To avoid bacteria messing with the preservation process, the first step is to thoroughly sterilize everything; the jars, lids, utensils, and tongs you’ll use when canning peaches.
Boil any heatproof elements in a large pot of water for 10 minutes, ensuring all items are submerged. Then leave them to dry thoroughly on a sterilized surface.Alternatively, preheat the oven to 325ºF/160ºC. Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinsing them well. Then place them, with no rubber, plastic, or otherwise non-heatproof elements, onto a clean oven tray and heat for 10-15 minutes until completely dry.
Peel the Peaches
Rinse the peaches, and then use a small paring knife to cut an X on the bottom of each peach, just thick enough to pierce the skin but not go too deep into the flesh.
Transfer the peaches to a large heavy-based pan of boiling water and boil for 30 seconds.
Immediately, remove the peaches from the water and transfer them to a bowl of ice water for just enough time until you can easily manage them. Then, it should be easy to peel them from the X mark.
Cut all the peaches in halves (or make canned sliced peaches), removing the pit from each peach as you go.
Keep the Peaches from Browning
Preparing the lemon water mixture while the peaches cool in the above step is best. That way, it’s ready for instant transferal once you've cut them.Combine water with lemon juice in a large bowl/dish, mix well, and add the peaches to it, leaving them there while you prepare the following steps.
Make Light Syrup
In a medium stainless steel saucepan, combine the sugar and water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture often until the sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes). Then, reduce the heat to low to keep the syrup warm.
Assemble the Jars of Canned Peaches
Place a trivet at the bottom of a canner or large heavy-based pan (like a stock pot) and fill it with enough water to cover your jars (you can test this in advance with your jar of choice). Then, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, increase the syrup heat to medium-low and transfer the peaches from the lemon mixture (draining excess liquid from the pieces first) into the syrup. Repeat with enough peach to form a single layer in the pan and allow to cook for 1 minute.
Use a sterilized slotted spoon or tongs to transfer those peaches to a jar, packing them tightly, cavity side down, and leaving ½-inch headspace. Repeat with the remaining peaches.
Pour the hot sugar syrup over the peaches, leaving ½ inch headspace in the jars but ensuring the fruit is entirely submerged.It can help to use a wide-mouth funnel for this step, if you have one, to reduce mess.
Carefully tap the jars on your counter to remove any air bubbles (or use a butter knife/ chopstick to run inside the outer rim of the cans to loosen any air bubbles) and top up the syrup if needed. Then wipe the rim of each jar with a clean cloth, and close the lids until finger tight.
Hot Water Bath Can the Peaches
Once the water in the canner is boiling, carefully transfer the jars to the water bath canner, ensuring they’re fully submerged with at least an inch of water above.
Then add the lid and allow the cans to process for 20 minutes (1-pint jars/ 1/2 liter jars) or 25 minutes (2 pints/1L jars) if you live in altitudes up to 1000ft (check the Notes below for other elevations).
Once ready, remove the lid and let the jars sit in the water off the heat for 5 minutes. Then, remove the jars from the water, using the canning tongs to keep the jars straight.
Transfer them to a thick kitchen towel-lined surface (don't place them straight onto a cold surface, or the jars may smash) and leave them untouched to cool for 24 hours.
To test the jar seal, button lids will be depressed in the center of the lid and taut. If you use ring lids, remove the ring and check that the cap is sealed by pressing on its center to ensure there’s no give or wobble.Check any unsealed jars for food or chips in the rim of the jar that may have prevented the seal. Then, either reprocess them within 24 hours (with new lids) or transfer them to the fridge to enjoy within 1-2 weeks.
Label the cans with their use-by date, then transfer them to a cool, dark location like a pantry or kitchen cupboard. Avoid overly warm (above 95ºF/35ºC) or damp locations. They are now shelf-stable; you can store them for 12 months for the best results, up to 18 months.If you notice any mold, discoloration, or a foul odor when opening the jar, these are signs of spoilage, and you should discard the peaches.How long after preserving preaches can you eat them? As soon as the jars have cooled!How long do opened canned peaches last? Once opened, transfer the jar to the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The amount of sugar in the syrup will affect the shelf life.
Freestone peaches are best: This will make removing the pit/stone far easier, saving you time and effort.
Sterilize everything: So there are no competing bacteria during the canning process.
Remove air bubbles: Air "pockets" can cling to the fruit and side of the jar and lead to bacteria growth and shorter shelf life.