In this beginner’s guide, I’ll walk you through how to can peaches in plain syrup and canning peaches with spices.
One of summer’s greatest pleasures is biting into a fresh, ripe, peach straight from the tree.
I remember as a kid taking a bite of a big ole juicy peach.
The juice ran down my chin and dripped all over my favorite flip flops.
But I didn’t care.
I was in heaven.
Some things just have to wait.
As an adult I really love going to U-pick places in the summer and fall for fruits and veggies.
Buying in bulk at the peak of the season gives you the biggest savings.
You can read more about the cost of home canning from Colorado State University’s Extension Office.
It’s all perfectly ripe and ready to eat, or freeze, or dehydrate. Or it’s perfectly ready to can.
And peaches are perfectly suited to canning. They hold their shape well and you can tailor the syrup to your personal preference.
Anything peach related is a great addition to your food storage pantry. And there are so many ways to preserve them.
Quart jars of peach halves ready to eat as snacks…
Sliced peaches all ready to go over pound cake or shortcakes…
Deliciously spiced to spread over ice cream or make into cobblers and pies…
While they are great by themselves, they also make a great addition to a fruit cocktail mix or a fruit salsa.
And if jam is your jam, Peach Jam is the bomb diggity.
You could even can up a couple of jars of this Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce from Binky’s Culinary Carnival.
So many awesome things to do with peaches!
Today you’re going to learn how to can peaches by water bath canning in a simple syrup, and also in a spiced syrup. We’ll do jam in a different post.
Peaches can be safely canned in a waterbath canner. If you don’t have an actual canner, no worries!
You can use any pot that is deep enough to have 2 inches of water above the jars with enough room so that it doesn’t boil out all over the place. Presto! You now have a boiling water canner
What Kind of Peaches are Best for Canning?
There are all kinds of peaches out there. Yellow peaches. White peaches. Peach peaches.
And there are freestone peaches and cling or clingstone peaches.
But in all honesty, I haven’t come across any varieties that don’t can well except the white ones. They don’t have a high enough pH to safely waterbath can.
The free stone peaches are faster to pit. The cling peaches are called that because the peach flesh “clings” to the pit and makes it harder to get that sucker out of there.
So, if you have a choice, go with a freestone variety.
How to Peel Peaches for Canning
Peaches are pretty easy to peel when you know the trick.
Here’s the trick: Boil some water in a large pot. Cut an “X” across the bottom of each peach and drop it in the boiling water for 30 seconds.
Then you scoop them out and drop them in a bowl of ice water to cool.
The boiling water causes the skins to split and separate from the inside. Then you just pull off the skins, cut them in half, and take out the pit.
You can either leave them in halves, or slice them into smaller pieces. After cutting them, the peaches need to go into a pretreatment.
What is that and why do I need to do that?
In this case, the peaches need to be put into an antioxidant solution so they don’t turn all brown and ugly looking before you get them into the jars.
Peaches will oxidize just like apples do. And it’s not pretty, I’ll tell ya right now.
There are things like Fruit Fresh available, but they sometimes have added sugar. Which we don’t need because we’re already going to be adding sugar.
I prefer Just to use Vitamin C crystals. They are pretty easy to find at your local grocery or health food store. Or you can get them here from Amazon.
Use 2 teaspoons of the crystals in 2 quarts of water. Mix it up in a large bowl and just slice your peaches right into it.
OK. Now that’s straightened out, let’s get to work!
Ingredients and Equipment for Canning Peaches
- water bath canner (or deep pot)
- canning jars: pints or quarts
- rings/screw bands and new lids
- OR Tattler reusable lids
- lid lifter
- canning funnel
- bubble popper or thin knife
- jar lifter
- old towels to set the processed jars on
- Dutch oven or other large pot for boiling water to slip the peach skins
- bowl or sink with ice water for cooling peaches after boiling
- Vitamin C crystals
- sugar and water to make the Simple Syrup (see further down for recipe)
- spices if you are going to make spiced peaches (see further down under the simple syrup)
- and, of course, peaches
How Many Peaches Do I Need?
For both halves and sliced peaches, approximately 2 to 2 1/2 pounds (6 to 8 medium) will make a quart of canned. A 20 pound lug will make 7 to 10 quarts. And a bushel (50 pounds) will make 18 to 25 quarts.
Depending on what you will be doing with the peaches will determine which size jars to use.
With the peach halves and sliced peaches, I usually put them in pint jars.
Those tend to be for snacks or to serve over pound cake or shortcakes. One pint will work for 6 people in that instance.
The majority of the spiced peaches are put into quart jars. Those are the ones I use for making cobblers and pies and Peach Brown Betty. All of which are simply amazing desserts!
I also do a few smaller jars of the spiced peaches for serving over ice cream. I use half pint jars for that since you don’t need much per serving. Half pints are processed the same length of time as the pint jars.
But you do what works best for you!
And if you don’t have access to a U-pick orchard, you can always go to your local farmers’ market.
Simple Syrup Recipe
Peaches are generally canned in a simple syrup. Which generally comes in 4 varieties: Very Light, Light, Medium, and Heavy.
The light syrup is still pretty sweet and better for you than the others, so I have started using the Very Light one.
Here’s the ratios:
- Very Light: 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water
- Light: 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water.
- Medium: 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water.
- Heavy: 4 3/4 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water.
Combine the water and sugar in a large pot. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cover the pot and keep it hot until you are ready to can. Bring it back to a boil before adding it to your jars.
If you want to up the flavor profile a tad and make Spiced Peaches, add the following spices to 1 recipe of simple syrup:
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
Raw Pack vs. Hot Pack
So now you need to decide if you want to raw pack (some people call it cold pack) or hot pack your peaches.
