When it’s peach season and you live in the Okanagan, making Homemade Canned Peaches (with a vanilla bourbon twist) seemed like the right thing to do. Here’s how we did it along with some good resources for canning if that’s your jam… haha, get it? (so bad, I know).
I remember canning with my grandma years ago, but haven’t dabbled in it much since having kids. Truth be told, it’s a labour of love. There’s equipment to buy, jars to sterilize, fruit to peel and sticky everything in its wake. All that being said, there is something so satisfying and nostalgic about canning your own food, especially when you’ve grown it yourself!
My friend Tifni brought over crates of local ripe Okanagan peaches and jars, and my brother-in-law Justin swung over to roll up his sleeves along with my aunt Mary… the queen of gardening and canning herself! Mary pulled out a tattered old cookbook that she had been given to her from her mom – the very best kind – and shared her best tips for canning peaches. If you love gardening and/or are interested in gluten free tips and recipes, check out her blog!
Things to Consider When Canning
Canning is a simple procedure that applies heat to food in a closed glass jar to interrupt the natural decaying that would otherwise take place. If you want to learn more about the science behind heat processing click here. There are a few important things to keep in mind when canning.
The first is that it’s really important to sterilize all of your jars and lids and to keep everything really clean when canning for food safety reasons. It’s also important that all of your jars seal properly before putting them in dry storage (you will see the seal of the lid pop in when it is sealed properly). Make sure that the lip of your jars are cleaned well with a clean cloth before placing the sealer on top.
You are also dealing with very hot liquids, and having things like the rubber jar lifter are important to avoid burning yourself.
The rings and jars can be reused, but the lids (seals) MUST be new every time you can. You can’t reuse these.
There are many ways to can – this I’ve realized! My friend’s mom places the sugar right in the jar, adds hot water, and processes (it creates a syrup while it processes in the simmering water). I have only tried this version, but as always love hearing other ways of doing it!
Canned peaches can last for 12-18 months when stored in a dry cool location.
Supply List for Canning
There are a number of things that you will need to can. Setting up your kitchen is a bit of an investment, but you will have these for life! If you don’t want to buy new check out local thrift stores or online consignment stores like Kijiji for used equipment. I linked the products I could below.
- wide mouth canning funnel (seems unnecessary but it isn’t!)
- paring knife
- canning jars – I prefer quart size jars but you can use smaller jars if you wish.
- jar rings & seals (seals must be new)
- water bath canner (with removable canning rack)
- clean dish towels
- large pot & ladle (for the syrup)
- rubber jar lifter (important so you don’t burn yourself)
- ripe freestone peaches, sugar and water (for the syrup)
- large bowl with ice bath (ice & water)
- ascorbic acid (powdered vitamin C in the canning aisle)
- cute apron!
Vanilla Bourbon Canned Peaches
I experimented with this variation this year and all I can say is that I will be making MOST of my peaches into Vanilla Bourbon Canned Peaches next year! SO GOOD. To make Vanilla Bourbon Canned Peaches simply add 1-2 ounces of bourbon (1 for a small jar, 2 for a large quart jar) plus 1/2 a vanilla pod (split length ways) to the jar of peaches before adding the syrup. Add the syrup and process as per the instructions below. What a perfect gift!
How to Make Canned Peaches
Homemade Canned Peaches
Here's how to make Homemade Canned Peaches! Use freestone peaches for canned peaches as they are the easiest to work with. This recipe makes around 4-6 quart jars depending on the size of your peaches.
- 10-12 large ripe freestone peaches
- 8 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (use more if you want a heavier syrup)
- 4-6 quart size jars with lids and seals
Sterilize the jars & equipment. Either fill the canner with water according to directions and bring to a boil. Submerge the jars, right side up, and simmer for 10 minutes before removing carefully and placing on a clean dish towel (OR simply run the jars and rings through the dishwasher). To sterilize the lids and rings submerge them into a small pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, remove with clean tongs and lay on a clean dish towel.
Peel the Peaches
While the jars sterilize, peel the peaches. Have a large pot of boiling water, an ice bath and a large bowl of cold water with ascorbic acid (to prevent browning) ready. To make an ice bath simpy place ice with cold water in a large bowl.
To peel the peaches, gently cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach using a paring knife and submerge in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Carefully remove the peaches from the boiling water and immediately place the peaches in the ice bath. To peel the peaches, starting with one corner of the cut end, gently peel the skin away on all sides. Place the peeled peaches in the prepared ascorbic acid water mixture to cover and repeat until all peaches are peeled.
Make the syrup
Combine the water with the sugar and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. The syrup must be hot before adding to the peaches in the jars.
Can the peaches
Cut the peeled peaches into quarters (as desired), gently place inside the jars, packing them (careful not to bruise) until they fill the jars. Tap on the counter to help settle the peaches. Repeat for all jars.
Add the bourbon and vanilla pod if using (see below). Fill the with hot syrup to cover the peaches (fill to where the rim starts, about 1/2" from the top of the jar) and clean off the rim with a clean dish towel.
Place the lids and rings on the jars, place in canner in designated places for jars, submerge and "process" (simmer) for 25 minutes. Lay out a clean dish towel on the counter.
Carefully remove the jars from the water using the canning tongs and place on the clean dish towel to cool.
Once the jars have cooled and the lids have sealed (they will be indented or sucked in... you can hear them pop while they are sealing - repeat the processing if they don't seal), label with the date and place in cool dry storage until ready to eat. Once opened they will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
*Add 1-2 ounces of bourbon (1 for a small jar and 2 for a large quart jar) plus 1 pod of vanilla to the jar of peaches before adding the syrup to make Vanilla Bourbon Canned Peaches