Canning Peaches: How to Can Peaches Yourself!

with Sharon Peterson

Canning Peaches: Easy to Do & Makes the House Smell Amazing!

Canning peaches - Does anything beat picking a peach fresh off the tree and eating it right there? Home canning peaches enables you to have that fresh taste year around.

Peaches may be processed in a water bath canner.

Prepare

Gather Your Canning Supplies for Canning Peaches:

Ingredients:

  • peaches
  • sugar - for the syrup (optional)

Syrup for Packing

Prepare light or medium syrup. (I prefer light syrup for canning peaches.) Simply heat water and sweetener in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. 

Canning Peaches

Canning Peaches - Sugar Syrup 

  • Light - 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water
  • Medium - 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water

Canning Peaches - Honey Syrup

You can also make a syrup with honey if you don't want to use processed sugar. Honey is quickly becoming my favorite alternative to sugar. Our family is on a mission to cut lots and lots of white sugar out of our kitchen! 

  • Light - 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
  • Medium - 2 cups honey to 4 cups water

No Syrup?

Did you know...? You don't even have to add any sugar if you don't want to when you're canning peaches. You can just can peaches in water. Sugar does help the fruit to maintain color and texture, but it is not a preservative in this case.   

Procedure for Canning Peaches

Start by preparing jars and getting water in your canner heating. (See Water Bath Canning for full directions.)

Prepare light or medium syrup. (I prefer a light syrup for canning peaches.) Simply heat water and syrup in a pot until sugar dissolves. I like to do this right in a tea pot. 

Peel Your Peaches

  • Do this by dipping peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. I use my blancher and do 5 or so peaches at a time.
  • Immediately remove the peaches to a sink or bowl with cold water to stop the cooking.
Dipping peaches into hot water.
Pointing out
Peaches waiting in cold water.

Slice the peaches in half and throw away the pit. You'll notice a "seam" down one side of your peach. If you slice around the diameter of the peach following this line, you will be able to pluck the pit right out.

Peeling a peach.

Skins should slip right off in your hands. If your peach is a little green, it will be harder to skin, and you can just use a paring knife for the stubborn spots.

I like to can peaches in halves, but you may also cut smaller if you wish. Pack peach halves cavity side down. They pack better, so you will fit more in a jar. If you have wide mouth jars, it makes it easier to place the peaches in the bottom of the jar cavity side down. 

To prevent browning of the fruit while you're canning peaches, you will want to slice the peaches and cover quickly with syrup. Another way to prevent browning is to treat with ascorbic or citric acid. This should be available in the canning sections at the grocery store or the hardware store. Follow the instructions on the package.

Pouring syrup over peaches in jars.
Placing peach half into jar.
Putting lid on jar.
Ready for canning peaches!

When canning peaches, you can either raw or hot pack. It is up to you. The difference is the number of peaches you can fit in the jar and possible space in the jar. 

IF you hot pack (heat the peaches before packing your jars), you will be able to fit more into the jar. If you raw pack, it is just a quicker way to get the food packed and preserved. Your choice!

  • Raw Pack ~ I prefer to raw pack and fill one jar at a time as I peel, pit, and slice. I then immediately cover the peaches with hot syrup and place in hot water in canner to keep warm while I prepare the next jar. This prevents peaches from browning. Leave 1/2-inch headspace.
  • Hot Pack ~ Slice peaches into a pot of syrup. When you have enough fruit prepared for your jars, bring to boil and turn off heat. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place your lids.

For more details, follow water bath canning instructions. 

Wiping rim of jar.

Processing Details

Canning Peaches with Hot Pack: Process pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes.

Canning Peaches with Raw Pack: Process pints 25 minutes and quarts 30 minutes.

Don't forget to adjust for altitude:

It's done!
Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner
Altitude in Feet Increase processing time
1001-3000 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10,000 20 minutes

How to Can Peaches - FAQs

Canning Peaches

"How do I know if my unopened jar of canned peaches has gone bad?

Like other canned goods, spoilage of canned peaches is very obvious: look for bulging tops, lost seals, and product that looks or smells bad or just "off." When in doubt, however, don't risk it.

"How long after opening a jar of canned peaches will they keep in my refrigerator?"

Treat them just as you would a can of peaches from the store, which usually keeps a few days to a week or so. Peaches with sugar will last longer than if you canned them with no sugar, as the sugar does help preservation. Watch for any mold or spoilage. 

"What kind of peaches can be canned?"

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, do not can white-flesh peaches, because of their low acidity. Instead, can yellow-flesh peaches!

Source for tested canning instruction: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/peach_sliced.html

Learn How to Can Peaches Yourself!

Reader Questions & Comments on Peaches:

HI Sharon...Thank you so much for this site! It's very helpful!

I was just canning peaches, and I noticed they were leaking a bit of juice. They popped and sealed, but the jars are sticky. I haven't actually tested the lids, because they have only been out of the canner a couple of hours, but they are concave.

I looked on the USDA web site, and they say it's fine to loose some liquid. A couple of my jars lost enough that the tops of a few peaches are not covered. Should I be concerned?

Thanks so much!

