Canning Peaches is a great way to preserve your own harvest or put up this sweet fruit from your local Farmer’s Market. Every year we get many bushels of peaches from my parents. I love to make jams and jellies. We dehydrate some, freeze some more, but I like to can as many as possible to enjoy with our meals all winter long. My family will put away a quart or two in a one meal.
New to canning? Before you begin, be sure to read Preparing Jars and Lids for Canning, Getting Ready to Can, and Making Syrup for Canning Fruit. You will be using each of these three posts as guides during the process of canning peaches.
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I get peaches each year by the bushel from my parents. You may want to do smaller batches. 1 bushel (48 pounds) = 18-24 quarts or 32-48 pints (depending on the type and size of your peaches). 8-12 lbs. is a good start. This amount will make about 8 pints or 4 quarts.
Syrup made according to your taste
Paring knife Peach pitter or pitting spoon
Another large pan for boiling water or for cooking if using the hot pack method
Air bubble remover/headspace tool or spatula
Clean, damp cloth
Water bath canner
Cooling rack or dry towel
Canning Peaches Using the Raw/Cold Pack Method
Recipe Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
- Select fresh, firm, ripe peaches that are free of blemishes and bruises. Clingstone peaches (flesh clings to the pit and requires a peach pitter or pitting spoon for removal) are my choice, because they tend to be more firm and stay firm through the canning process. They are slightly more difficult to process, but worth the time. Freestone peaches (flesh comes away easily from the pit), on the other hand, are usually much sweeter and are terrific for jams, preserves and butters, but can be used for canning, if you enjoy a softer texture.
- Wash, peel and pit your peaches (see Pitting Peaches below) and slice them to your desired size. I like mine in halves and some of my family likes slices, so I can them both ways. If your peaches will be setting for a while before you can them, soak them in a bath of water and ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh) or 1/4 cup of lemon juice to 4 cups of water, until ready to use.
Note: On some peach varieties, the skin can be removed by scalding them in boiling water for about a minute, then plunging them into cold water for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to leave them in the boiling water for too long, so they don’t cook. The skin should come off by peeling or rubbing it with your fingers.
- Rinse peaches to remove any remaining small peach fibers, peel, or fuzz. We don’t want that stuff floating around in your pretty jar of peaches. Pack peaches into hot, prepared canning jars. Pack them as closely as possible without crushing them. If you are canning peach halves, place each one overlapping, cavity-side down inside your jar. This is a good time to fill your water bath canner about half full with water and set on the stove to start heating.
Note: I use wide-mouth canning jars when canning peach halves, so they are easy to turn cavity-side down.
- Cover your peaches with boiling syrup, leaving a ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles from jars by pushing the air bubble remover/headspace tool or a small spatula down into the side of your jars. Add more syrup, if necessary. The peaches must be well covered to the preserve flavor, firmness, and color.
- Wipe the rim of your jar with a clean, damp cloth. Food particles caught between the rim of the jar and the lid can cause your jars not to seal. Place your lids onto your jars, making sure the rubber seal meets the jar rim. Screw on the metal band firmly (fingertip tight). Screwing them on too tight may cause them to not seal or to buckle.
- Use a jar lifter to place your peaches in the metal canner rack in a boiling water bath. Place the lid on the canner. Bring water to a boil. Process your peaches in the boiling water bath for the times shown below (times for 1,000 feet above sea level):
Pints- 25 minutes Quarts- 30 minutes
7. When the time is complete turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and allow to cool for five minutes. Remove your peaches from the canner using the jar lifter and place them on a cooling rack or dry kitchen towel two inches apart. Some of the bands may seem loose at this point, do not re-tighten them.
8. After 12 hours, check to see if the jars have sealed, the center of the lid should be concaved and not able to flex. Remove the metal bands/rings, carefully try to pull the lid off with your finger tips to check the seal again. Place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible or reprocess starting over with new jars and lids.
9. Allow sealed jars to cool for 24 hours. Wash the jars and label them with contents and date. Store canned peaches in a cool, dry place away from light.
Canning Peaches Using the Hot Pack Method
3. Boil peaches in medium syrup for three minutes. Pack hot peaches into hot prepared jars to within ½ inch of the rim of the jar.
4. Cover your peaches with boiling syrup, leaving a ½ inch headspace.
5. Wipe the rim of your jar with a clean, damp cloth. Place your lids onto your jars, making sure the rubber seal meets the jar rim. Screw on the metal ring/band firmly. Screw on the metal band firmly (fingertip tight). Screwing them on too tight may cause them to not seal or to buckle.
6. Use a jar lifter to place your peaches in the metal canner rack in a boiling water bath. Process your peaches in the boiling water bath for the times shown below: Pints- 20 minutes Quarts- 25 minutes
Complete steps 7 through 9 above.
Pitting Freestone Peaches-
On a Freestone Peach, the flesh comes away easily from the pit, but leaves the cavity with small red fibers that should be removed. Cut the peaches in half, starting at the stem end cut around in the natural crease of the peach, all the way to the pit. This ensures you will have a nice open cavity to work with. After cutting, grasp the peach with both hands (1/2 in each), and twist the halves in opposite directions. Remove the pit from the half it stayed in using the pitter or a paring knife to lift it. Use your pitter or pitting spoon to scrape the red fibers from the peach cavity.
Pitting Clingstone Peaches-
On a Clingstone Peach the flesh clings to the pit and requires a peach pitter or pitting spoon for removal. Start by pushing the pitter into the stem end of the peach, following the curve of the pit on one side of the natural crease. Twist the pitter all the way around the pit and gently remove the pit. Use a paring knife to remove the rough edges around the pit cavity.