Canning Peaches – Hot Pack vs Raw Pack

Peaches ~ yum!  Peaches and ice cream, peaches and pound cake, peaches and whip cream…..the list goes on!

As many ways as there are to eat peaches you will find that many ways to can peaches.  Peaches can be canned so many different ways:  Hot Pack or Raw “Cold” Pack, light syrup, heavy syrup and even with natural juices and no “syrup” at all.  In the picture below, you will see a comparison of Raw Packed on the right verses Hot Packed on the left, notice how the raw packed peaches float.  Have you ever wondered why?  When you raw pack the peaches without cooking them first they contain oxygen which causes the peaches to shrink and float after being heated in the water bathing process.

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An average of 17½ pounds is needed for 7 quarts in order to fill your water bath canner. A bushel weighs an average of 48 pounds and yields 16 to 24 quarts – an average of 2½ pounds per quart – depending on which method you use to can the peaches.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 gallon of quartered peaches
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 Tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt

Syrup:

  • 3 cup of sugar
  • 5 cups water

Regardless of which method you prefer, the first step is to blanch, peel and slice the peaches:

Blanch peaches for 30 seconds by dipping them in a pot of boiling water.  Remove peaches from boiling water and put them in ice water to cool.   At this point the skins will easily slide right off and can removed by hand.

Cut the peaches into slices or halves, depending on whichever you prefer.  Put cut peaches into a bowl with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of  vinegar and 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.  Placing the peaches in the vinegar/salt water is just for “holding” until all of the peaches are peeled and sliced.  This vinegar/salt water solution helps prevent the peaches from changing color.

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Prepare the syrup mixture and bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved.  Depending on the canning method that you use depends on if you add peaches to the syrup and cook or if you use the syrup to pour over the peaches.  See below:

HOT-PACK:  In a large stockpot place drained fruit in syrup, water, or juice and bring to boil.

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Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch head-space.  Place halves in layers, cut side down.  Hot-packing is the practice of heating freshly prepared food to boiling, simmering it 2 to 5 minutes, and promptly filling jars loosely with the boiled food.  Whether food has been hot-packed or raw-packed, the juice, syrup, or water to be added to the foods should also be heated to boiling before adding it to the jars. This practice helps to remove air from food tissues, shrinks food, helps keep the food from floating in the jars, increases vacuum in sealed jars, and improves shelf life.  Preshrinking food also permits filling more food into each jar.

RAW-PACK:  Pack peaches in hot, sterile jars comfortably.  I use a “spaghetti spoon” to spoon the peaches out of the vinegar/salt water and place in sterile jars before I pour my sugar syrup mixture into the jars over the peaches.   Add warm syrup solution made with 3 cups of sugar and 5 cups of water leaving 1/2 inch head-space.  Raw-packing is the practice of filling jars tightly with freshly prepared, but unheated food.  The tighter you can pack the jars, the better.  Just don’t overdo it.  You can pack them so tight and full that they don’t seal.  Such foods, especially fruit, will often float in the jars.  The entrapped air in and around the food may also cause discoloration within 2 to 3 months of storage.

Remove any air bubbles.

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Wipe rim of jar to ensure a good seal.  Apply a warm lid and ring and twist tightly.  Water bath the peaches for 20 minutes.

**When preparing your water bath canner remember:  Cold Jars = Cold Water and Hot Jars = Hot Water.

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Hot Packed Peaches….

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Raw Packed Peaches….

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See the difference?  Regardless of how you can them – both methods taste delicious!!!

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