Recipe/Tutorial: Canned Peaches

Edit: This recipe has been updated to include a variation using honey in place of white sugar.

I just finished doing a little canning, and it was so quick and easy that I felt like I just had to share with you how to take advantage of the tail end of fresh peach season. That's right--today's easy-peasy things you should always do at home lesson is how to make canned peaches.

The only special tools you absolutely need for this are canning jars and a pot that will fit them plus enough water to cover them by at LEAST half an inch. I used 1/2 pint jelly jars from Wal-Mart ($8/dozen) and a soup pot.

You can scale this recipe up or down as needed. I had four big peaches, so the whole process only took me maybe an hour and a half, and didn't make a mess of my kitchen at all. I got two pints of canned peaches in syrup, divided into four jars. Just enough for two people to split for dessert on a cold winter's night.

This recipe is adapted from Canning For a New Generation's Peaches in Vanilla Syrup recipe (page 108). I made some changes in proportions and removed the vanilla.

Canned Peaches (makes 2 pints)

  • 4 large peaches
  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar, diluted to 5% acidity (if you can't find raw vinegar, pasteurized works equally well)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 large peaches
  • 1 Tbsp 5% vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 3/4 cups water

You will also need, as mentioned above, some canning jars with fresh lids (Never re-use lids on ball/mason type canning jars, as the rubber does not make a reliable seal more than once and food could spoil), one small pot or saucepan, a pot large enough to process jars in, a bowl full of ice water, and a ladle.

Thoroughly wash jars, lids, bowls, pots, and any utensils you plan to use while canning. Keeping a clean, sanitary work space is incredibly important when preserving food.

To peel the peaches, fill your larger pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp vinegar to the bowl of ice water and stir.

When the water is boiling, carefully place your peaches into the water. I slide them in two at a time, using a large slotted spoon. Boil the peaches for 45-60 seconds each and then immediately transfer them to the bowl of vinegared ice water. This process will not cook the peaches, but it should shock the skins enough that you can just sort of slide/rub the skin off with your fingers or some cheesecloth.  Repeat until all of your peaches have been shocked.

Add jars to boiling water to sterilize. Turn down to a simmer and cover to minimize the clouds of steam in your kitchen. Put jar lids in a heat-proof bowl and cover with hot water from the pot or kettle. Set aside.

(At this point, if you are like me and don't have air conditioning, you may want to consider adding the optional step of running to another room of your house in search of a fan and setting it up in your kitchen to blow directly on your face.)

In a smaller pot or saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil to make syrup.

Slice the peaches in half and remove the stones (if you have cling peaches that refuse to let their stone go, try using a spoon to cut into the peach and scoop it away). Cut into slices or small chunks and return each peach to the vinegar water as you finish cutting it.

Remove jars from hot water, draining carefully. I like to use non-slip canning tongs for this but if you have one of those grabby silicone oven mitts that protect your hand no matter what molten craziness you subject it to, I bet it would work like a dream, too.

With a slotted spoon, transfer peaches into jars, allowing the vinegar water to drain back into the bowl. Pack the peaches into the jar, leaving about an inch of room between the peaches and the jar rim. This, if you haven't canned before, is known as "headspace."

Carefully ladle the syrup from the small pot into the jars over the peaches, leaving 1/4" headspace. Poke a chopstick or skewer down into the jars to help any air bubbles escape and to help the syrup work its way through to the bottom. With a damp cloth, wipe the jar rims clean of any spilled syrup.

Remove the jar lids from the bowl of hot water and put them on the jars, lining them up evenly so they can form a good seal. Screw a ring down onto the jar, but not too tight. You should be able to unscrew it using just one finger.

Make sure that that the water in your large pot is still boiling. Fill the pot with as many jars as it will hold without crowding (I was able to process all four of my 1/2 pint jars in one soup pot with plenty of room to spare), and boil the jars for 20 minutes to process them.

After 20 minutes, carefully remove the jars from the pot of boiling water and set them on a folded dishcloth on the counter. It's good to do this in an out-of-the-way spot, because the seal forms best if you leave the jars untouched for 24 hours.

After 1 hour, check the seals on the jars. When you push down with your finger, you should NOT be able to "pop" the lid up and/or down. This means that the jar did not form a vacuum and seal. Put any unsealed jars in the fridge immediately and eat the contents within a week or so.

Canned peaches keep for a year to a year and a half. I keep mine in a cool, dark place to ensure the longest shelf life and minimal sun damage.

Addendum: Did you notice that I didn't tell you to throw away the vinegar-peach water? That's because throwing it away would be a tragic waste! I'm not kidding. Raw vinegar is incredibly refreshing when diluted in water, and the peach bits that inevitably end up floating around in there add just enough extra flavor to make this a really pleasant pick-me-up after standing in all those clouds of steam!

Vinegar-Peach Drink (better than it sounds)
  • Leftover vinegar water from canning peaches
  • Any scraps of peach flesh left over from canning peaches
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey if desired
  • Plenty of ice
If you have any peach bits left over from canning, add them to (or leave them in) your bowl of vinegar water. Pour into a glass, sweeten to taste, and add a bunch of ice. This is a mildly flavored, slightly tangy drink. I know you think drinking vinegar water is crazy, but if you used raw vinegar, you will thank me for sharing this little post-canning recipe with you!

This post is linked at the Homestead Revival Barn Hop


  1. Beth....I really want to try this! If only I had read this before we holed ourselves in for Hurricane Irene!

  2. Tina, I recommend you go for it as soon as you get a chance! It is a great starter recipe if you've never canned before. Easy and worry-free.



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