Almost every zero-waste queen loves canning, a food preservation method that increases the shelf life of certain foods. Using an airtight container, canning enables people to prepare food in bulk, avoid packaging, and eat out-of-season foods sustainably. Many different foods can be canned, including: vegetables, soups, meat, poultry, seafood, jams, jellies, and fermented foods, but a classic staple for canning is peaches.
If you’re looking to get started on your canning journey, you may be wondering how to can peaches for beginners. On the East Coast, peaches are in season from July 15 to mid-September, but elsewhere, they're available year-round. Once your peaches are harvested and your jars are properly sterilized, take a look at our beginner's guide to canning peaches.
How to can peaches using a pressure canner:
Bring a pot of water to a boil, allowing peaches to be submerged in the water for about 30 to 90 seconds. Cool the peaches in a bowl of ice water before peeling and slicing them. Then, combine water and granulated sugar in a separate pot, bring it to a boil, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the peaches into the simple syrup mixture, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, before ladling the peaches into sterilized jars.
Pour the rest of the simple syrup over the peaches, leaving at least half an inch of space between the top of the peaches and the lid. Using a pressure canner, seal the canned peaches thoroughly. You can do this by processing the canned peaches for 10 minutes at five pounds pressure in a weighted gauge pressure canner, according to Practical Self Reliance. If using a dial gauge pressure canner, use six pounds. For more, check out the tutorial, below.
How to can peaches without a pressure canner:
To can peaches without a pressure canner, you will need a pot, a paring knife, a bowl, canning jars, peaches, granulated sugar, and water. To yield two quarts of canned peaches, you’ll need about 9 large peaches, 1 ½ cups of sugar, and 8 cups of water. To start, boil a large pot of water on the stove. While the water is boiling, fill a bowl with ice water and cut a shallow “x” into the bottom of each peach.
Add the peaches for about three minutes, before removing them and soaking them in a bowl of ice water. Peel the peaches, slice them, and compost the pits. Add the peaches to your sterilized jars.
Meanwhile, make simple syrup by boiling 8 cups of water and 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar in a separate pot. Bring to a simmer, and pour over the peaches. Once properly sealed, store your canned peaches in a dry, dark place or refrigerate them and eat in up to one week.
How to can peaches in light syrup, without sugar, or in juice:
Because peaches are naturally sweet, they can be canned in water alone. However, water may wash out some of the natural sweetness, and you might find your canned peaches lacking flavor. For that reason, you may want to add a light syrup. To add a light syrup to your canned peaches, use 1 ½ cups granulated sugar and 8 cups for about 9 large peaches. For a super light syrup, use ¾ cups granulated sugar and 6 ½ cups water.
For a low-sugar option, as detailed by Happy Money Saver, water bathe your peaches for 30 to 90 seconds, and add them to an ice water bath. After peeling and slicing them, remove the pits, place them in the jars, adding one teaspoon of lemon juice to each. In a separate bowl, add 7 cups of warm water and 1/3 cup of honey, or a vegan honey alternative. Pour the mixture into each jar, mixing the jars a bit to release any unwanted air pockets. Seal jars accordingly.
Instead of packing canned peaches in water, you can also pack them in fruit juice. To do so, bathe the peaches for 30 to 90 seconds, and submerge them in an ice water bath. After peeling them, slicing them, and removing the pits, ladle the peaches into jars. Pour fruit juice into a separate pot, boil, and ladle it into each jar, shaking it up or using a plastic knife to remove any air pockets. Every 7 quarts of canned peaches requires 1 gallon of juice.
Properly sealing your can is the most important part.
The most effective way to seal canning jars is to fill a pot with water about halfway, then bring to a boil over medium heat. (This is the part known as a boiling water bath.) When the water is about to simmer, lower your jars into the water using tongs. Water should then start to gently boil; let it boil with the cans for about 25 minutes.
After the sealing process, remove the jars from the pot and let them cool off at room temperature. If you touch the lid and it pops up, it hasn’t been sealed properly. You want to be able to touch the lid without it moving.
Canned foods can last anywhere from one to five years if stored correctly, but according to Delish, canned peaches last a few months. Once opened, the canned peaches should be refrigerated. They will probably last up to two weeks once opened. Enjoy!
This article, originally published on Dec. 2, 2020 has been updated.