This year I went a little crazy at the end of summer. I don’t really think it was my fault. Honestly, I blame the fruit. It calls to me. I feel strong urges to hoard it for winter in any way I can think of. This year my worst offense in fruit hoarding was peaches. I bought a bushel . . .
Do you know a bushel is 50 pounds?!? This is the time to mention my husband does not like peaches. So I bought myself 50 pounds of peaches. Yep, might need to get some help with my problem. Oh well.
I made 14 quarts of sliced peaches, and 14 quarts of my grandmother’s amazing spiced peaches with the bulk of my treasure. After that, my remaining (and most beat up) peaches went into 10 pints of jam. It took me about 8 hours to put up the entire bushel. I did most of it but Jonathan helped here and there. Have I mentioned I love that man? My peach extravaganza went really well and I do not feel the least bit penitent. I wonder if I could do two bushels next summer?
This recipe is for raw packed slices in light syrup. I think doing a raw pack preserves more of the fresh summer flavor I’m trying to protect. I like slices because you can fit the most into one jar. Heavy syrup is delicious but I pack in light syrup because it contains less sugar. You don’t need more than light syrup to protect the fruit. However, if you are feeling decadent I will include instructions for medium and heavy syrup in the recipe. If you have questions about canning or equipment, check out my general canning post. I am also more than happy to answer your questions. Leave a comment and I will get back to you.
Note on Green Peaches: Sometimes when you order a bushel of 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.
- 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
- 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 very quickly 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 ½" 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
- Remove the jars of peaches to a towel. Allow them to come to room temperature. The lids will seal at this time. Any lids that do not seal need to be processed again or refrigerated and eaten within a week. Sealed jars can be labeled and stored on a shelf out of direct light for years.
Another great peach canning option is to make spiced peaches. My grandmother’s recipe is a rare old fashioned treat that should not be missed by any peach lover.