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September 14, 2009 in canning and freezing, how to16 comments

millions of peaches, peaches for me

those peaches look real purty

You can’t beat a home-canned peach. Store-bought doesn’t compare. Some other fruits handle store shelves pretty well, like pineapple and pears, but store-canned peaches are nearly flavorless in comparison.

If you can only one variety of fruit, can peaches.

pints of pretty peaches

Linda came over to do it with me, bearing a bushel of peaches from the local fruit market. After an aborted attempt at canning them — they weren’t ready yet! — we let them ripen for 3 more days. They were gorgeous. Firm, fragrant, and only one bad one in the bunch, discovered at the bottom of one of the boxes.

really, maybe like 3/4. some jars missing.

We got about 32 pints from that bushel, with about 20 peaches kept aside for fresh eating and baking. Here’s how to can your own.

how to can peaches

Adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It’s a canning bible. Seriously. I bolded the main parts, but really, the meat is in the unbolded stuff. Stuff like how not to shatter your jars, little things like that.

bushel yields: about 32 pints, with peaches left over for fresh eating
prep: 60 minutes
processing: 20 minutes

special equipment:
boiling-water canner
• canning jars
• 2-piece lids.
• A canning kit is also really nice to have. It has a funnel, jar tongs, magnetic lid lifter — I do not know how I lived without this — and a couple other things I forget. Those three things are the most handy.

I’ve put together a bunch of canning equipment in the store too.

    1 bushel peaches
    4-1/2 cups sugar
    10-1/2 cups water

For more detailed instructions, see here or view this tutorial prepared by Ball.

1. In a large saucepan, heat sugar and water to a simmer. You’ve just made the light syrup to pack your peaches in. Once all sugar is dissolved, keep syrup hot. Keep sugar on hand; if you have a whole bushel of peaches, you’ll need to mix up another batch of syrup.

2. Give peaches a light rinse if they’re dirty. You’re going to be blanching and peeling them, so if they’re clean-looking, you don’t need to do it.

why do i do so many of these water-in-sink pics?

3. Dump 4-5 peaches at a time into a pot of boiling water. Leave them in there 30 to 60 seconds. Remove and submerge in cold water. Do this until all the peaches are blanched, adding ice or changing water as necessary.

a peeled peach in our lovely model's hand

4. Peel and halve the peaches. One at a time, remove skins. (If the skins don’t slip off easily with just pressure from your thumb and fingers, the peaches probably aren’t ripe enough. Stop blanching now, make a bunch of cobbler with the blanched ones, and let the unblanched ones ripen another day or two.) Run a paring knife around the peach, beginning and ending at the stem. Slip halves of the peach from the stone, and drop into water treated with Fruit Fresh to keep them from browning.

Note: You could also do your peaches in quarters, which would be handy if you plan on baking with them later. We did a combination of halves and quarters.

halved peaches in fruit fresh

5. Continue with step 3 until all peaches are halved.

6. Pack peaches in hot jars, cut side down. I like to use wide-mouth pints for this. The larger halves go in easily and it’s easy to flip that first peach over (they always want to land curved side down). You can get 4-5 halves into a jar.

putting the peaches into their new homes

7. Ladle syrup over the peaches, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

8. Remove air bubbles by running a non-metallic thing around the inside of a jar. A plastic knife does the job. After removing air bubbles, you may need to add more syrup to some jars.

don't worry, they aren't lobsters, they can't feel a thing

9. Wipe off tops of jars and put lids and bands on. Process pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes in your boiling-water canner.

10. Remove, allow to cool on a towel for 12 to 24 hours. And enjoy listening to that pop! pop! pop! of the jars sealing. :)

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your comments

  1. Katie says:

    Looks good! I attempted peach jam this year on a much smaller scale. I may have to try whole peach preserves now, because looking at your pictures has visions of winter breakfasts swirling through my thoughts. Wonderful work :)

  2. Soma says:

    gorgeous gorgeous pictures & very informative post. these will last you all year thru!

  3. Rocquie says:

    Those peaches look so beautiful. . .I’m a little jealous. I’ve done some canning this summer, and have plans for more (apples, beets, pears) but our peach season came and went so fast, and I guess I snoozed through it.

    Enjoy your peaches this winter.

    • Amy says:

      Such a weird season. Half our apples are done, yet the beefsteak tomatoes aren’t going to ripen at all, I think.

      Yum, beets! Do you do pickled beets? I planted a second crop just to make those. Will have to do them shortly.

  4. Diana Bauman says:

    Amy,

    Gorgeous photos!! Great post!!

  5. gaga says:

    I usually turn mine into jam and have never canned them like this before. I’ll probably try it next year. Thanks!

    • Amy says:

      Oh, neat. I bet peach jam is awesome. I’m wedded to strawberry jam and it won’t let me cheat, though. I hope you do can some peaches. If you like them out of season, that is, because they really are so much better than anything you could find in the store.

  6. [...] at Shiny Cooking you will find a fantastic article about canning peaches. With step by step instructions this is an extremely handy post and one that I myself used this [...]

  7. millie says:

    thank you!! it looks like something I could try!!

  8. Alicia says:

    I used this recipe to can peaches for the first time the other day…you are amazing! Thank you! So easy to follow and they turned out so pretty! :) I linked this page to my blog, I hope you don’t mind! (http://achopbchop.blogspot.com/) Thank you again for the great post!!

  9. Amber p says:

    I noticed you do not use An ascorbic acid in your recipe. Do you have a problem with them turning brown? Wondering since I have a bushel of peaches to can and no ascorbic acid in the house, so it requires me driving 45 minutes to town to get some.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Amber,

      Sorry I didn’t mention it in the ingredients list. I did mention to use ascorbic acid in the instructions.

      Slip halves of the peach from the stone, and drop into water treated with Fruit Fresh to keep them from browning.

      Just use however much the product label states.

      Sorry again for the oversight! Good luck canning!

  10. tanya says:

    They came out great, but mine all floated to the top. I packed them tightly, but as they cooled, they floated. Any suggestions?

    • Amy says:

      Floating is normal! A few things affect whether canned fruit will float to the top, including how tightly packed the fruit is and how much sugar is in the syrup. More tightly packed fruit will appear to float less because there’s more of it in there, but I think the sugar thing is key. Lower sugar syrups will have more floating, whereas people have said when they canned in heavy syrup they didn’t have floating at all.

      My peaches always float. I think as they’re stored they settle a bit, but it’s a normal occurrence and not dangerous. I prefer a light to medium syrup so as a result there isn’t enough sugar to keep them from floating.

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