Thursday, September 5, 2013

Canning peaches, a little tutorial

I didn't learn how to can until after the birth of my second child.  While it does involve some work, it is very gratifying to see the season's bounty put in jars to be enjoyed when there isn't a ripe berry, peach or green bean to be seen. 

I used to admire ladies' pantries that were filled with home canned goods.  It always reminded me of a vintage store mercantile - Sarah, Plain and Tall style.  I'm sure I sighed out loud at the shear beauty of it all and desire to learn that domestic art.

Many years ago a dear friend of mine offered to show me how to can peaches.   I was so appreciative of her willingness to teach me by walking me through each step.
I thought I'd do the same for you.  

First, gather your peaches.  Of course, if you can glean "clean" peaches that's best... free and free of sprays.  Once you have your peaches, place them in a single layer in your boxes.  Ripe peaches are tender and will bruise if you have them piled on top of each other.  If your peaches are more firm and need a day or two to ripen, then this will also help.

Next collect your canning jars.  1 {24 lb.} box of peaches yields up to 14 quarts depending on the size of the peaches.   *That's what this lesson will be based on.

I like to can peach halves and since they are big, I prefer wide mouth quart jars.  Be sure to inspect the rims for any chips.  Discard these jars {or use for another purpose, like storing bulk spices.} A chipped rim will not allow for a good seal and that could cause spoilage and bad, ugly things can happen with that.

Wash them in hot, soapy water, rinsing well.  Let them air dry upside down while you prepare the other parts.

Next you will need your "syrup".   It is a simple sugar/water mixture.  A "heavy syrup is very sugary - a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water.   We prefer an extra light syrup.  and 1:4 ratio. 
{1 cup sugar: 4 cups water.}  

In a medium sized stock pot, pour in 16 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar. {I use organic} and place over low heat.  This quantity is 4 times the extra light syrup ratio and allows you to have enough for 14 jars. 
Stir occasionally so that the mixture doesn't scald.  Place on a back burner.

On the other back burner, place a small saucepan filled with water.  Bring it to a boil.  Place your lids and rings into the boiling water to sterilize them.  They need to boil for 3-5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Next you will fill your large black enameled canner half way with water, cover and turn on to medium heat.  You want your water to heat up, but not boil.  {If you place your filled jars into boiling water, you will risk cracking the jar...don't ask me how I know this!}

On the last burner, you will have a large sauce pan filled with water.  Bring that to a boil.

In the front pot that has boiling water,  place 3 peaches and set a timer for 1 minute.
When the time has ended, remove the peaches with a slotted spoon,  place in a bowl, and run under cold water.  This should allow the skins to slip right off. 

Next, slice the peach in half and remove the pit. 
Cut away any bad spots.  Place the peach half cut side down in the jar.  Repeat until all 7 jars are filled.
Remove the pot that you boiled the peaches in from your stove top, and pull your syrup pot forward to the front. 
Now, using a canning funnel, fill your jars with your hot syrup leaving 1/2" headspace.
{Head space is the space between the top of the contents and the top of the jar.}
Use a plastic headspace tool, remove any bubbles by sliding the tool down the sides of the jar {between the peaches and the jar} and then add syrup to 1/2" headspace again.
{Do not use a metal knife, metal reacts with the acidity of what you are canning.}
With a CLEAN {not used for anything else, but this canning session} washcloth, wipe the top edge of the jar to remove any syrup or peach bits.  
With a magnetic jar lifter, remove a lid and ring from the hot water {pot on the back burner} and place on top.  Screw on the ring and place inside your black enameled canner.  Repeat with the other 6 jars.
Be sure that the water level is at least 1/2" above the tops of the jars.  Yes, the canner will be almost overflowing.  You can see that more water is needed is needed for this batch.
Cover and turn on High heat.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, set the timer for 30 minutes.
When the processing time has finished remove the jars using a jar lifter.  Place on a clean kitchen towel in a draft free place.  I then cover my jars with another towel to prevent a draft that might crack the jars.  Let them sit there for 24 hours.  Check the tops by pressing in the center.  They should all be firm.  If any pop back, then that jar did not seal.  You can either re-process or just place in the frig to eat within a day or two.
Once I know my jars are sealed, I remove the rings and carefully wash the jars to remove any stickiness.
And that's all there is to it.  :-) 
I found this peach recipe and thought it sounded so yummy! 


  1. So fun!=)
    One time I canned peaches with my Great Grandma, Grandma and my mom.(And sisters) We canned 56 cans of peaches.

    They look delicious!

  2. 56 jars would be such a treat come winter time! I wasn't able to get these for free so I only did 1 {24lb.} box. I'm hoping for a great deal on pears. Perhaps you should join us in the pear canning?

  3. Cheryl Mills is teaching me to can this year! We have done green beans and tomatoes so far! Brian's grandma just gave us a box of pears! What do I do with them??

  4. Oh, Cheryl is a wonderful resource! You can can pears just like peaches, but skip the step where you blanch them. I usually peel mine with a vegetable peeler, then slice in quarters and core them.. Fill with a light syrup and process (pints=20 minutes/quarts=25 minutes.) Voila.
    I bet Cheryl would show you how. I'd be happy to too. :-)

    1. You can also make pear sauce (like applesauce) It's yummy, but a bit runnier than applesauce.

  5. This year we canned 16 boxes of peaches....might have gone a little overboard this year, but we do eat a lot of fruit! I also did a box of pears. I couldn't use a peeler with my pears though, I found that a parring knife worked the best! Also, a tip that we did this year was once our jars were sterilized, we stuck them in the oven on warm, to keep them....well....warm. Worked great! Only major thing we have left to can this year is applesauce in October.

    1. Oh, I bet your pantry looks so purty with all those beautiful jars!
      We have pears, green beans, and applesauce left to do.


I always look forward to reading your comments. Thank you for taking the time to leave one. :-)