Either way works just fine.
When you raw (or cold) pack, you just peel and half or slice the peaches and let them sit in the pretreatment for about 5 minutes before putting them in the jars.
With hot pack, you actually cook them a little before adding them to the jars. Cooking them first releases a lot of the juice that’s in them. And you actually end up with more peaches and less peach juice than the raw pack method.
I almost always use the hot pack method for peaches.
But I’ll give you instructions for both so you can make your own choice.
The Process for Canning Peaches
Whether you choose to go with the raw pack or hot pack, you need to prepare your jars by either washing them in hot soapy water and rinsing them well, or running them through the dishwasher. You need to keep the jars warm until you use them.
The heated dry cycle on your dishwasher should keep them warm for 45 minutes to an hour.
You also need to get your lids ready. Put your new lids and rings into a pan with water and simmer gently.
If you are using the Tattler reusable lids, prepare them following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Put your waterbath canner (or large pot) on the stove and fill it 2/3 full of water. The water should be simmering when you put the jars in.
If you are using a large pot of water, you need to make sure you have a rack of some kind on the bottom of the pot so the jars aren’t sitting directly on the pot so they don’t bounce and possibly break.
Prepare your peaches. Slip the skins, and cut in half and take out the pit. You can either can the halves, or you can slice them, or even dice them.
Prepare the Simple Syrup using the ratios from above.
If you are making Spiced Peaches, add the spices above to the Simple Syrup.
Hot Pack Method
If you are going to use the hot pack method, bring your simple syrup to a boil. Put a single layer of peaches in the syrup and leave them in for about 3 minutes, or until they are heated through.
Use a slotted spoon to fish out the halves or slices and then pack the hot peaches into one hot jar at a time. Make sure you leave 1/2 inch of headspace.
Using your canning funnel, add boiling liquid to cover the peaches.
Now use your bubble popper to make sure there are no air bubbles in the jar and top off the syrup if necessary. Again, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth and attach the lid and ring. Tighten the ring finger tight.
Don’t go all Hulk on the rings. If it’s too tight, air can’t escape and the lids will buckle and not seal.
Fill and close the remaining jars.
Raw Pack Method
To raw pack peaches, you simply put the peaches into the hot jars leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
Fill the jars with boiling syrup maintaining your headspace.
Pop the bubbles in the jar and top off the syrup.
Clean off the rim of the jar and attach the lid and ring.
Fill and close the remaining jars.
Now, put the jars into the canner rack and lower them into the hot water. Turn the heat up to high.
You need to bring the water to a full rolling boil before you start timing your processing time.
Once the water is at a boil, up the lid on the canner and turn the heat down a little just to maintain the boil without it all boiling out.
Start your timer now. If the water ever stops boiling completely for some reason, you need to bring it back to a boil and start the timing from the beginning again.
Processing Times for Hot Pack:
- Pints: 20 minutes
- 1 1/2 pints or quarts: 25 minutes
Processing Times for Raw Pack:
- Pints: 25 minutes
- 1 1/2 pints or quarts: 30 minutes
If you are more than 1,000 feet above sea level, check this altitude adjustment chart for the correct processing time.
After processing for the correct amount of time, remove the jars from the canner and put them onto a towel covered cabinet out of drafts.
Make sure to lift the jars straight up out of the canner with your jar lifter. The jars won’t be sealed yet and tilting them can cause them to spill.
Checking the Seals
Leave the jars undisturbed for a minimum of 12 hours. After that time you need to check to make sure the jars have sealed properly.
If they aren’t sealed, put them in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. If they have sealed properly, wipe down the jars and label and date them.
Then add them to your canning pantry and dream about all the ways you’re going to use them during the winter!
When stored properly a cool, dark place these beautiful jars of peachy awesomeness will last for years.
What would be your favorite way to use these peaches?
Always check with the USDA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation for up to date canning guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions About Canning Peaches
Properly stored with an intact seal, canned peaches should last for decades. However, the recommendation is to eat them within 2 years for best color and nutrition.
Peaches tend to fade and darken over time so after a few years they aren’t that attractive anymore. So if you find a jar that got shoved to the back of the pantry, it’s still good.
When I find one of those I just use my immersion blender and puree it. It makes a great syrup or coating for grilled meats!
Absolutely! Honey tastes sweeter than sugar, spoon for spoon, so only use half the amount that the syrup recipe calls for.
A mild, light colored honey is best for plain fruits. But if you are adding the spices, a darker, more flavorful honey would be awesome!
Ideally, peaches should be stored in a cool, dark place. Perfect temperature of around 55 to 70 degrees F.
But realistically, they need stay cool and out of direct sunlight.
Here’s some more waterbath canning recipes for you to try:
Canning Peaches in Plain or Spiced Syrup
- 9 lbs peaches approximately
- 1 cups sugar
- 8 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ground mace
- 2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Prepare jars and lids and start heating water in canner. Keep the jars hot until needed.
- Wash, peal, and pit the peaches. You can leave them in halves or cut them into smaller slices.
- In a large pot combine water, sugar, and the spices if you are using them. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Add the peaches to the syrup until they are heated through.
- Now add the peaches to the jars leaving 1/2" of headspace. Try to fit them in as tightly as possible without squishing them.
- Cover the peaches with the hot syrup. Remove the air bubbles and top off with syrup as needed, again, leaving 1/2" headspace.
- Wipe the rim with a clean cloth dipped in vinegar, and adjust the lid. Fill and close remaining jars.
- Process in a boiling waterbath canner for 20 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for 1-1/2 pints or quarts. Don't forget to adjust the time or pressure according to the altitude chart.
- After processing, allow the jars to cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours. Check the seals before you put the jars in storage.