Canning Peaches

We love home-canned peaches. I buy several lugs of Elberta peaches when they come in at our local supermarket in late July or early August. These are “freestone” peaches; and are easy to pit. They have a flavor unlike the “cling” peaches that commercial canners usually use, much better in our opinion. Fully ripe peaches should slip their skins easily, if you are unsure that they are ripe, try one. If it doesn’t slip its skin quickly, let them ripen another day or two at room temperature. This recipe is for light syrup; heavy syrup will make “floating” peaches. This is also a hot pack; raw packs make poor-quality peaches according to Clemson University in South Carolina – home of peach experts.  You can use other preservatives besides Fruit Fresh, following directions on the package, but it is the most readily available around here.
Peaches cost me $14.99 a lug this year, $2 less than I paid last year.  I am canning peaches this week, they arrived at our grocery last week, but weren't quite ready to can.  I'm not a "blue-ribbon" canner, we just like to preserve the deliciousness of the season. 
Home Canned Peaches
1 lug Peaches, Elberta (size  60)
3 Tablespoons Fruit Fresh
3 Quarts cool water -- in dish pan with fruit fresh
16 each canning jars, pints with lids
2 1/2 Cups sugar
10 Cups Water -- for syrup
Heat water in a stock pot with a pasta insert if you have one; add peaches and heat for 1 minute, strain, drop into cold water in small dishpan, then peel and halve. Hold in a mixture of 3 quarts cool water with 5 Tbsp Fruit Fresh in large, clean dishpan. Repeat until all are ready. Make sure all the pieces are covered well with Fruit Fresh, plunging the newest ones down into mixture. (If you plan to can pints and have one canner, you may want to stop with ½ of the lug, can them, and then get the rest ready).  Don't fill jars until you are ready to put them in the canner immediately.
Heat water in a boiling water bath canner. Heat the sugar and water for syrup in a stock pot or jelly pan. Add enough peaches for a canner load (about 7-8 halves per pint) and heat 5 minutes in syrup. Prepare lids according to manufacturers instructions.
In hot, clean jars, pack fruit, pit side down, (use a teaspoon stuck into the pit side to place them in the jar quickly and easily), cover with syrup with 1/2 inch headspace; remove bubbles; wipe off rim; cap and place in canner. Process for 20 minutes for pints or 25 minutes for quarts at 1000’ altitude in a boiling water bath canner. Cool on a folded towel (I put the towel on a half-sheet pan so I can move it).

A size 60 lug holds 60 peaches or 2 canner loads of pints. (There are 40 peaches in a size 40 lug – about 2 ½ peaches per jar.  I usually slice the large peaches so I can get them in the jar). A lug will make about 8+ quarts or 16-17 pints.
August 2009 Cost: $18.40 or $ 1.06 per pint jar.  Cost in 2010:  $16.49 or $.95 per pint jar.
Yield: "15-16 Pint Jars"
Check Home Canning Information for additional help.

My Husband and I canned 52 pints of peaches from the 3 lugs pictured.  We ran 2 water-bath canners (I use 20 Qt. Stainless stockpots with racks in them).  The peaches were perfect, and we didn't waste one.


  1. Hi, I am a new canner & I have just canned 4 jars. I carefully removed all air pockets & bubbles by 2 methods, tapping the jar so the peaches settled more & I used a thin spatula around the jar. I'm a little worried because when I removed the jars there are little foamy bits on the peaches, I used 4 C water 1 C sugar for syrup. Are they safe to eat? Please email me I hate to think they may just be paper weights.

    1. If your jars are sealed correctly and you followed the correct processing time for them, I would think they are just fine.
      Your syrup ratio is the one I use. Did you hot-pack or raw-pack them? Hot packing gets rid of some of the air that is naturally in the fruit.
      Was your head-space correct? That can make a difference in siphoning and bubbling.
      If you are still worried, call your county extension office and see if they will let you bring in a jar to get their opinion. They usually have master canners there who are happy to help.
      Good luck.

  2. I know this post is quite old, but Clemson University is in South Carolina! Go Tigers! ;)

    1. Thanks! Fixed that in the post. We lived in Augusta for awhile, so close to South Carolina, so I should have been aware of that.

  3. This is a stupid question from a newbie -but where do you go to buy a lug of peaches? Can you ask for one at a regular store? I'm in AZ and I've never seen peaches at a farmer's market (they wouldn't grow here and although I sometimes see non-local products there, I've never seen peaches. Maybe because our farmer's markets here are closed in the summer, something it was hard to get used to after I moved here but most crops here are done by the end of May and our second growing season doesn't start to harvest until Oct.

    1. Our regular stores gets them in late July usually...they are imported from California. They usually stock them just for canners or for those who put them in their freezers for winter pies.
      I always ask when they are expecting they know there is some interest...some stores will let you reserve some so you're sure to get what you want to can.

  4. Are you getting 16 lb lugs or 25 lb lugs? Which local store? We get peaches every year to can but I've always paid around $35 / lug for a 25 lb lug. I would love to know if there is a better place!

    1. I don't know the weight of the lug, but I would guess 16#.
      I don't know the price this year, this is an older post. We usually buy them at the local Fareway, about our only source for the alberta peaches we especially like.


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