-Jenny

Hi Jenny,

Yes, sometimes the liquid will leak out and you will have low levels of juice, and as you found out, that is ok. It should only be a mild loss though. If you've lost more than half the liquid, you should refrigerate the fruit.

I've read that the peaches above the liquid may brown, but I've never had that happen.

If you've lost liquid you might want to just put those jars to the front of your cupboard so they get used up first. That is what I usually do. Remember if the liquid is below halfway, refrigerate your jar and eat it up.  

To lessen liquid loss next time, try leaving your jars to rest in your canner for 5 minutes or so after the water stops boiling. Then lift your jars out of the water and leave on the rack for another 5 minutes or so. This just slows down the cooling process in the jars and may help.   

I hope this helps!

I followed all the steps for preparing and then proceeded to raw pack my peaches. I added hot syrup and placed in a pressure canner. I waited 10 minutes for the pressure to build once i saw a steady stream of steam. I then placed my 5 lb pressure knob on the pressure canner I waited for it to rock and then let it cook for 8 minutes under 5 lbs of pressure.

Did I do something wrong or did I get to processes mined up? Is the food safe or have I ruined 1`20 lbs of peaches

-s c johnson (North Carolina)

It probably has to do with using the pressure canner. I know that you can process in a pressure canner but I don't recommend it. It is a personal preference. Peaches only need a water bath and that is a much gentler process.

I can't say for certain your peaches will be safe as I don't know your altitude and that will affect the pressure canning process. If we go under the assumption that you used tested directions, they are probably fine.... however they are very well cooked! They may be mushy.

But all is not lost. If the peaches are mushy just blend them up as you open the jars and use them to top ice cream or pancakes. Add them to smoothies or milkshakes.

You may want to drain off some juice before you blend them. Or leave the juice and blend it and simply drink it!

Even mushy peaches are good.

-Sharon

What About Peach Butter?

"I have used a recipe online for peach butter. However I can not get it to thicken. I remember apple butter as a kid and this is very thin compared.

-db222 (spokane)

I have never made or even had peach butter. I'll have to add to my list for next peach season.

One possibility is too cook it longer. I know apple butter thickens as it cooks, I would think peach butter would be the same.

It is also possible that peach butter will be thinner by nature. Peaches are much more juicy than apples.

Reader Tips for Peach Butter

Peach Butter
by: The Frugal Fraulein
I did nectarine butter this year and it was very runny to begin with. I put it in a strainer with cheese cloth and let some of the juice drain out and it did thicken up for me by cooking it slowly and stirring alot. Hope that helps. (ha it isn't runny peach butter it is simply delicious peach sauce for pound cake!)

My peach butter
by: Anonymous
My peach butter was a little thinner than my apple butter, but I had to cook for a really long time to get it to thicken up. -Jaime
 
Peach Butter
by: Brianchef
I am new to the site, but have canned for years. I make peach butter each year, adding different "flavorings" each year to experiment. That said, my peach butter is either cooked to the right thickness in the oven at 250 degrees for 6 hours plus, or in the crock pot overnight with no lid(8 - 12 hours). This works for most fruit butters I make.

When it is the right consistency I can, refrigerate, freeze or package for immediate gift giving.


Peach Butter
by: Hope
I made peach butter for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't find a recipe I liked online. I finally chose one but didn't quite like having to put apples in it. I wanted peach butter, not apple peach butter.

I since learned that adding the apples was for the pectin because the riper the fruit the less pectin and peaches very much so.

The recipe called for the same amount of diced apples as it did peaches. I made it but omitted the lemon juice since it stank so bad when i added it. I felt like it would not taste right.

I have quite a few of those canned and it tastes fine with the apples. I don't even taste those. I wanted my peach preserves (that's what i really wanted to can) with the apples and didn't want it to darken in color. So i didn't cook it as long.

It came out kind of thin but once cooled in the fridge, I decided I was ok with the outcome. It wasn't just going to run off my toast. I really liked the chunks of peach too! And the color seemed just perfect to me!

Then i talked to my mom. she said it was tedious. time consuming. be patient, that I couldn't rush it. I just needed to cook it down, slowly.

It takes her cooking down her apples to apple butter two evenings on the stove. I did my peaches that way. Wah-lah! Peach butter!

I had 11 peeled, pitted and diced peaches. Cooked down on setting 3 of 10 on my stove burner, stirring constantly so it doesn't scorch.

About 3 hrs. It was very thick. The next evening, I cooked it more. It turned slightly darker this time around. I added a cup and a half of sugar.

Stir every couple of minutes. Literally! The sugar burns faster. I had my stove on setting 1 this time and still had bubbles coming through!

I cooked it until it was real thick again, this time around about 3 hrs total again. I had 3 half pints and a 4 oz jam jar. Just my experience.

peach butter
by: kim

Be very careful to not liquify the peaches if you use a blender or food processor. it takes forever to cook down and will lose all flavor and turn to dark before it gets thick enough.

thickening peach butter

by: Anonymous
Add a few caramels to a few at at a time until you get the consistency you like. Tastes real good.

