Fresh peaches are truly a summer delight! I usually buy a few bushels for eating, baking, and preserving throughout the summer. One of my favorite ways to preserve peaches for eating later is to can them. Canning peaches is pretty straightforward. You can use your water bath canner which makes the process easier.
Water bath canner
Jars, lids, and rings
A pot for blanching the peaches
A large bowl of cold water to cool the peaches down
A large bowl to put peeled peaches in with water and lemon juice to keep them from browning
A pot for simple syrup
A canning funnel and ladle to fill the jars
A knife and cutting board to cut the peaches
A bowl for the discarded peels and pits
For the peaches, you will need roughly 16-18 peaches for eight pint-size jars. If you are doing quart-size jars, you will need 32-35 peaches to fill them. These numbers are an estimate, but the size of your peaches and how you cut them will determine the number of peaches you will need to fill your jars. Some people prefer to halve the peaches. I usually slice my peaches and can get the jars fuller.
First, you will want to fill your water bath canner with enough water to cover the jars by an inch when the filled jars are put into the canner. Put your canner on the stove and start to bring it to a boil while doing all the other things. You can also put your jars in the canner now to get them hot or use the warmer function on your oven to get them hot.
Blanching and peeling peaches:
You will then want to fill your second pot with water and bring it to a boil. You will want to blanch your peaches to be able to peel them easily. Trust me, this is the easiest way to peel peaches without losing a bunch of the fruit. Once the water comes to a boil, add a few peaches at one time, and let boil for 2-3 minutes. After that time, put the peaches in cold water for about a minute to stop the cooking.
After that, take your knife and peel the peaches. The skins will come off easily. Put the peeled peaches in a large bowl with water and lemon juice/citric acid to keep them from peeling. (I don’t always do this, but if you are working on a large batch, this will keep them from browning.)
You will want to start your simple syrup now and keep it warm while filling the jars. Typically, simple syrup is one part sugar to one part water. I don’t care for that much sweetness, especially with fruit. I usually make the syrup using one part sugar to two parts water. You can omit the sugar altogether if you wish. I usually use two cups of sugar and four cups of water for eight pint jars and still have a little leftover. If you are using quart jars, you will want to double that.
To make simple syrup, you will want to bring the sugar and water to a simmer or light boil. You want the water to be hot enough to dissolve the sugar. After the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat to low to keep the syrup hot for filling the jars.
If you are using just water, bring the water to a boil and turn it down to low to keep it hot until you are ready to fill the jars.
Preparing the fruit and Filling the jars:
If you haven’t done so, pull the hot jars out of the canner or the oven. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. You can then just put the halved peaches in the jars or slice them (my preference) and put them in jars. Pack the peaches in the jars tightly using a canning funnel to keep the jars cleaner.
After the jars are filled with peaches, you will want to add the syrup or water to the jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace. With all canning, you must run a butter or spatula down the sides of the jars to remove any air bubbles. Air bubbles in your jars can cause your jars to break. After removing the air bubbles, you may need to add more liquid.
Once the jars are filled with peaches and syrup, you can wipe the rims of the jars with a warm washcloth. This gets the jar rims clean for a good seal with the lids. Add the lids to the jars and tighten them down with a ring.
Water bath canning:
If you haven’t already, raise the canning rack to put the jars on it. My canner will hold eight pint jars or seven quart jars comfortably. After the canning rack is loaded, lower the canning rack into the canner, and put the lid on the canner. If the water is boiling, you can start the timer for processing your jars. Otherwise, bring your water back to a boil before starting the timer.
Pint jars will need 25 minutes.
Quart jars will need 30 minutes.
Once the peaches are done processing, you will need to take them out of the canner and onto a folded towel or sturdy baking rack to cool for 24 hours. Once they are cool, you can remove the rings, label the jars, and put them away for good eating.
You can find most of this information in the Ball Blue Canning Book if you are looking for a good canning reference.
Thanks for reading,
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