When canning spiced peaches in light syrup, start by peeling, cutting, and pitting ripe peaches. Make a spiced sugar syrup and boil the peaches in the syrup before transferring them into canning jars. Process in a water bath canner for 25 - 40 minutes.
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Should You Water Bath Can Spiced Peaches?
According to the USDA, yellow-flesh peaches have a pH range of 3.30-4.05, making them suitable for water bath canning. It is recommended that both plain and spiced yellow-flesh peaches should be processed in a boiling water bath canner. Water bath canning produces peaches with a better flavor, texture, and brighter color.
Canned spiced peaches capture the joy of summer flavors using fruit from your garden or the grocery store. This tried-and-true traditional recipe will help you get it right, even if it’s your first time canning!
9 Ibs peaches, yellow-flesh varieties
1½ cup white sugar
8 cups water (5¾ cups water for the syrup)
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mace
Select the best fresh ripe peaches with yellow flesh. White flesh peaches aren’t acidic enough.
Inspect 8-pint jars or 4-quart jars and their canning lids and rings for cracks or dents. Wash them using soap and warm water. Rinse them in warm water.
Place a canning rack into your water bath canner and add fresh water to fill the canner halfway. Add a canning rack to the bottom of the canner.
Place the canning jars into the canner and apply medium to high heat to bring the canner to a 180°F simmer. Keep the jars in the canner until it’s time to fill them.
As the canner heats, get your peaches ready. Rinse them in cool water. Use a sharp knife to make a shallow “X” on the bottom of each peach.
Boil several cups of fresh water in a large pot. Blanch the peaches by dipping them into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds to loosen the skins. Use a slotted spoon to draw the peaches from the boiling water and immediately dip them in a prepared ice water bath.
Use a sharp knife to remove the loose skins from the peaches. Cut each peach into halves or slices and remove the pits.
To prevent the peaches from darkening, dip them for 3-5 minutes in a pre-treatment solution of lemon juice or ascorbic acid. To make the solution, mix ¼ cup lemon juice with 6 cups water or 1 teaspoon of powdered ascorbic acid with 1 gallon of cold water.
Make the light syrup by combining the white sugar, water, and spices in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring frequently until all the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat. Avoid using brown sugar as this can cause discoloration.
Drain the peach slices or halves and add them to the hot syrup. Bring them back to a steady boil to cook the peaches through.
Take out one hot jar at a time from the canner, dry it completely, and fill it with the hot peaches and syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace. If you have peach halves, place them in the jars in layers, cut side down.
Run a wooden spatula between the slices and the inner walls of the jars to remove air bubbles.
Wipe rims with paper towels dipped in warm water or apple cider vinegar. Cover the filled jars with new canning lids. Adjust clean ring bands on the jars until fingertip tight.
Place the jars back in the canner. Ensure the canner is at a simmer when loading the filled jars. The water should cover the jar tops by 1 or 2 inches. Have some hot water ready for refilling the canner if needed.
Raise the heat to high and bring the water inside the canner to a rolling boil. Close the lid and process pints for 20 – 35 minutes and quarts for 25 – 40 minutes, depending on elevation:
Water Bath Canning Processing Per Elevation
0 – 1,000ft: 20 minutes for pints; 25 minutes for quarts
1,001 – 3,000ft: 25 minutes for pints; 30 minutes for quarts
3,001 – 6,000ft: 30 minutes for pints, 35 minutes for quarts
Above 6,000ft: 35 minutes for pints; 40 minutes for quarts
Take the canner off the heat and open its lid to let off steam. Wait 5 minutes before removing the jars, one by one, using a jar lifter.
Place the jars on a counter lined with warm kitchen towels. Ensure at least 2 inches of space between the jars.
Let the jars cool naturally and undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Avoid re-tightening the lids.
Unscrew the ring bands to check the seal quality. The seals shouldn’t flex if you press them down. If any jars are unsealed, refrigerate them and eat the peaches in a week.
Wash the sealed jars with cool water. Dry them and label them with the canning date and contents. Place the jars in a cool, dry, dark place for up to a year.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Canning Time:20 minutes
Serving Size:1 pint
Do You Need to Add Lemon Juice When Canning Peaches?
Adding lemon juice when canning peaches is optional. Some white-flesh peaches with a pH above 4.6 require acidification with lemon juice or vinegar, but the NCHFP says it doesn’t have a tested acidification process for safely canning such peaches in a water bath canner.
If you choose to add lemon juice, it will help acidify the peaches while giving them a characteristic citrus flavor. It’s best to use bottled lemon juice because it has standardized acidity.
How to Add Honey and Cinnamon to Peaches
If you prefer to make honey syrup, omit the table sugar in the syrup altogether and use mild, light-colored honey mixed with water instead. Cook the peaches in honey syrup and place 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks in each jar before filling it with the hot fruit mixture.
Do not add honey to a sugar syrup recipe. If you can peaches in light sugar syrup, honey is unnecessary since honey doesn’t make the canning process safer. Sugar syrup remains the gold standard because it helps retain the shape, color, and flavor of fresh peaches when canned.
Can You Can Peaches Using Pectin?
No – you don’t need commercial pectin to can halved or sliced peaches because you don’t need them to set. A stabilizer and thickener that occurs naturally in fruits, pectin helps preserves, jams, and jellies set. You would use pectin in canning peach jam, salsa, or jelly.
What is the Difference Between Heavy Syrup and Light Syrup?
Fresh peaches can be canned in either light or heavy syrup. The type of syrup boils down to preference. Using less or more sugar to can peaches doesn’t affect canning safety because peaches are naturally sweet fruits.
However, light syrup is preferred as it doesn’t leach any sugars from the fruits or make them sweeter. Heavy syrup has more calories, and too much sugar may overpower the flavor of the fruit.
The general formula for making light syrup is a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar. As this may not always produce the best results in canning recipes, the NCHFP recommends the following syrup ratios:
Light Syrup (20%)
5¾ cups water to 1½ cups sugar
9 cups water to 2¼ cups sugar
Heavy Syrup (40%)
5 cups water to 3¼ cups sugar
7¾ cups water to 5¼ cups sugar
What is the Difference Between Canning Spiced Peaches and Nectarines?
However, nectarines don’t have to be peeled because they have smooth skin as they belong to the rose family of peaches. The skins of both fruits are edible, but peaches are peeled because they have a fuzzy and thick skin that may lead to an undesirable texture or flavor for some people.
How to Store Canned Spiced Peaches
Store canned spiced peaches in a cool, dry, dark place away from direct sunlight. Keep the peaches at 50°F-70°F with minimal temperature fluctuations and good airflow. Store peaches off of the ground to prevent corrosion of metal lids.
The Shelf Life of Canned Spiced Peaches
Properly canned and stored peaches can last many years, but the optimal shelf life for the best flavor, color, and nutritional value is 12-18 months. Once opened, refrigerate the peaches and eat them within two weeks.
Alex has a farming background and cherishes growing, eating, and preserving his own food. He writes to share his homesteading experience with gardening and food preservation enthusiasts keen on canning and dehydration. When he is not writing, you'll find him tending to his vegetables and fruits or trying new recipes.
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