Learn how to can peaches the easy way! This simple guide will have beginners canning pounds summer’s best peaches safely and easily! All your questions about canning peaches are answered in this handy tutorial for beginning canners or those who just need a refresher!
Peaches are one of my favorite things to can.I know in this day and age I can walk into the store any day of the year and buy a peach but a peach from across the world in December is not the same as a heavy, perfectly ripe summer peach. Do you know that if a peach is completely ripe even picking it up gently in your hand will bruise it slightly?
You just can’t buy that kind of ripeness in the store! Summer is the only time when you can get really amazing peaches and canning preserves their flavor perfectly. I’ve never had a store canned peach or a frozen peach from the store that came close to the peaches I put up myself. My family would be happy to open two quarts of my canned peaches every week all winter long! I don’t make them that many but I do put up a lot and I make some extra jars to give at Christmas.
How to Can Peaches Using a Water Bath Canner
The water bath canning method is really simple for peaches. If you have a few hours and a big box of peaches you’ve got this! I suggest you start with my Water Bath Canning For Beginners Guide to brush up on all the current basics of canning.
- Order peaches: Some farms will take your order in advance and help you plan a day on your calendar for canning.
- Clean your jars: (peaches can be canned in quart jars or pint jars but I prefer quarts)
- Boil Water: Fill your Water Bath Canner 2/3 full and start it coming to a boil. Takes awhile…
- Make Simple Syrup: Combine sugar and water to make light, medium, or heavy simple syrup for the peaches.
- Prep Peaches: Scald, peel and slice the peaches filling jars as you go. Pour syrup of peaches as each jar fills to keep them from browning.
- Close Jars with Lids and Rings: Make sure the rim of the jar is clean and put a lid and ring on top.
- Put Jars in Boiling Water: Put the jars in the water bath canner. Make sure the water is boiling and that there is a rack in the bottom. Make sure the tops of the jars are covered with water. Bring the water back to a boil and then continue to boil for 25 minutes. (If you live higher than sea level you need to boil or “process” your jars longer. Check the recipe below for exact times.
- Remove the jars: Use a jar lifter to get the jars out and put them on a towel or cutting board to cool.
- Test: After a few hours it is time to check the jars. Use your finger to press into the center of the lid. If the lid stays down it is sealed! If you hear it “pop” back up then the jar is not sealed. Any jars that don’t seal should be refrigerated and eaten within a week.
- Clean and Store: Wash the jars to make sure they are no longer sticky. Store away from light for up to two years.
Tips For Ordering Canning Peaches From A Farm:
- When I order my peaches I schedule them to pick up when the next five days are all days I could can on. This gives me flexibility to can on the day the peaches are perfect. Nothing is more frustrating than showing up for your peach order with plans to can tomorrow only to discover the peaches are fairly green and won’t be ready for days.
- When you order your peaches ask how long they will take to ripen after you pick them up. A reputable farm will be able to give you a good estimate.
- There are many different varieties of canning peaches. The season will be weather dependent ever year but here in Idaho you can probably get peaches as early as late July and as late as early September. When you order peaches make sure you are ordering a “freestone” variety which means the pit is easy to remove for canning. I’ve been given wrong information by farms before. I suggest looking up the variety you plan to order online to find out what type it is.
How to Peel Peaches Easily For Canning
Perfectly ripe peaches are peaches so ripe that they bruise at being touched! A truly ripe peach is very easy to peel and the skins come right off. You don’t have to blanch peaches but it does make peeling peaches much easier for canning! When you blanch fruit correctly it does not cook at all.
- Fill a large soup pot with water and bring it to a boil.
- Blanch or scald the peaches by dipping them into the hot water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This loosens the skins so they will slip right off! Use a slotted spoon to lift the peaches out and put them in a sink of ice water.
Can You Leave the Skins on For Canning?
There is no reason you can’t do it from a canning perspective. It won’t be a safety issue. Bottom line if you don’t mind eating them with the skins on or removing the skins when you are serving them then go for it!
I will say if you dislike the skins but are concerned the blanching step will be long or difficult at least try it – I think it is simple and fast.
