with no syrup).
To make a hot pack: Cook peaches in syrup before adding to the jars. Fill jars with peaches, cut sides down, and syrup, leaving a ½-inch headspace. Process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes.
Add Peaches to Jars
Pack peaches and syrup into sterilized jars leaving a ½-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. Set lid on the jar and screw on the band.
Process Peaches in the Canner
Process pint and quart jars of filled peaches in a boiling-water canner ($100, Williams Sonoma) for 20 to 30 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling) depending on if you used a raw-pack or hot-pack method, or as directed by your recipe. Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Store for up to a year.