Canned Peach Halves in Light Syrup
Late July into August, we start to see BC Peaches at the Farmers Markets and Fruit Stands here in Alberta. Our climate isn't warm enough to grow peaches right here in our province but our neighbouring province of British Columbia is perfect for orchard fruits!
Fresh peaches taste amazing! But the peaches have a narrow window for ripeness so we always try to make a number of jars of canned peaches to save for winter eating. Those sunny peaches are such a welcomed treat on snowy winter days on the farm.
You can try peach cobbler made with canned peaches as well on the Lazuli Farms blog. This cobbler is made in a cast iron pan and is oh so tasty!
This canned peach recipe is made with "light syrup" but don't let that fool you - peaches are pretty sweet on their own and this syrup ends up tasting pretty sweet to the palate.
Canned Peach Halves in Light Syrup Recipe
- peaches (approximately 2-3 pounds per 1 litre jar) - 20 lb crate will make approximately 7 to 10 jars of peaches
- syrup: 11 cups water + 2 1/2 cups white sugar to make approximately 12 cups syrup (you will need approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups syrup per 1 litre jar)
- jars, canning lids & rings (1 litre size is perfect for peaches)
- water bath canner
- canning funnel
1 - Pit Peaches
Start by halving your peaches to remove the peach pit. Run a sharp knife through the centre of the peach right to the pit, then rotate the peach/knife to cut the peach in half all the way around. Now grip each halve of the peach in one hand and twist slightly to pull the two halves apart. The peach pit will stick to one side of the peach. You may be able to easily pull the pit out with your hands. If not, use a sharp knife to carefully remove the pit from the flesh of the peach halve.
Place each pitted peach halve into a large bowl filled with water & lemon juice to prevent browning while you work (mix 4 cups of water with 1/4 cup of lemon juice - double if needed).
2 - Peel Peaches
In a large stainless steel pot, bring water to a boil, then turn heat down to medium to simmer. You'll use the boiling water to blanch the peaches to make them easy to peel.
Fill a clean kitchen sink or large bowl with cold, almost icy water. You'll use this water to cool the peaches after blanching them.
Add peaches to the boiling water in small batches. Blanch for 30 seconds. Remove the peach halves from the water using a slotted spoon and immediately place them into the icy cold water.
Now the skin will easily peel off the peaches. Discard the skins (or set aside to freeze for using to make peach flavoured brandy or vodka).
Set the peach halves into a large bowl filled with a water & lemon juice mixture (4 cups water to 1/4 cup lemon juice) to prevent browning while you prepare your canning jars.
3 - Prepare Water Bath and Jars
If using previously used jars, wash them in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place the jars into your water bath canner on top of the rack and add water. Turn on to high heat to bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. This will both sterilize and heat the jars so that the hot syrup will not "shock" and crack the jars.
Use rings that are free of rust and blemishes. Wash & rinse rings and brand new canning lids (never re-use canning lids as they will not reseal well enough).
Place the required amount of rings and lids into a small saucepan. Add water to cover and heat over medium heat. You want your lids to be hot but not boiling. This will allow the rubbery seals on the lids to be pliable when putting the lids on your jars.
4 - Prepare your Syrup
In a large saucepan, add water (11 cups) and white sugar (2 1/2 cups). Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is hot throughout. Keep syrup hot until ready to use and do not let the syrup boil down.
5 - Prepare your Canning Zone
Place hot pad for syrup on a clean surface.
Place a clean tea towel next to the hot pad - you will use this to place hot jars on to fill with peaches and syrup.
Place bowl of peaches next to the clean tea towel.
Place canning funnel at the top of the tea towel.
Wet a clean dish cloth or paper towel with warm water and ring out. You will use this to wipe the rim of the jars before placing the lid on the jar.
Have tongs ready to lift the lids & rings out of the hot water on the stove.
Have a clean ladle ready to use to scoop syrup into the jars.
Grab your canning jar lifter ready to remove jars from the water bath.
6 - Fill your Peaches
Place the hot syrup saucepan on the hot pad.
Pull a hot jar from the water bath and place upright on the tea towel.
Fill the jar with peach halves, placing the pit side of the peaches down. Overlap the peaches to fill the jar as efficiently as possible (less air space).
Place the canning funnel over the jar and fill the jar with hot syrup up to about 3/4 inch from the top (around the bottom line of the rings on the jar).
Wipe the rim of the jars with your damp dishcloth or paper towel to remove any syrup around the rim.
Centre your lid on the jar and screw on the ring to fingertip tight (not too tight).
Set jar aside and fill remaining jars.
7 - Water Bath Processing
Place filled jars back into the water bath canner and make sure the water is high enough to cover the jars. Place lid on water bath canner and heat to a boil.
Once boiling, let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand until water stops bubbling. Remove jars one at a time and place upright onto a clean tea towel to cool for 24 hours. You will start to hear the lids popping and they will continue to seal over the 24 hours period.
Check all the seals. Lids should curve downward if sealed. If any lids did not seal, you may place them in the water bath canner for an additional 10 minutes of processing time. If the lid does not seal after the second processing, place the jar in the fridge and eat within 7 to 10 days. Do not process in the hot water bath a third time.
8 - Labelling and Storage
Label your jars with the contents & the date of preparation. An easy way to label canning is on the lid since you won't use the lids again. Use permanent marker.
All sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place. Use within 1 year for best quality.
Note that peaches will taste best if left for at least 2 to 4 weeks before eating. This allow the syrup to integrate into the fruit.