Should You Use Light, Medium or Heavy Syrup for Peaches?
Sugar is a preservative in canning. Peaches are generally canned in a sugar syrup to aid in the preserving process but the choice of how sweet a syrup you use is up to you. Heavy syrup will be the sweetest and is more traditional. Light syrup will have the least sugar.
I’ve included the directions for all three kinds of syrup in the recipe below. Keep in mind that peaches that are truly ripe and high quality will give you a much sweater result and can probably use a lighter syrup.
Common Questions When Learning How to Can Peaches
Got questions, I’ve got answers! If you are new to Water Bath Canning check out my Beginning Guide to Water Bath Canning.
You can find some of the most commonly asked questions about canning peaches below!
Slices, Quarters of Halves for Canning Peaches?
This is purely a personal preference. I like slices because I can get the most peach in the jar! My kids will eat a jar at a sitting if I let them so quantity is my game these days.
However, if I wanted something really beautiful for a dessert or gift jars I would do halves. Imagine bringing some beautiful glasses out at Thanksgiving with half a ripe summer peach and a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream in the center! It would be stunning!
How many jars of peaches will 50 pounds give me?
The general rule of thumb is that 50 pounds (a bushel) of peaches will give you 20-25 quarts when canned. This assumes you are going to slice them in half. While it is pretty to can peach halves I prefer to slice my peaches because I can cram many more into the jars which saves money on jars and lids and saves storage space.
When I order 50 pounds of peaches I make 14 quarts of sliced peaches, and 14 quarts of my grandmother’s amazing spiced peaches which I do can in halves for presentation, and 10 pints of peach jam. I love peach jam and it is a great use for the more bruised peaches I don’t want to can in slices or as spiced peaches.
Can I use pint jars to can peaches?
Yep! You certainly can! For raw pack peaches the processing time for pints is 25 minutes.
How long does it take to can peaches?
It only takes 30 minuted to process the cans of peaches in a water bath canner. But how long will it take you to set up, peel the fruit, process the jars, and clean up???
I can a few times most summers. Generally I find that without little kids in the house I can put up 50 pounds of peaches in about 8 hours by myself. 50 pounds is a LOT of peaches. Fewer peaches, shorter day!
Should I Raw Pack or Hot Pack Peaches?
Raw packing is where you fill the jar with fruit and then pour boiling syrup over it before canning the jar. This is faster and easier – my preferred method.
Hot packing is where the fruit is sliced into a pot of syrup and then brought to a boil before loading fruit and syrup into the jars. Peaches that are hot packed don’t float in the jars.
What If My Canning Peaches Are Still Green?
Sometimes when you order canning peaches from a farm they are sold green and cold from a refrigerator. Peaches should be canned when they are as ripe as possible while still being firm enough to hold up.
If yours are green, bring them home and set them out on newspaper or towels on a table in the sun for 2-3 days until they become more yellow/orange/red and start giving off a pleasing peach fragrance that fills the room gently. If you do find yourself canning peaches with a green tinge, try blanching for 45 seconds instead of 30 to make sure the skins still slips off well.
Be careful not to squeeze the peaches. Even gentle handling can bruise them.
What if some liquid leaks out of the jars while they are processing?
It is not unusual for some of the syrup to bubble out of the jars during processing in your water bath canner. If it is just a bit or just enough to leave the top of the fruit uncovered you are fine. However, if half or more than half of the liquid is gone the jars should be refrigerated and eaten right away.
Converting measurements for canning
It can be hard to remember how many cups are in a quart or how many quarts in a gallon and so on and so forth. If you feel muddled Ball has a great conversion chart that can help you out.
Looking For More Peach Recipes?
- Making Spiced or Pickled Peaches (And Canning Them – My Grandma’s Recipe!)
- Easy Peach Cobbler (Use home canned peaches for delicious peach cobbler!)
