Small Batch Canned Peaches

By Ann Fulton

Jump to Recipe

Beginner’s guide to perfect Small Batch Canned Peaches every time -with lots of helpful hints and options…

 

 

 

“Putting up” food for the winter can seem like a daunting task.   had the benefit of watching my grandmother preserve jams, pickles, applesauce and more, and I still had questions when I began canning on my own.

For those who didn’t have the benefit of watching a parent or grandparent, it can be easier to simply skip it.  Yet I find when people have simple, step-by-step instructions along with a reliable resource when additional questions arise, they are more inclined to try.

An interesting bit of trivia: an average of 17½ pounds of peaches would be needed for a full canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed for a canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to 24 quarts – an average of 2½ pounds per quart.Because the time required to peel, pit and process such a large load of fruit can be too much, I prefer to can two quart-size jars (or four pint-size jars) at a time. It isn’t overwhelming and, as a result, I’m far more likely to do it! So, consider starting with 5-6 pounds of peaches–or even half that amount to get the feel for how easy the process is if you are new to it.

Following is a basic recipe for canned peaches and, along the way, I’ve tried to answer many of the questions people often ask.  I’ve also provided background on and links to the acknowledged industry experts.  Their sites included trouble-shooting for almost any question or problem imaginable. I’m always happy to answer questions, but these are excellent resources for instant, research-based answers to pressing questions.

♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦

The National Center for Home Food Preservation based at The University of Georgia is a terrific source for current, research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation.  They also have a helpful page dedicated to frequently asked canning questions.  For more step-by-step information on how to can high-acid foods (this includes most fruits, jams and jellies, pickles, salsas and chutneys), the Ball canning company has a helpful page.  (Low-acid foods include most vegetables, some fruits, and meats. To safely preserve them, high-pressure canning is recommended.)

I like to can peaches in halves, but they can also be sliced. Pack peach halves with cavity side down. They pack better and you will fit more in a jar. If you have wide mouth jars, it’s easier to place the peaches in the jar. Choose ripe, mature fruit of the highest quality possible for best results.

Adjustments for altitude can be found here.

Beginner's guide to perfect Small Batch Canned Peaches every time - with lots of helpful hints and options

Leftover syrup is delightful in Peach Iced Tea!

(The following syrup information will print in the notes section of the recipe, but I think it’s helpful to see it at the outset, too.)

 

When canning peaches, I recommend a light or medium syrup. Simply heat water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
•Light syrup – 2 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/4 cups water (yields 6 1/2 cups syrup)
•Medium syrup – 3 1/4 cups sugar to 5 cups water (yields 7 cups syrup)

You can also make a syrup with honey if you prefer not to use processed sugar:
•Light – 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
•Medium – 2 cups honey to 4 cups water

Small Batch Canned Peaches
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 pints
Ingredients
  • 5 1/2 – 6 pounds peaches
  • Granulated sugar (see notes section below for choices including a honey option)
  • Water
  • 4 pint (16 ounce) or 2 quart (32 ounce) glass canning jars with lids and bands (I like Ball brand which are available in the canning aisle of the grocery store and many discount stores; wide mouth jars make it easier to place peaches in the jar)
Instructions
  1. Preparing the Peaches: Wash and drain the peaches. Loosen the skins by dipping the peaches in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. (Sometimes, I find the skins peel off easily without submerging in boiling water; you may wish to try first.) Dip in cold water to stop the cooking process. The skins should pull off easily. Peaches may be cut in half, quartered, or sliced. To prevent browning of the peaches during the peeling process, keep peeled peaches in “acidified” water. There are several easy options: Mix 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals (Ball has a product called Fruit Fresh) or finely crush six 500 mg Vitamin C tablets in one gallon of water. I like to use 1/4 cup lemon juice for every 1 quart of water.
  2. Method of Packing in Jars: Peaches may be packed into the jars raw or hot. Raw packing is a safe method but generally results in a slightly poorer end result than hot packed peaches. Raw packed peaches are more likely to float to the top of the jar, and the jars usually loose some juice through “siphoning,” which means that liquid seeps out of the jars as they are cooling. When siphoning occurs, tiny food particles may lodge between the jar and the lid causing the jar not to seal properly. Because heating the peaches drives air out of the raw fruit, hot packed peaches are less likely to float, more peaches fit into the jar, and the juice is less likely to seep out when the jars cool. (If seepage does occurs, wipe the jars clean when cool. As long as the jars seal, they are fine to use.)
  3. Sweetening with Sugar Syrups: Peaches may be covered with your choice of sugar syrup, water, or even apple, pear, or white grape juice. Sugar is not needed for safety in canning fruit; but in addition to adding flavor, sugar in the liquid helps to keep the texture of the fruit firm and to preserve the color. I recommend a light to medium syrup. (I use medium syrup and the hot pack method described below; see ratios of sugar to water in above comment section.) Heavier sugar syrups will cause fruit to float more than lighter syrups or juice packs. Artificial sweeteners are not recommended as they will not preserve the color and texture of the fruit as sugar does.
  4. Method of Packing in Jars and Processing: To hot pack peaches, place enough peaches for one or two jars (2 1/2 to 3 pounds of peaches will fill a one-quart jar) into the boiling syrup in a single layer, and return to a boil. You will use less syrup when you hot pack because heating the peaches will draw peach juice into the boiling syrup. If you don’t heat the peaches through completely (it takes about 3 minutes for peach halves), they may still shrink a little, but not as much as if you had raw packed them. Remove the peaches carefully and fill the jars to within ½ inch of the top. Add hot syrup or other liquid to within ½ inch of top. Remove air bubbles (I gently swipe around the inside of the jar with a wooden chopstick, although there are special gadgets for this), wipe the jar rim with a wet paper towel, and adjust the lids. The lids should be “fingertip” tight (and do not tighten them further after processing–the bands can actually be removed at that point.) Process hot packed pints 20 minutes and quarts 25 minutes in a boiling water bath. Adjust times for higher altitudes (see attached link in the main body of post for a handy chart).
  5. Processing means you will put the jars in near-boiling water, making sure they are covered with 1-2 inches of water. Then bring to a boil and continue to boil with the lid on. I have a very large, heavy stock pot that I use instead of a canner. For pint-size jars, a heavy pasta pot with a strainer insert works really well, too. You do want the jars to sit on a rack of some sort and still be covered by water.
  6. To raw pack, fill the jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add the hot syrup. Leave ½ inch headspace for both fruit and liquid. Raw packed peaches require an additional 5 minutes for processing. Process pints 25 minutes and quarts 30 minutes in a boiling water bath. Adjust times for higher altitudes.
  7. Finishing Details: After processing in a boiling water bath is complete, remove the canner from the heat and remove the lid. Wait 5 minutes before removing jars. This will equalize the temperature within the jar and reduce liquid loss (also known as siphoning) from the jar. Place the jars on a towel or rack. Allow jars to cool at least 12 hours; remove screw bands and check lid seals. Wash jars, label, and store in a cool, dark, dry place. Peaches are best if consumed within a year and are safe as long as the lids remain vacuum sealed.
Notes

