Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Peaches (HNI100)

Peaches can be served and preserved in many ways.

Michigan-grown peaches are available during August and September.

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Using, Storing and Preserving Peaches 

Recommended varieties 

Varietal types generally frozen include yellow freestone (yellow-fleshed varieties), white freestone (white-fleshed) and red freestone (red coloring). Suitable choices for freezing and canning include Crest Haven, Red Haven, Allstar, Bellaire, Canadian Harmony, Goldstar, Fayette, Glohaven, Loring, Newhaven, Rio Oso Gem and Sunbeam. Elberta, Belle of Georgia and Champton peaches are recommended for canning.

Storage and food safety 

  • Purchase fruits that are not bruised or damaged.
  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Keep away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.
  • For best quality and to preserve nutrients, preserve no more than your family can consume in one year.

Yield 

1 pound = three medium peaches (2 cups, sliced)
1 lug (22 pounds) = 16 to 24 pints frozen or 7 to 11 quarts canned 
17 1/2 pounds  = a canner load of 7 quarts 
11 pounds  = a canner load of 9 pints 
1 bushel (48 pounds) = 32 to 48 pints frozen or 16 to 24 quarts canned 
1/2 bushel = 48 cups frozen 

 

How to Preserve

Canning

Peaches, halved or sliced

Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins. Cut peaches in half, remove pits and slice, if desired. To prevent darkening, keep peeled fruit in ascorbic acid solution. Prepare and boil a very light, light or medium sugar syrup, or pack peaches in water, apple juice or white grape juice. Raw packs make poor quality peaches.

Hot pack – In a large saucepan, place drained fruit in syrup, water or juice, and bring to boil. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving ½ inch headspace. Place halves in layers, cut side down.

Raw pack – Fill jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add hot water, juice or syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace.

Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and process following directions below: 

Recommended process time for peaches, halved or sliced, in a boiling-water canner.

Style of Pack  Jar Size 0-1,000 ft. 1,001-3,000 ft. 3,001-6,000 ft.  Above 6,000 ft.
Hot Pints  20 25 30 30
Hot Quarts  25 30 35 40
Raw Pints  25 30 35 40
Raw Quarts  30 25 40 45

 

Process times for peaches, halved or sliced, in a dial-gauge pressure canner.

Style of pack  Jar Size  Process Time (min.) 0-2,000 ft. 2,001-4,000 ft. 4,001-6,000 ft. 6,001-8,000 ft. 
Hot and raw Pints or Quarts  10 6 7 8 9

 

Process times for peaches, halved or sliced, in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.

style of pack  Jar size process time (min.) 0-1,000 ft. Above 1,000 ft.
Hot and raw  Pints or quarts 10 5 10

 

Let jars stand undisturbed on the counter for 24 hours, then remove rings, check to make sure lids are sealed, wash jars, label, date and store.

 

Syrups for Use in Freezing Fruits

Type of Syrup

Percent Syrup *

Cups of Sugar **

Yield of Syrup in Cups

How Syrup is Used Commercially

Very light

10%

½

4 ½ cups

 

Light

20%

1

4 ¾ cups

Very sweet fruit

Medium

30%

1 ¾

5 cups

Sweet apples, sweet cherries, berries, grapes

Heavy

40%

2 ¾

5 1/3 cups

Tart apples, apricots, sour cherries, gooseberries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums

Very heavy

50%

4

6 cups

Very sour fruit

*Approximate

**In general, up to one-half of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored type is selected. 

Freezing

Peaches or nectarines

Select well-ripened fruit and handle carefully to avoid bruising. Sort, wash and peel.

Syrup pack – Use 40 percent syrup. For a better quality product, add 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid per quart of syrup. Put peaches directly into cold syrup in container, starting with 1/2 cup syrup to a pint container. Press fruit down and add syrup to cover, leaving headspace. Place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down. Seal, label, date and freeze.

Sugar pack – To each quart (1 1/3 pounds) of prepared fruit, add 2/3 cup sugar and mix well. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. To retard darkening, sprinkle ascorbic acid dissolved in water over the peaches before adding sugar. Use 1/4 teaspoon (750 mg) ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons cold water for each quart of fruit. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal, label, date and freeze.

Crushed or purée – Coarsely crush peeled and pitted peaches. For purée, press through a sieve or purée in a blender or food processor. (Heating pitted peaches for 4 minutes in just enough water to prevent scorching makes them easier to purée.) For better quality, add 1/8 teaspoon (375 mg) ascorbic acid to each quart of fruit. Pack into containers. Leave headspace. Seal, label, date and freeze.

Syrups for use in freezing

Types of syrup Percent syrup Cups of sugar Cups of water Yield of syrup (cups)
Very light 10% 1/2 4 4 1/2 cups
Light 20% 1 4 4 3/4 cups
Medium 30% 1 3/4 4 5 cups
Heavy 40% 2 3/4 4 5 1/3 cups
Very Heavy 50% 4 4 6 cups

 

 

Peach jam from commercially frozen fruit with powdered pectin

3 cups frozen peaches, thawed and crushed (about 30 ounces frozen peaches)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 ½ tablespoons powdered pectin

3 cups sugar

Yield: About 4 half-pint jars

Sterilize canning jars. Drain peaches, reserving juice. Crush peaches and combine with reserved juice. Place 3 cups of mixture into a saucepot. Stir in lemon juice. Stir contents of pectin package and measure 2 ½ tablespoons of the pectin.

Measure sugar and set aside. Stir powdered pectin into the prepared peaches. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. At once stir in sugar. Stir and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Skim off foam. Pour hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a Boiling Water Bath.

Find more Peach recipes, here

References

  • Andress, Elizabeth and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014
  • National Center for Food Preservation. http://nchfp.uga.edu/

More information

Prepared By: Laurie Messing, MSU Extension educator

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