- Fresh Peach Bread With Peach Glaze
- Cinnamon Swirl Peach Bread
- How to Can Peach Jam
How to Can Peaches, A Water Bath Canning Method
- 11 - 12 lbs of peaches
- ice water for the blanching process
- 2 batches of syrup either light, medium, or heavy
- Light Syrup: 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water
- Medium Syrup: 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water
- Heavy Syrup: 4 cups sugar to 1 quart water
Before You Begin
- If you have more questions about water bath canning make sure to check out my Water Bath Canning For Beginners Tutorial. I go over everything you need to know here!
How to Can Peaches
- Prepare your water bath canner and clean jars. Start the canner coming to a boil. If it is ready before the fruit you can turn it off. It will come back to a boil faster when you are ready.
- Prepare desired sugar syrup by heating water and sugar in a sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved. Set it aside.
- Blanch peaches by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. I use a fat skimmer and do 5 peaches at a time. Immediately remove the peaches to a sink or bowl with ice water to stop the cooking.
- Fill one jar at a time to keep the peaches from browning. Slit the skin off of the peach. Slice sections of fruit off of the pit and add to the jar. When the jar is full, cover the fruit with hot syrup leaving a 1/2" head space. Remove all air bubbles by shaking, tapping or using a plastic spatula. Air can get trapped where you can't see it in the food and needs to be removed.
- Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a damp rag and put the lid and ring on.
- Load 7 quarts into a boiling water bath canner. Make sure the jars are covered by at least 2" of water.
- Bring the canner back to a boil with the quarts inside. Then process for at least 30 minutes. If you live above 1,000 feet you need to add more time to adjust for altitude. At 1,001 - 3,000 feet add 5 minutes. At 3,001 - 6,000 feet add 10 minutes, 6,001 - 8,000 feet add 15 minutes, at 8,001 - 10,000 feet add 20 minutes
- Use a jar lifter to remove the jars of peaches to a towel or wooden cutting board. Allow them to come to room temperature. The lids will seal at this time. Any lids that do not seal in the first 12 hours need to be refrigerated and eaten within a week. Sealed jars can be labeled and stored on a shelf out of direct light for years.
I am again canning after 20 years of not. Peaches and applesauce are what I miss the most. All varieties of peaches aren’t free stone. What variety do you recommend?
Welcome back! I don’t have a favorite variety. Usually different ones come ripe at different times in different states. My best luck has been to call a local farm or fruit stand and ask what variety they recommend for canning and go with that. Generally I call earlier in the summer and select a variety that will be ripe when I want to can. In ID I like to can in early September so I look for late season varieties. This year in OR and ID there was a huge heat wave and all the fruit came on weeks early. Be prepared for timing to be different if you live in this region.
My mom always said that early elbertas or hales are the best.
Those are popular ones for sure! This year our peaches are late here in ID but we are canning up a few cases of elbertas next week!
What do you suggest is the shelf life of home canned peaches, pears and applesauce?
The scientific answer to your question 1-2 years. (https://extension.usu.edu/foodstorage/htm/canned-goods). You can look up shelf life stuff at this extension web page or any other you prefer. I use mine for several years when I make extra but I watch for broken seals etc. It really depends on how confident you feel. Just because something is over two years old does not mean it is no longer safe but the risk can be higher for some foods.
First time canner here yikes!! Do you have info on the open kettle style of canning? I hate to go purchase a canner if I find canning is not for me. Can I still use your recipe in the open kettle style? Thanks for all the information you can pass on.
Welcome to the wonderful world of canning! I hope you do end up enjoying it. I have not heard the term “open kettle style” but I think you are talking about water bath canning which you can do in a large pot with a rack. In other words you don’t need a pressure caner! I have a post with lots of general information that should help you get started. Let me know if you have more questions! https://mirlandraskitchen.com/water-bath-canning-tips-and-equipment/
Open kettle and water bath canning are two different methods of canning. Open canning is cooking your product to boiling then placing it in your jars then letting them set to seal. This method should only be used in certain products and is very risky.
Hi Frank – thanks for the heads up on this! My mistake for not double checking the term. You are right that any method where the hot food is put into jars but then the jars are not boiled is significantly more dangerous. I would not recommend it. If you want to try making things and not canning them I suggest storing in a fridge for an appropriate period of time or freezing them. This year I have an 8 month old son and no time to actually can this fall. Instead I made applesauce and froze it – this is a great compromise if you don’t feel up to committing to canning!
