Sandy Coughlin of Reluctant Entertainer gives us some thorough instructions on how to can peaches; follow along as she goes through her step-by-step process for home canning. Recipes for canned peaches should be kept at the ready because you’ll love they way your peaches turn out.
For the best results, you’ll want to use the best peaches, so make sure to get your Oregold® Peaches while we they’re still in stock!
Every year in the late summer, Harry & David hosts a giant Peachpalooza sale at their local Country Village in Medford, Oregon. This is where locals come to load up on beautiful orchard harvests of Suncrest and Allstar peaches – perfect for summer eating, recipes, and canning!
Peach canning is very straightforward and simple. The most popular method is water bath canning. You need peaches that are cling-free (also called freestone), which means that the peach separates easily from the pit.
Choosing ripe, mature fruit of ideal quality is very important. The peaches should not be mushy, but they also should not be rock hard. Perfect raw eating condition is the way you want them for canning as well.
Ingredients for canning:
Tools used for water bath method:
- Water bath canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack)
- Jar grabber (helps for picking up the hot jars)
- Lid lifter (a magnet tool to pick the lids out of the boiling water after they’re sterilized)
- One large pot (to boil about 6-8 peaches at a time in)
- Large spoons and ladles
- Quart canning jars
- Lids (disposable – you may only use them once)
- Rings (totally reusable; holds the lid on the jar until after the jar cools – then you don’t need them)
- Funnel (optional, for pouring in the sugar water)
Sterilize the jars:
The dishwasher is fine for sterilizing the jars (use “sanitize cycle” if you have it). Otherwise you may need to put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. You’ll also need to put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic lid lifter to pull them out. The rings don’t necessarily need to be sanitized.
How many peaches:
It takes about 5 good sized peaches to fill one quart jar. An average of 18 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts. A “lug” of peaches weighs about 23 pounds and yields about 7-9 quarts.
Ripen the peaches:
Peaches must be fully ripe before canning. If they’re not, they’ll be very hard to pit. Once you’ve carted the peaches home, lay them out in a well-ventilated room on newspapers, to finish ripening. The peaches are ready to can when they barely begin to soften. You can press your finger at the top of the stem to feel for softness. It may take several days for the peaches to ripen.
Make the syrup:
This chart will help with your preference of sweetness. We find that the peaches are sweet enough with a “light” syrup. Peaches must be packed in a solution of water and sugar, or fruit juice. Sugar improves flavor, and helps stabilize the color, but it is not added as a preservative. To prepare syrup, while heating water, add sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Bring to a gentle boil and keep it simmering. After preparing the liquid syrup, keep it hot (but not boiling). You usually need about 1 cup per quart jar, but this can vary.
|Light||2 cups||6 cups||7 cups|
|Medium||3 cups||6 cups||6 1/2 cups|
|Heavy||4 cups||6 cups||7 cups|
1. Prepare the peaches and remove the skins
Always wash the peaches first. Bring a large pot of water to FULL boil, and then dip the fruit (about 6-8 peaches at a time) in boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the boiling water and put into a large bowl or pot of cold water, and ice for several minutes. Simply slip the skins right off of the fruit. Cut the peach in half; remove the pit. (You may also cut the peach in quarters; cut away any mushiness.)
2. Pack and prepare the canning jars
Place the fruit pit side down in the sterilized canning jar. Continue adding peaches until the jars are full, tamping them down as you go to eliminate air, then packing more peaches into the jar. After the jar is packed, pour the sugar solution up to 1/2 inch (1 cm) from the top. If necessary, use a table knife or handle of a spoon to press the peaches to one side, to create a space for the water to trickle down and eliminate any pockets of air that are in the bottom of the jars.The fruit should be covered completely. Wipe rim and screw threads with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness. Add lid and screw band, and tighten firmly and evenly. Do not over tighten.
3. Process the sealed canning jars
Put the sealed jars in the canner of boiling water, keeping them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil, and process the jars in the hot water bath for 25 minutes.
4. Remove the jars and cool
After boiling (processing) the peaches for 25 minutes, lift the jars out of the water (using the jar grabber) and set on a table or kitchen counter covered with an old towel. Don’t touch the lids while the jars are cooling. You can then remove the rings, or loosen them quite a bit, so they don’t rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed. Press in the center, gently, with your finger.
If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. Any jars that do not seal, store in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks. Sealed jars will not depress when you push on the middle. The next day, wash the jars with soapy water, and label them (optional).
5. Can outside to keep your kitchen cool
I love to can outside on my Camp Chef stove. The process is quick, and if there’s any splattering or a mess, it’s easy to clean up!
Peach canning is a wonderful way to bring the summer harvest to the cold, winter months. Canned peaches can be served for any meal, and used in recipes such as upside down cakes, breads, on top of waffles or pancakes, in smoothies, and cooked with chicken or pork. The ideas go on and on, but there’s one thing that everyone will agree on: There’s nothing like a home canned peach!