I have had more peaches on my homestead than I know what to do with this year. We have a small grove, and it has exploded this summer.
I do all sorts of fun things with peaches, but one of the must-haves on those storage shelves for winter is canned peaches. They're simple. When you open a jar of canned peaches in the dark days of winter, you open a little piece of summer.
Canning peaches is so easy. I use the cold-pack method, which is the easiest of all. Cold packing involves peeling, removing pits, and shoving the peaches in jars. That's pretty much it. I also happen to not care if my peaches look pretty in the jars, which makes this easy process even easier.
Here's the overview to canning peaches:
• Remove peels and pits
• Cram in jars
• Cover with syrup
• Adjust lids & process in hot water bath
The nice thing about canning peaches is that you can can 10 or 50 or 200 peaches. The process is the same and it's not any harder if you happen to have 5 bushels full. You'll just need more syrup.
Let's can some peaches!
First, make the syrup.
For light syrup (what I use) combine 2-1/4 cups sugar to 5-1/4 cups water. Heat on stove top until sugar is dissolved.
Keep syrup warm. You will want it hot when you ladle it over the peaches.
You could spend half of your day peeling peaches, or you could go grab some kids to blanch them for you. :)
Can Peaches Step 1 - Remove Peels & Pits
The process is pretty simple. Drop 8 peaches at a time into boiling water. Let them simmer for a minute or two. Immediately, move them into ice water and then slip off the skins. If my kids can do it, I'm pretty sure you can, too.
If your peaches are not super ripe, do not even attempt to blanch them. It will be a worthless cause. It will be faster to just peel them (or wait a couple days until they are soft and ripe).
Once they're naked, just cut them in half and remove the pit.
Can Peaches Step 2 - Pack into Jars
Then stuff them into the jars. You would not believe how many peaches can be crammed into a quart jar. Lots of peaches. Keep cramming them in there. The more peaches you manage to get into the jar, the less syrup you will use.
Can Peaches Step 3 - Ladle Hot Syrup Over Peaches
When you can't get another peach into the jar, ladle the hot syrup over them and leave 1/2-inch head space. Be sure to remove air bubbles by sliding a knife down all the sides & center.
The 1/2-inch of headspace allows some space for the suction that holds those lids on tight and keeps everything fresh.
For step by step introduction to water bath canning go here.
Can Peaches Step 4 - Adjust Lids & Process in Hot Water Bath
Wipe the rims, adjust the lids, and process quarts in a hot water bath — pints for 25 minutes, quarts for 30 minutes.
You now have a slice of summer to eat all winter long!