Here’s how to preserve fresh summer peaches in a light vanilla bean syrup so that you can enjoy them year round!
Canned peaches were a staple in my house growing up and I have fond memories of my mother putting up the peaches every fall. As I’m a little nuts right now about canning, I excitedly decided to preserve my own peaches this year for the first time.
Looking back, I remember the canning process consuming the kitchen and I translated that into an assumption that it must be difficult. Messy and tedious? Yes. Difficult? Not at all! And the reward is seasonal fruit that can be enjoyed all year long, well worth the small price in my opinion.
In this post I’m going to walk you through the steps and prove to you just how easy and doable it is. If you’ve got access to fresh peaches and a large pot, you’re halfway there.
You start with fresh, ripe peaches. You don’t want them to be rock hard, and you also don’t want them overripe and mushy. They should be ripe, but firm.
Use a small knife to carve an X into the bottom of the peaches. This will help you peel them later.
Dip (or “blanch”) the peaches, working with a few at a time, into a large pot of boiling water. Count to 30 and remove them promptly. This cooks the peels and very outer layer of flesh, which helps the peels to slip right off.
Dunk (or “shock”) them in a large bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process. Repeat the “blanch” and “shock” steps with all of the peaches.
Take each peach individually and use your finger to rub at one corner created by the X. The peels should come off easily, but a small knife may be necessary for any stubborn peels.
Place the peeled peaches in a bowl filled an anti-browning solution of water and lemon juice.
Next, you’ll need to slice the peaches and remove pits. You may also want to scrape out the inner red flesh as it will brown over time and become unsightly. Keep the peaches in the anti-browning solution whenever you’re not working with them.
To make the syrup that the peaches will be preserved with, combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. I added a vanilla bean for added flavor, but that’s completely optional.
Remove the peaches from the anti-browning solution and place them in the syrup. Bring it all to a boil. Then, ladle and pack the peach slices into sterilized pint jars and cover with the syrup.
Place lids and rings on each jar and process in a water bath for 20 minutes. Let cool and test seals before storing in a cool, dry place.
Have you canned peaches or other whole fruit? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments, as well as any ideas for serving them!
Homemade Canned Peaches
- 4 lbs (1.8 kg) peaches
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
- 1 quart (950 ml) water
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise (optional)
- With a paring knife, slice a shallow "x" into the bottom of each peach. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop a few peaches into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches from the water and immediately place them in the ice water. Repeat with the remaining peaches.
- Fill another large bowl with water and add the lemon juice.
- Starting with the corners of the "x" on the bottom of the peaches, use your fingers to peel the skin off. Place the peeled peaches in the lemon water to prevent them from browning.
- Slice the peaches and discard the pits. If desired, scrape the red flesh from the cavities (as it browns over time). Return the peaches to the lemon water while you prepare the syrup.
- In a large saucepan, combine the quart of water and 2 cups of sugar over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the vanilla bean, if using. Add the sliced peaches and bring to a boil.
- Place the sliced peaches in sterilized jars, packing them fairly tightly. Pour the hot syrup over the peaches into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Discard vanilla bean. Cover with lids and process for 20 minutes.
- Let cool completely. Then store in a cool dry place and consume within a year.