That was great information Frank! I, like Mirlandra had never heard of that. Thank you for the insight.
Canning peaches for the first time. I can so many other things but never peaches. Can’t wait. The CA
peaches have just arrived here in WA, so I appreciated the ripening suggestion you gave for green peaches. Love it.
I’m so glad you are going to try your hand at peaches! This summer I’m going to put up some cherries for the first time. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this from other people but I’m curious…. May your jars of peaches keep you in summer flavor all winter long!
For those that do not want to buy a water bath canner but want to can foods. They can use any pot so long as they have a way to keep the jars off the bottom of the pan. I have a huge stock pot with the rubber fan for canners in the bottom of it to keep the jars off the pan. Then it gets used the same way as the water bath pan just not the expense of buying one. Any pot and lid will work that keeps the jar off the bottom and lets the water rise above the jar. Then just process the same way one would if they had the caner. I use both actually. Then I can process more jars at a time.
Another way to do it. If one has a roasting pan that fits on 2 burners, same process and just make sure that there is enough room to keep the water above the jars.
Yes! This is absolutely possible. Thanks, Bev!
Here’s a question I cannot find an answer to anywhere! While canning peaches, nectarines, etc., I frequently find that I have miscalculated how many peaches I needed to can (by hot packing procedure). So there I am with unpeeled peaches and enough unprepared hot jars that I could have put in the hot water bath with those I already have prepared for the boiling. So, can the already hot packed, canned peaches just rest on the counter – or for that matter – in the hot but not yet boiling hot water bath – while I peel and prepare more peaches and jars before hot packing???? Or must the already hot packed peaches be put into the hot water bath and brought to a 25 min. boil as soon as hot packed?
To put the question more simply: How much time do I have between hot packing jarred peaches before I have to boil them in a boiling water bath?
Great question! Keep in mind I’m a food blogger and not a professional canner so one thing you may want to do is to call extension services in your area. They have great advice and it is free! They have a lot more training than I do in canning and food safety.
I load my jars and set them on the counter and just put them through as my hot water has space. So mine sit on the counter for some time and I don’t worry about it. I would not leave them there and go watch a movie but generally with one or two people doing prep I find that leaving them on the counter as long as it takes to make space for them works great.
Also – I believe they have changed the rules and your jars don’t have to be hot anymore! I would make sure they are not cold to prevent cracking but other than that if they are clean you are good to go. Happy canning!
I have canned a lot myself and with friends, and learned a lot too. But, YES, your hot packed foods can wait till you get more jars ready to can up. IF it is a concern you could always set them in some hot tap water to wait for your jars to get ready. I have learned that the new rules are: One does not have to heat up the lids (this can damage the rubber getting them to hot), I just use warm tap water to get it wet and ready to seal, the jars do not have to be boiled to keep them ready for the bath, hot tap water works good for me once they are packed if I need to keep them warm before the bath.
Yes! I love the new rule where you don’t have to boil the lids. Thanks for sharing!
Hello my dear, I’m city, retired and disabled living in a apartment. I’m doing jam and canning for the first time in my life. I used your peach jam directions and was so happy with the results. I used your directions also for canning peaches. For me I like bite size pieces rather than slices so I cut them up then put them in the jars. I canned four half pints and five pints. All sealed and popped. But I have a lot of liquid in the bottom. Did I do something wrong? I packed as much fruit in each jar that I could. I want to also do your recipe or your grandmother’s recipe for spiced peaches but concerned about the liquid. Can you help a old beginner out.? Hugs.
Well my dear, it sounds like you are packing a lot of great things into your life!!! I’m so glad you are finding so many great canning recipes. Peaches and peach jam are some of my favorites every year. The bite size idea is really wonderful too. I have a little boy that is 2.5 now and likes me to cut up his slices into bite sizes and my new little girl will be eating peaches this winter. Maybe I will do some as chunks for them when I do my summer canning! In terms of having liquid in the bottom you did nothing wrong and there is no harm in eating the fruit. This just happens sometimes due to how the fruit is packed (hot or cold), the type of sugar syrup used and the way you process the jars. So please don’t worry about it! I hope you enjoy the spiced peaches. They really are a treasure!