Repurposed thin peach butter
by: Nancy

If you feel that your peach preserves or butter are too thin, I've found that it makes an excellent glaze for roast pork!

(Good idea! I think I'm going to try this one. -Sharon)

Thin Peach Butter
by: Anonymous
The probable reason for peach butter being thinner than apple butter is the fact that peaches have a lower natural pectin concentration so therefore do not thicken the same. Fruit pectin can be purchased separately and added if you really desire that same thick consistency.

awesome peach butter

by: Elis Grandma
I made peach butter last year for the first time too..I love peach cobbler so I used the same ingredients as I put in my cobbler..sugar,cinnamon.and almond extract!! Place in slow cooker(uncovered} for at least 24hrs depending on how hot your slow cooker gets and how thick you want it! My grandson loved it!!

Thin Peach Butter
by: Charyl
Mine has been cooking in the crock pot for about 18 hours and has only cooked down about 25%. And, it's thin. Haven't took the stick blender to it yet, but wondering if one could add a little cornstarch or arrowroot powder to thicken it up? Anyone done that, or do I just need it to cook for several more days?

Peach Butter
by: Vicki
I just made peach butter. Late morning I had put my peaches through my Victorio until I had just under 2 quarts. I then pitted, peeled and diced a couple more peaches and added that to make 2 quarts.

I put into the crockpot and added 4 cups of sugar. I set on high. By 8pm it was beginng to thicken. I decided to transfer it to the stove and I cooked it, stirring constantly on med. high and it thickened some more and was a beautiful color. I used a hand held blender that can go into a hot pan and smoothed out any chunks.

Since it was 10pm I decided to finish it this morning. I cooked it for another hour and it did thicken up but not as thick as apple butter. I canned it but I had little bit left over and as it sat and cooled it did thicken up beautifully. As long as it's hot it will be thinner.

Next time I may do the same process but allow for it to be in the crockpot for a full 2 days or I may peel and dice all the peaches and just cook slowly on the stove, being patient that I will have to babysit the pan and continually stir it to keep from scorching.

Nothing worse than having all that hard work go to waste by having a burned taste! The end result is worth all the work.

BTW the way...the Lancaster, PA peaches were BEYOND EXCELLENT this year.

apple butter
by: K. Truman

My mother used to make up apple butter recipe in her huge turkey roaster. She would put it in a slow oven and cook all night. Would wake up in the morning and the whole house smelled like apples and cinnamon!

cheat
by: siwel nevets

if you add powdered pectin, like sure-jel it will thicken nicely. not too much or it will be more jam like. my maw lernt me and now mayhaps i can learn you.

peach butter
by: Anonymous

My recipe says to cook it for 3 hrs. which I did. It was a perfect consistency by that time. You have to put it on low simmer; otherwise it bubbles & pops out of the pan.Stir it every 15 to 20 min.

Sharon.

What About Peach Jam?

"My x husband and I use to make tons of peach jelly/ jam and peach syrup. I made a lot of it, but cannot remember the amounts of fruit vs. sugar. I think 5 cups of fruit and 5 cups of sugar and 1 pack of Sure jell, and we used fruit fresh instead of lemon. Is this correct? Or was it more fruit/sugar?

Also, I cannot remember how I made the syrup. That was his job mixing the ingredients. I love peach syrup, but I am not sure about the recipe.

No other fruit was used in the syrup or jelly/jam. I just love peach. Can you help?"

-Sambia (Panama City Beach, FL)

Sambia,

I have two different recipes on my site. One is an an Almond Peach Jam Recipe and the other is a Spiced Peach Jam Recipe. If you want just peach without the extra flavorings (almond or spiced) simply leave out the spices.

Both of these are made with no pectin. If you prefer a pectin based jam directions will be right in the box of pectin. It is very easy.

For peach syrup, just don't cook as long and the texture will be thinner.

I hope that helps.

Sharon

Reader Tips for Peach Jam

Home made peach jam
by: Mitchell

My grandmother always used certo pectin and she used equal peaches and sugar, however I know that she made larger batches and cannot remember how many certo pouches used.

The thing that she did that was different from any other recipe was that she would cook the peaches and sugar and lemon together, add the certo at the proper stage.

When ready to put in the jars, we had a large pan of fresh peach chunks, that we would stir into the pot and coat really good, just cooking ever so slightly, enough I guess to heat through. Then fill the jars and process accordingly, talking about a super fresh peach flavor, and getting chunks of fresh peaches in every bite.

Also, as I remember she used Alberta peaches, which are NOT Freestone, and they have the BEST flavor of all, her logic which was correct, was that you have to butcher the peaches off the pit, so they were best for jam/butters etc.

The would put the pits over in a seperate pan because they had peach meat all over them and simmer in some sugar water til the fruit came off and add that to jellies etc.

Also, when canning, peaches (sliced or halves) we ALWAYS put a peach pit or two in each jar, supposed to keep the peach flavor better. I don't know if this helps or not, just something we have always done.

Mitchell
Bridgewater Va

Peach Jellies, Jams and Syrup
by: Sambia

Thank you Mitchell, I will give this a try. Sounds great!

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Date last updated: 7/12/2019.

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