White peaches are one of my favorite things to preserve. They look absolutely beautiful in almost anything. I mean check this out….
They are also delicious, and versatile. Every year from white peaches I can them, jam them, dry them, freeze them, and make syrup out of them. And we also eat about 5 fresh ones a day while they are in season. They are pretty much the best.
So I know you want to know how to do all 5 of those things, but today let’s learn how to can white peaches.
- Gather your supplies. You will need: A water bath canner, 7 quart jars with flats and bands, 1 small saucepan, a jar grabber, 1 large box of white peaches, 1 3/4 cup white sugar, 1 Tablespoon vinegar, water, your favorite knife, and a dish towel.
- Prepare your jars. Wash jars well. The Ball Blue Book guide to preserving recommends you heat the jars in water or in a dishwasher before filling them to help prevent jars breaking. Sometimes I do this, but usually I don’t because with four kids needing my attention, I take so many breaks during the process that the jars wouldn’t stay warm that long anyways. I hardly ever have a jar break, so I don’t worry about it too much.
- Make your syrup. I make my syrup directly in the jars. It saves time and a huge mess. Fill a jar with about 1 inch of hot water, add 1/4 cup of sugar, and stir it until dissolved. Voila! No giant mess of sticky syrup to pour in each jar. I do all 7 jars at once.
- Fill your jars with peaches. Many people blanch their peaches to make the skins come off easier. Yes, blanching helps the skin come off, but it also changes the color and appearance of the peach. The very outside layer of the peach is being cooked, so after you peel the skin off, the colors are not as vibrant as they were before. Because of this, I do not blanch my white peaches. It takes slightly longer to peel the peaches, but it also cuts out the step of blanching them and it keeps the peaches looking a million times better. It’s totally personal preference, but that’s what I do. So to fill my jars with peaches I peel each one, cut it in half, remove the pit, and then slice it into the jars. You can leave them in halves if you prefer. I find it’s easier to slice them now, rather then cutting them up for my kids later. Fill each jar leaving 1″ of headspace. Then add hot water so the peaches are just covered.
- Prepare your canner and lids. Usually I do this step sometime in the middle of step 4 because I take so many breaks to help the kiddos. Fill your canner a little over half full with water, plus 2 tablespoons vinegar, and set it on your stove. I fill mine with hot tap water, but I don’t turn the stove on until I have my jars in. The vinegar makes your jars come out clean and sparkly. If you don’t add vinegar, your jars have a yucky film on them that is hard to get off. I forget almost half the time, it’s super annoying. To prepare your lids, simply put 7 flats in a small saucepan. Cover them with water and bring it to a boil. This will warm and soften up the seal.
- Close everything up and start cooking. Wipe the rims of your jars with a washrag so they don’t have anything getting in the way of the seal. Take a flat out of the boiling water with a fork, set it on your jar, and top it of with your lid. Don’t feel like you need to tighten the lid as hard as you can, just finger tight is plenty. Continue with all 7 jars and place them in your water bath canner. Carefully lower the rack down into the water. Make sure the water is at least 1/2 inch over the jars, they need to stay under the water the entire time. Turn that sucker on and sit down for a break!
- Process for 30 mins. Once it starts boiling, and that is going to take awhile, set your timer for 30 minutes. It needs to remain boiling the entire time. When the 30 minutes is up, lift the rack up so it sits on the sides of the canner. Take the jars out with the jar grabber, and set them carefully on a towel out of the way. They will need to sit there, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours. So don’t put them anywhere that is going to be in the way. After a few minutes you will start hearing the comforting “pop” of the jars sealing.
- Admire your work. I always love to see a counter full of fresh canned produce! After they have sat for 12-24 hours and COMPLETELY cooled off, you can wash them off with warm water if they are sticky. Check to make sure they each sealed by gently pushing down on the center of the lid. If it pops up and down then it didn’t seal. Just put it in your fridge, no big deal, and eat the contents of that jar in the next few days. As for all the ones that did seal, find a good place to line them up all pretty like. It’s a good rule to keep your food storage out of the sun and somewhere that doesn’t get hot.
You can certainly enjoy your canned white peaches straight out of the jar, but my two favorite uses are not exactly normal. My absolute favorite thing to do with bottled peaches is cut them up while they are still in the jar and dump the entire thing into “just add water pancake mix” in place of the water. They make excellent peach pancakes that you can top off with peach jam and cool whip, and there you have my favorite breakfast. The second way I use them is to cut them up in the jar again, and dump them straight into my oatmeal. It makes a usually boring breakfast, into a sweet surprise. Try it, you will love it!
You might also want to check out my post on How to can incredible raspberries.