When canning peaches, I recommend a light or medium syrup. Simply heat water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
•Light syrup – 2 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/4 cups water (yields 6 1/2 cups syrup)

•Medium syrup – 3 1/4 cups sugar to 5 cups water (yields 7 cups syrup)
You can also make a syrup with honey if you prefer not to use processed sugar:
•Light – 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
•Medium – 2 cups honey to 4 cups water

Leftover syrup will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks and can be used in many ways. We enjoy using it for homemade peach iced tea.

More On YouTube More on Instagram
Tried this recipe?Post a picture on instagram and we will repost it! Mention @fountainavenuekitchen or tag #fountainavenuekitchen!
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Sources:  Penn State Extension and The National Center for Home Food Preservation

Leave a Reply

Make it? Rate the recipe:

Your email address will not be published.

Comments

  1. Tammy

    Hi! I can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks so straightforward. Thank you for posting it. Just one quick question, for how long should I process my pint jars?
    Thanks! Tammy

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Tammy, There are additional details in the recipe notes, but you’ll want to process hot packed pints for 20 minutes (quarts 25 minutes) in a boiling water bath. If raw packing, process pints for 25 minutes (quarts for 30 minutes). In the body of the post, I’ve also included a link for high altitude adjustments. Enjoy your peaches!

      Reply
  2. Doris Serns

    Thank you so much for your detailed instructions. The recipe looks delicious. My children are growing a peach tree and hopefully we will can some of the peaches with your instructions.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      How wonderful that your children have a peach tree, Doris. I hope the bounty is generous and that this recipe gets put to good use!

      Reply
  3. Linda

    First time to canning peaches. Turned out great with the cooking process. Never new how easy it would be. Thank you for recipe.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Wonderful news, Linda. I’m thrilled that your first go at canning peaches was a success and appreciate your comment!

      Reply
  4. Rosita Odom

    Trying your receipe for first time. Peaches are firm but give a little to,pressures. My problem is after putting them in hot water for few seconds they become mushy when trying to peel them and don’t slice easily or can’t twist open for cut in half to remove pit. any suggestions?
    I’m going to use the mushy flesh to make jam.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Rosita, I’m trying to think what could be the problem, because if the peaches weren’t overripe, a few seconds in hot water shouldn’t pose a problem. Could a few of them have stayed in the boiling water for too long by chance, maybe getting mixed with some that were added after? If not, could it have simply been a not-so-great batch of peaches? Maybe a little late in the season and mealy?

