Plump, juicy and sweet, peaches are a popular summer fruits to preserve. But preserving peaches need not be a hassle. If you are wondering how to enjoy the sweetness of peaches all year round just follow our easy how-to guide for preserving peaches.
Getting Started: Peeling Peaches
To preserve peaches you will have to peel them and remove their pits. The best way of getting the skin off peaches is to blanch them. For blanching the peaches, begin by scoring the bottom of the fruit with an X using with a pairing knife. Be sure to remove any stems or leaves. Bring a pot of water to a boil then lower to a simmer. Drop in a few peaches for about 30 seconds then fish them out and immediately put them in a boil of ice water. You will be able to easily pull the skin off. To remove the pits, simply cut the skinned peach in half and gently remove the stone with a small spoon.
This method of preservation is great for adding peaches to smoothies later on and works well for many other fruits, especially berries. To freeze peaches you simply slice your peeled peaches and arrange them on a single layer over a sheet pan. Then slide the sheet pan in the freezer. Once the peaches are frozen, transfer them to a plastic bag. Freezing peaches this way prevents clumps of the fruit sticking together.
The process of canning peaches is very similar to preserving cherries. The main difference is in how you prepare the fruit. Peaches should be peeled, pitted and cut in half or sliced according to your preference.
After preparing the peaches, you follow the same steps for canning cherries. You will need to prepare a sugar syrup, which will help preserve the fruit. The ratio of sugar to water will depend on the sweetness of your peaches. When picked at the height of the season, the fruit will be at its sweetest. Consider using a ratio of one part sugar to 4 parts water when the peaches are sweet. Add more sugar if the peaches are less sweet.
Before canning peaches, learn about the canning process to find out which tools you will need and how to sterilize your equipment. After your jars and lids are sterilized, fill each jar with peaches and pour enough sugar syrup to cover the fruit. Then you place a lid on it. You will need to put the jars in a pot and cover with water (at least two inches above each jar). Then cook in simmering water for at least 30 minutes, the way you would strawberry jam. Be careful when removing the jars from the hot water. A vacuum seal will be created as they cool.