I did a raw pack of peaches in jars. They look good except they turned brown in the jars. I did the syrup for the peaches.
They have been done for 1 1/2 month and sealed.
Are they safe to eat if they turn brown?
Peaches can turn brown after canning for several reasons. It could be due to how they were processed or what kind of water you have! Certain kinds of hard water contain minerals that can cause the color change. Assuming that the lids sealed correctly (they should be flat and tight – you should not be able to press down and make them pop) I would not be concerned. If this were my kitchen I would open a jar, smell it and if it smelled fresh and nice eat it. If it didn’t smell good or it smelled off or rotten I would discard it. Just to be clear since I can’t physically see your jars and I don’t know exactly what happened I can only guess if the peaches are safe. You can try seeing if there is a local extension office in our area. They have master caners who give amazing free advice! You might be able to take a jar in to them and have them give you a better answer. They know more about canning that I probably ever will and are an amazing knowledge source! I hope that helps you get started. Sorry I can’t promise you the right answer 🙂
I canned peaches for the first time using the hot canning method. I gave them their bath, but they look more yellow than peachy color. Did I do something wrong?
Great question! I don’t think you did anything wrong. Cooking can change the color of fruits some. And the variety of peach could have been more prone to color change? Were your peaches very ripe? I find that peaches that are less ripe are less yellow. But I grew up next to a peach orchard so we used to pick peaches right off the trees at their most perfect ripeness.
I’m canning peaches for the first time! I made the sugar syrup and when I packed my jars with the peaches I had little room for the syrup due to the juice of the peach, I also put 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice in the jars. Will this be enough for the peaches to stay good?
Hey Candace, Great question! Just top off your jars with the syrup to the correct head space and you should be fine! Process as directed 🙂 Sounds like you had some wonderfully juicy peaches – I’m jealous!
Do you remove the stained part of the peach that is left by the pit? Or do you just remove any part of the pit that may have stuck to the peach before putting in jar? It would go a lot faster to not have to worry about it, but wondering if it will make my peaches look very pretty in the jar after it’s canned.
Hi Jenny – that is a great question! It is absolutely a personal choice. When I do mine I make sure to remove any pit fragments at all but I leave everything else. I find the natural look beautiful in the jar. I don’t think it is going to be a look you won’t like but that might be a personal preference. You are right it is quicker to not fuss with that part! If you decide you want to try a serrated grapefruit spoon. It is a helpful scooping tool.
After I filled 7 quart jars with peaches, I had enough peaches to fill another quart jar. I cooked the extra peaches for 3 minutes as I had done for the other 7 quart jars, before I filled them for cooking. I put the 8th jar in hot water and filled the jar with the hot peaches. I put on the lid I had warmed and followed it with the band. I was waiting for the water bath canner to finish with the 7 quart jars of peaches when, to my surprise, the 8th jar sealed. Do I do the jar over again with a new lid, or do I just put the jar with the other 7th quarts in my food storage.
Hi Lloyd – This is a great question! When I was young and didn’t really know better I actually canned like this frequently. Hot food in a jar can cause the jar to seal. Unfortunately, without the full water bath process the food is very likely to spoil sooner than later. The USDA canning recommendations don’t suggest canning with the hot food / lid method. I would go ahead and process the jar in a water bath. Just pop the lid off and screw it down again before hand. In this case I would re-use the lid unless you have plenty of lids to spare. (It has been a weird year for lids all around.)
Thanks for the canning information. Do you have instructions for freezing peaches in simple syrup?
Hi Lenna, I’m sorry I have never frozen peaches that way. I would imagine you just freeze the peaches in the syrup? I freeze peaches in Ziploc bags. I freeze 6 or 8 cups and write on the bag how much peach and how much sugar. For instance I might add 1/2 cup of sugar to help prevent browning while they are in the freezer. Throughout the winter I thaw bags for making cobbler or for fresh eating.