I love posts from the Pearson Farm because they actually grow peaches (and pecans) so anything they have to say is based on REAL knowledge, not hearsay. Today they teach us how to can peaches, that wonderful fruit that lasts way too short a time.
With their sweet flavor and fragrant aroma, it comes as no surprise that many people want to preserve their peaches for later enjoyment. Thankfully, peaches, due to their versatile nature, lend themselves well to canning. With that in mind, here is a brief guide to selecting and canning peaches.
Selecting the Right Peaches
First, before you begin canning, you need to select peaches that are the best suited for the process. Typically, only ripe peaches should be used for canning as they simply perform better during the preservation process. In terms of peach varieties, the best types for canning are: Harmony, Loring, and Madison as they are each free stone peaches. Of the three, Harmony peaches are usually the best for canning as they are very hardy and hold up well in can.
The Canning Process
Before canning any peaches, you should make sure that all of your jars are in good condition and free of any nicks or cracks. After checking your jars for condition, wash them along with their lids and rings in the dishwasher and leave them in a pan of warm water until you are ready to use them. With your jars ready to go, you can begin washing your peaches. After your peaches are washed, set them in a colander to drain and boil a pot of water. When the water begins to boil, place your peaches in the pot just until the skin becomes loose, usually between one and two minutes.
After loosening the skin, remove the peaches from the boiling water and place them immediately into an ice water bath to prevent any further cooking. Once they have sat in the water bath for a minute or two, you can remove them and begin to peel and cut them in half, removing the pit in the process. With the peaches peeled and cut, the next step is to make the syrup.
There are three different types of syrup you can make for your peaches, depending on your preferences: light, medium, and heavy. Regardless of the type of syrup you choose, be careful not to boil the syrup mixture and be sure you cook it until all the sugar is dissolved. The ratios for each type of syrup are as follows:
Light: 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water or juice.
Medium: 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water or juice
Heavy: 4-3/4 cups sugar to 1 quart water or juice
After you have finished with the syrup, the last step is to fill and seal the jars. As you place the peaches in the jar, be sure only fill the peaches up to about half an inch from the top of the jar. After filling each jar with your peaches, simply cover the peaches with the syrup mixture and remove any air bubbles. With that, the hard part is over! All that you need to do now is clean the jars with a damp cloth and place the vacuum-seal canning lids and rings on tightly. When every jar has been sealed, place them into the canner for about 25-30 minutes. After that, simply let the jars cool and store them. The peaches are now ready to be enjoyed for many months to come!