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    How to Can Peaches

    Authored by Carol J. Alexander

    Enjoy the mouth-watering flavor of fresh peaches all year when you learn to preserve them at home. Perfect for pie, cobbler, or spiced up and served with vanilla ice cream, home canning peaches is easy and fun. The most straightforward way to can peaches is to pack them raw in jars and processing in a water bath canner.

    Before you begin, check your supply of jars, lids, and anti-browning agent. Since a quart jar holds, on average, 2 ½ pounds of peaches, count on having the following amounts on hand to fill a canner. For a full 7-quart canner, you’ll need about 17 ½ pounds of peaches. And, for a full 9-pint canner, you’ll need about 11 pounds of peaches. For reference, a bushel of peaches weighs 48 pounds.

    WARNING:  Do not can white-flesh peaches. Some varieties of white-flesh peaches are too low in acid to water bath safely. And, since there’s no pressure canning process nor a tested acidification procedure to make boiling water canning of white peaches safe, you should freeze them.

    How to prepare your canning equipment

    With enough jars and lids to begin, make sure everything is clean and accessible.

    • Wash all jars and inspect for cracks.
    • Feel each jar's rim for chips that prevent the lid from sealing. 
    • Check your water bath canner for pinholes from chipped enamel that may leak water.
    • Fill the canner halfway with hot water and put it on a burner to simmer.
    • Simmer the lids in a small saucepan of water on the back of the stove to soften the seals.
    • Lay a timer, jar lifter, chopstick or rubber spatula, and other tools where you can reach them quickly.

    Read Canning Supplies to learn more about everything you may want to keep on hand to make canning easier.

    Prepare the packing syrup and anti-browning agent

    To prevent oxidation from turning your peaches brown, keep peeled fruit, whether halved or sliced, in a solution of 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid to 1 gallon of cold water. Or, you can use a commercially prepared anti-browning agent like Fruit Fresh. Prepare in a large bowl and set aside until ready.

    Also, experienced home canners recommend packing peaches in syrup to best preserve their flavor. Even a lite syrup with minimal sugar gives a better taste than packing your peaches in water. To prepare the syrup, use the following measurements. Mix the ingredients in a large stock pot, bring to a boil, and keep simmering on the back of the stove until you pack the jars.

    Syrup weight water to sugar ratio

    Very lite

    (10% sugar)

    Canner of 9 pints, water to sugar ratio in cups: 6 1/2 to 3/4

    Canner of 7 quarts, water to sugar ratio in cups: 10 1/2 to 1/4

    Lite

    (20% sugar)

    Canner of 9 pints, water to sugar ratio in cups: 5 3/4 to 1 1/2

    Canner of 7 quarts, water to sugar ratio in cups: 9 to 2 1/4

    Medium

    (30% sugar)

    Canner of 9 pints, water to sugar ratio in cups: 5 1/4 to 2 1/4

    Canner of 7 quarts, water to sugar ratio in cups: 8 1/4 to 3 3/4

    Heavy

    (40% sugar)

    Canner of 9 pints, water to sugar ratio in cups: 5 to 3 1/4

    Canner of 7 quarts, water to sugar ratio in cups: 7 3/4 to 5 1/4

    Very heavy

    (50% sugar)

    Canner of 9 pints, water to sugar ratio in cups: 4 1/4 to 4 1/4

    Canner of 7 quarts, water to sugar ratio in cups: 6 1/2 to 6 3/4

    How to prepare peaches for canning

    • Always choose ripe, yellow peaches free of disease or damage for canning. 
    • Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30-60 seconds to loosen the skins. Then immerse them in a bowl of cold water to cool before slipping off the skins.
    • Cut peaches in half, remove the pit, and slice how you want them. Keep all peeled fruit in the anti-browning solution until you’re ready to pack the jars.
    • Fill the jars up to the neck with peaches.
    • Add syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace, and run a spatula around the inside to release air bubbles.
    • Wipe the jar rims, apply the lids and rings, and place each jar on the rack in the canner. 
    • Process pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes.

    Read our Step-by-Step Guide to Water Bath Canning to learn more about processing food in a water bath canner.

    How to store home canned peaches

    Allow jars fresh from the canner to sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Then, check each jar for a successful seal. Remove the rings and wipe the jar threads and the jars with a hot, soapy cloth to remove any traces of syrup and rinse. Then, you can move them to your long-term storage location. Home canned food keeps best in a cool, dry place between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit away from direct light.

    Read more about How to Store Canned Food.

    Variations of home canned fruit

    Mixing fruits and vegetables for canning can be tricky because each ingredient may require a different processing time or method. However, since most fruits are suited for water bath canning, you can easily mix them in one jar. Just look up the processing times for each ingredient and use the longest one. And, if adding other ingredients like spices or foods not amenable to water bath canning, always use a trusted recipe that’s been scientifically tested.

    A couple of popular variations to plain canned peaches include peach jam, mixed fruit, and pie filling. You can find the following recipes on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

    For everything you need to preserve your harvest, shop our latest canning equipment catalog. Stock your kitchen with all the necessary supplies for putting food by so you’re never caught unaware.


    More canning recipes

    When you learn to can your tomatoes, you can enjoy that rich goodness all year long. Find prep, steps and storing tips for canned tomatoes.
    Keep your family safe and make use of storing empty canning jars by using them for water. Read more on canning water for emergency preparedness.