      Reply
  5. Sharon Taylor

    I’m not clear on the use of acidified water. I don’t have either ascorbic acid or Vitamin C tablets. Is the 1/4 cup lemon juice per gal. of water sufficient? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Sharon, I use a ratio of ¼ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of water, but my guess is that the lower ratio you’re asking about of ¼ cup lemon juice to 1 gallon of water would still prevent browning pretty well. The water alone will help slow the oxidative process. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  6. Becky Perkins

    My mother-in-law always raw packed with a light syrup. She used a steam canner instead of a water bath. What is your opinion of steam canners?
    One thing I saw on a tv show was using rings as a rack in a pot for water bath canning.
    Getting ready to help a friend with 2 abundant peach trees at her new house. Love your instructions!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Becky, Thank you for your comment and what a fun (big!) project you have in store. Thanks also for mentioning the makeshift rack. I have noted that option in other posts for canned goods but seemed to have missed it here! I often use a big stock pot with a metal cooling rack that fits well.
      As for the steam canner, I have never used one so I read up a bit. Steam canners are typically advertised as an alternative to the boiling water bath canner (they are not the same as a pressure canner). They are not currently recommended by either the USDA or the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The reason is that steam isn’t as effective as boiling water at transmitting heat to the center of the jars, which is important in terms of ensuring both the safety of the canned food (killing any contaminants) and the efficacy of the seal. I hope this information answers your question and you enjoy those peaches!

      Reply
  7. LESLIE A HARRINGTON

    Is it ok to use the same water in the canner over a couple of days, adding fresh to replenish? Or should I use fresh water every time I can.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Great question, Leslie. I don’t see why not, as boiling sterilizes the water and the water isn’t getting into the jars anyway. Sounds like a wise way to conserve water to me!

      Reply
  8. Billy

    There was no doubt with you helping!
    1st time by myself and I’m ready to get some more peaches!
    Thank you

    Reply
  9. Marsha Prince

    I am going to tr yuh this hot method with medium syrup, however, I am wondering why would you remove the screw bands?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Marsha, This is a food safety guideline because there can be leakage from an improper seal, for example, or a small piece of fruit could get lodged under the band. Either of these things could cause spoilage. If the bands are removed you can more easily detect this.

      Reply
  10. Amy

    Just used the raw processed method with a light syrup. They look great. Definitely floating! Lol. Was thinking about adding a flavor like maple whiskey (Canadian here) to the syrup. Have you tried this?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Amy, The addition of maple whiskey sounds delightful. If you happen to try, please report back! As mentioned in the recipe, there are several reasons the peaches can float, and it can even come down to how ripe they are (less ripe peaches are denser and sink better). Floating or not, they will likely taste fabulous!

      Reply
  11. Diane

    Hi, thanks for the thorough info. I hot packed peaches (I’m a first timer) in wide mouth pints. After processing, the peaches had floated to the top and the jars appear only 1/2 – 2/3 full. What did I do wrong? I processed for 21 minutes in fully boiling H2O. (It has been 15 minutes post-processing and they haven’t “popped” yet. These are for my dad for Father’s Day. I guess I could consolidate them into fewer jars and refrigerate. Luckily, I made a small batch since I was doing it for the first time.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Diane, What a lovely gift to give your dad! From what you describe, I’m guessing the peaches were packed a little too loosely in the jars (it can be challenging to make the fresh peaches halves fit snugly), and then once they shrunk a little with the heating process, they were able to move around in the jar more easily. With regard to the popping, gently press the center of the lid. If it doesn’t flex up and down, the jar is sealed, whether you heard the pop or not. If you still have questions after reading this, by all means let me know so the next time you feel better about the outcome. That said, even if the jars aren’t quite full, I think your dad will be thrilled with the effort you made on his behalf.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Sarah, I provide details on hot packing in this recipe, which as written yields 2 quarts but could certainly be doubled.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Kelly, You want the peaches to be just ripe enough to eat - not rock hard but not too soft either. A “just-ripe” peach will give slightly when gently pressed. Also, the peaches shouldn’t have any green and should be free of bruising. Let me know if you have any more questions, and enjoy those peaches!

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Nikki, Sugar is necessary when canning peaches. Even sweet peaches wouldn’t turn out so sweet without it, and sugar does offer a preservative effect. Without it, your peaches would likely turn mushy. The good thing is that most of the sugar stays in the syrup, and you can discard it if preferred.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Jeannie, Two things come to mind. First, did you leave the recommended 1/2-inch head space (room at the top of the jar)? That is important. Also, read the section about method of packing. If you used the raw pack method it may simply be what’s known as “siphoning.” I can’t imagine any reason that the contents would actually explode. My guess is it’s seepage related to these two things and the peaches are likely fine. If this doesn’t fully answer your questions, let me know!

      Reply
  12. T.S. Post author

    I wanted to let you know that my husband and I found you yesterday while looking for a Peach Canning Recipe. We made your syrup and canned our “Small Batch” of Peaches. Yes, he doesn’t want to through out the syrup. I will be making us some tea and the oatmeal recipe looks yummy.

    It was delightful reading your articles; they are well written.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I am thrilled you found my site and had success with the peaches. And I agree with your husband — the syrup is too good to throw away! (The oatmeal is an old favorite here, too.)

      Reply