Cooking Tips & TricksSides

Simple Cold-Pack Method for Canning Peaches

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For years I told myself that canning peaches was too hard and added too much sugar to an already sweet fruit, so I never tried to do it. Well, I swallowed my pride and gave it another whirl this Fall, and I am so glad. I (of course) found a way to use even less sugar than the lightest version of syrup called for in my “Ball” Canning book, and the peaches have so much more flavor than the ones I froze.

Now that I have these pretty jars of peaches carefully stacked on my storage shelves, no one is allowed to touch them for at least a month, so I can continue to marvel in my susie-homaker-ness…. bah! To be totally transparent though, you are going to need about a 2 hour chunk of time to get these jars canned from start to finish. I chose to can my peaches after my kids went to bed for two different nights and I got 14 quarts of peaches done without interruptions. I put on a podcast and had a pretty good time with it. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: Pick or purchase ripe peaches

Obviously, the peaches are the most important supply. Pick them at their peak ripeness where they easily come off the tree when gently pulled. If you are purchasing them in the market, the peaches should be soft but not mushy when gently pressed with your thumb. Another way to make sure they are ripe is to smell them. If they have no smell, they aren’t ready yet. You will need about 20 pounds of peaches to make 7 Quart Jars.

Step 2: Sanitize Jars

I did this step earlier in the day so the jars were ready for me to fill in the evening. Just run your jars through a cycle on the dishwasher.

Step 3: Gather all the supplies

I use the following supplies for 1 batch of canned peaches which makes 7 quart jars. (I included my affiliate links from Amazon.)

Aluminum Steam Canner

Mason Jars with Lids and Bands

Cuisinart Stainless Stock/Strainer Pot

Small Saucepan for simmering lids

Large Saucepan for making Syrup

Step 4: Simmer the canning lids

Add about 2 cups hot water to the small saucepan. Set it on the stove top at a low simmer. Carefully place lids on the bottom of the pot, rubber side up, making sure not to touch the rubber. The oils on your fingers can prevent the lids from sealing. Cover with a lid and continue to gently simmer until ready to use.

Step 5: Make Syrup

Pour 5 1/2 Cups hot water into the large saucepan. Add 1 cup sugar and stir over low heat until dissolved. Leave the syrup hot at simmering heat until you are ready to fill the jars. This makes just enough syrup for 7 quarts of peaches.

Step 6: Blanch, Peel, and Slice Peaches

Fill the stock/strainer pot two-thirds full with water, cover with a lid, and begin to boil. Carefully place enough peaches in the boiling water so they are completely immersed in water. Blanch for about 90 seconds. Pull only the strainer out, draining the water from the peaches. Leave the stock pot boiling with water for the next round.

After the peaches have had a second to cool, grab a paring knife and slice the peach in half, pull out the pit, and the peel should almost slide right off the peach. If not, use your knife to cut the peel off and increase the blanching time for the next round of peaches. You can leave your peaches in halves or slice them into quarters, but don’t cut them too small or they will turn to mush when they are processed.

Step 7: Treat and Pack Peaches into Quart Jars

Now it is time to get the steam canner ready. Fill the steam canner with water just below the inside rack and begin to boil.

Add 1 teaspoon to the bottom of each quart jar. Pack the peaches in the jars as close together as possible, preferably with the pit side down.

Using a clean, damp cloth to wipe the mouth of the jar dry. Use salad tongs to carefully remove a lid from the simmering water. Gently shake excess water away and place the lid on the rim of the jar with the rubber side touching the rim. Screw the ring over the lid. Do not over tighten.

Step 6: Process with Steam Canner

Place the filled jars in the center of the steam canner rack. Cover with the lid. Steam will begin to flow out of the center hole of the canning lid. When the steam column is about 8 inches long, start the timer for 45 minutes. Depending on your canner, you may have a temperature gauge for this step. Refer to user manual for specifics.

Step 7: SLOWLY Cool Jars

After steaming is finished, turn off the heat. Wait 5 minutes before carefully propping the lid open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Leave the spoon and let the steam release for at least 30 minutes before removing the jars. Press on the lids of each jar. If they can be depressed with a clicking sound, turn the jar upside down and let it sit on your counter over night to finish sealing. If the lid does not click, it means you have successfully sealed the lid, and you are done! Let the jars cool on a dry towel for 24 hours brfore wiping clean and storing in your pantry.

Ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom!

Now here’s the “Reader’s Digest” version of how to can peaches:

Canned Peaches

Simple Method for Raw Pack Canned Peaches
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 14 quarts
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 20 pounds Fresh Peaches
  • 5 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 7 teaspoons Lemon Juice

Instructions

  • Pick or purchase 20 pounds of ripe peaches which are soft but not mushy when gently pressed with your thumb.
  • Sanitize 7 quart jars by running your jars through a cycle on the dishwasher, and gather all supplies and ingredients.
  • Simmer the canning lids by adding about 2 cups hot water to the small saucepan. Set it on the stove top at a low simmer. Carefully place lids on the bottom of the pot, rubber side up, making sure not to touch the rubber.
  • Make syrup by combining 5 1/2 Cups hot water with 1 cup sugar in a large sauce pan. Stir over low heat until dissolved and leave the syrup simmering until you are ready to fill the jars.
  • Blanch, peel, and slice peaches by boiling them for 90 seconds and quickly removing from the water. The peels will easily slip off as you cut them in half and pull out the pits.
  • Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to each jar. Pack the peaches into quart jars as tightly as possible, removing air bubbles with the handle of a wooden spoon depressed along the inside of the jar.
  • Fill the steam canner with water just below the inside rack and begin to boil.
  • Meanwhile, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the mouth of each jar dry. Use salad tongs to carefully remove a lid from the simmering water. Gently shake excess water away and place the lid on the rim of the jar with the rubber side touching the rim. Screw the ring over the lid. Do not over tighten.
  • Place the filled jars in the center of the steam canner rack. Cover with the lid. Steam will begin to flow out of the center hole of the canning lid. When the steam column is about 8 inches long, start the timer for 30 minutes.
  • After steaming is finished, turn off the heat. Wait 5 minutes before carefully propping the lid open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Leave the spoon and let the steam release for at least 30 minutes before removing the jars. If jar lids can be depressed with a clicking sound, turn the jar upside down and let it sit on your counter over night to finish sealing. If the lid does not click, it means you have successfully sealed the lid, and you are done! Let the jars cool on a dry towel for 24 hours before wiping clean and storing in your pantry.

Featured Products

(Includes Affiliate Links)

Aluminum Steam Canner

Cuisinart Stainless Stock/Strainer Set

Mason Jars with Lids and Bands

Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Saucepan

Cuisinart 3 Quart Saucepan

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