Peaches, a word synonymous with sweetness, fairness and excellence, are a versatile fruit that has captivated many with its juicy, delicious taste. With their unique shape, soft skin and succulent aroma, peaches have prevailed as one of the most favored fruits and even represent the entire state of Georgia as the official state fruit. When it comes to preserving peaches, many people ask the important question: which peaches are the best for canning and what are some tips for canning peaches. The answer isn’t simple, considering there are more than 200 varieties of peaches. And while certain peaches may be more ideal for canning, the canning process is very similar across the board.
Choosing Peaches to Can
First, you have to make sure that you are using only fully ripe peaches. If they aren’t quite ripe, place them on the counter and they will ripen in a couple days. Once they are fully ripe, you are ready to can them. Some of the best peaches for canning are: Harmony, Loring and Madison. They are all free stone peaches which are a must for canning. Harmony peaches are probably the best due to their rosy glow and ability to hold up beautifully in a can.
Before you do anything, examine each canning jar for nicks or cracks. Then, wash the jars, lids and rings in the dishwasher and leave in a warm pan of water until you are ready to use them. Next you will need to sort, wash and drain the peaches in a colander. Afterward, place them into a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute to loosen the skin. After blanching, place them into an ice water bath to keep them from cooking. Next, you will need to peel, cut in half and pit the peaches. You may need to put fruit fresh or lemon juice on the peaches to keep them from browning or just work fast.
The next big step is the syrup. You will need to quickly prepare the syrup mixture, but be careful not boil it. There are three different types of syrup, so make sure you follow directions for the kind you are making. Regardless, you must cook until all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Light: 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water or juice.
- Medium: 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water or juice.
- Heavy: 4-3/4 cups sugar to 1 quart water or juice.
Once the syrup is completed, it is time to fill and close the jars. First, you will need to rinse any solution that is on the peaches to keep them from browning. Place the peaches in the canning jar with about ½ inch of head space. Cover the peaches with the syrup mixture you made and remove any air bubbles.
Hurray! The hard part is over. Now you simply wipe the jars with a clean, damp cloth and place vacuum-seal canning lids and rings on securely. Place your jars into the canner (a huge pot of hot water that sanitizes the jars) for about 25 minutes for pints and 30 minutes for quarts. Then, you simply remove the jars, cool them, and store them. The end result is amazing peaches that you can enjoy for months to come.