Funny story: My husband and I were walking out of our front door to pick our blueberry patch that has been exploding with blueberries. When suddenly we glanced to our right. Our peach tree went from standing erect to suddenly drooping to the ground with ripe peaches!
Oh man, we suddenly felt excited and slammed simultaneously.
So we traded our blueberry buckets for our bushel baskets and began picking our peach harvest. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in peaches all week long.
But thankfully you can preserve peaches in a variety of ways which means I won’t just have a ton of one thing this winter.
Ways to Preserve Your Peach Harvest This Year Too:
1. Can Your Peaches Whole
The most common way to preserve peaches is to can them whole. It is rather simple, they taste delicious using this method, and a lot of people enjoy a canned peach.
So you’ll begin the process by peeling the peaches. The easiest method to peeling a peach is to scald them. This means that you bring a pot of water to a boil.
Next, you turn off the water but dip the peaches in the hot/warm water. You leave them in the water until the skins begin to split.
Once they split, move them over to a sink of cold water. Then the skins will gently glide off of them.
So once you have the peaches peeled, you then slice them and remove the seed from them. Then place the peaches in a bowl and pour some fresh lemon juice over them to keep your peaches from turning brown.
Next, place the peaches in mason jars. Then make a simple syrup which is equal parts sugar and water that has been heated to a boil and all of the sugar has dissolved.
Then you’ll pour the simple syrup over the peaches and seal the jars with sanitized lids and rings. Then you process them in a water bath canner for 25 minutes.
However, be sure to adjust your times as needed depending on the elevation you are at. Then remove the jars from the canner, allow them to sit for 24 hours to ensure that they seal.
Finally, store the jars for up to a year in a cool, dry location.
2. Get Your Peaches Jammin’
This method is what I use most frequently when canning peaches. I love to have a variety of jams on hand. Not only do they make for a delicious, sweet treat, but they are also great to use as a DIY Christmas gift.
So you’ll begin the process of making jam by peeling your peaches. I recommend using the scalding process for the least amount of hassle. You’ll also need to use this time to wash and sanitize your jars, rings, and lids.
Next, you’ll place the peaches in a large sauce pot. You’ll need to add around 7 ½ cups of sugar per quart of peaches to the sauce pot.
However, I make so much jam because I try to keep a close eye on how much sugar I consume. So I usually use a sugar substitute or honey. Be careful when adding a sugar substitute. You’ll want to taste as you go so it doesn’t end up with a weird after taste. I usually only add around 1 cup of sugar substitute per quart.
But that is just what suits mine and my family’s taste buds. That is the great thing about canning. You can adjust it to suit just what you like.
Once you’ve added your sugar to your peaches, you will cook the peaches down until they are thicker and soft. This takes some time.
Also, when it starts reaching the ‘jam stage’ it will begin to pop out on you. This hurts! So I usually wear a rubber glove, long sleeve, and an apron when making jam. I am still brave enough to wear flip flops in my kitchen, but it has even popped my legs and feet before.
So just be prepared for this part of the process. Sometimes I will add some pectin to the recipe to help it gel a little faster, but this is a preference. I usually eyeball it to see if I think it needs it or not. You are looking for a thick consistency that barely drips from your spoon. When in doubt, add the pectin.
Finally, you’ll ladle hot jam into hot jars. Then add the lids and rings. You’ll process it in a water bath canner for about 5 minutes if using pints. Be sure to not start timing the five minutes until the water has reached a rolling boil.
Then allow them to sit for 24 hours to cool and to be sure that all of the lids have sealed. When done, label them and store in a cool, dry location for up to one year.
3. Preserving Peaches is a Piece of ‘Pie’
Have you ever heard the saying that something is a ‘piece of cake?’ Well, canning peaches can quite literally be a ‘piece of pie.’
So if you haven’t guessed, you can turn peaches into pie filling. You can utilize it right away or can it for later use.
But you’ll begin the process the same as the others. You’ll need to scald your peaches to remove the skins in an efficient manner.
Then you’ll bring a pot of water to a boil. You’ll add your peaches to the boiling water and boil for around 1 minute. You want to soften them up without cooking them all the way through.
Next, you’ll add your seasonings in another pot. This will be sugar, water, pectin, cinnamon, and your desired flavor of extracts. I prefer vanilla but some do add almond. You could add both if you prefer. You’ll need 1 cup of sugar per quart of peaches. Then a ¾ cup of water per quart of peaches.
Also, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of pectin per quart of peaches you are preparing. The rest I leave up to taste. You’ll bring the mixture to a boil. When it has reached a boil, you’ll need to add lemon juice to keep your peaches from turning brown.
Then you’ll add your peaches to the sauce mixture. When you’ve reached this step, you’ll either need to place your peaches in hot jars or add them to a pie crust for immediate use. If you can them, then place them in a water bath for about 30 minutes. Your times may need to be adjusted based on your elevation.
4. Salsa Anyone?
I love salsa. I’m not a salsa snob, either. I love all kinds of different varieties. I love regular red tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, hot salsa, and even fruit salsa.
So it shouldn’t surprise you that peaches can be made into a delicious salsa. You’ll want to try out this recipe to help you preserve your peaches in this way.
But once you have it made, it goes well with different meats, and it also would go very well with chips as an appetizer.
Also, you can preserve your peach salsa by canning it so you don’t have to use it all at once.
5. Ice, Ice Baby
Sorry if I have you bursting out into song, but your peaches will be singing too when they are frozen in order to preserve them.
So you’ll begin this process by scalding your peaches. Then you’ll need to slice them. The great thing about this method is that if you have peaches that are a little mushy or less desirable than others, you can freeze them. If they won’t slice perfectly, don’t fret.
Once you’ve got them divided apart, you’ll need to place them on a cookie sheet in order to flash freeze them. This will keep them from sticking together in the freezer.
Then you’ll toss them into freezer bags and store in your freezer for the months to come. Frozen peaches are a great snack, they go wonderfully on yogurt, and are also great to use for smoothies.
6. Knock the Juice Right Out of Them
You can preserve your peaches by sucking the moisture right out of them. You do this with a dehydrator. If you purchase one, you’ll need to follow the instructions of the dehydrator as far as times go.
But if you make your own dehydrator, then you’ll just need to check the fruit to make sure that they stay in until they have reached the texture you prefer.
However, be sure before you start that you scald the peaches to get the skins off of them. Then slice them and lay them out on trays.
Once you’ve allowed the dehydrator to do its process, then you should be able to toss them into bags and store them for future use. Dehydrated peaches are good for a snack, to go in trail mix, or even to use when baking.
7. Freeze Dry Them
Freeze drying is becoming a new favored food preservation method. You can purchase a freeze drying machine that looks similar to a dehydrator. It will freeze the fruit into a dry form.
Then you can store it in a vacuum sealed bag or mason jar for long term storage. The only drawback is that purchasing a freeze dryer is quite expensive. Here is a place where you can purchase one.
So if you think that you’d enjoy this method of food preservation, then it might be worth the investment to you. If so, then you’ll love the fact that you can use it to preserve your peach harvest this year.
Well, you now have 7 different methods to preserving your peach harvest this year. If your trees are producing like mine, then you’re probably going to need it.
But even if you just pick up a bushel or two from a friend or the farmer’s market, you’ll still want to know how you can preserve them in an efficient manner but also where you have some variety as well.
Now I want to hear from you. How do you preserve your peach harvest? If you can, what do you make? If you dehydrate, what do you use the dehydrated fruit for? If you make salsa or pie filling, what recipe do you use? Do you have any different methods of preserving your peaches? We’d all love to glean from you!
So please leave us your comments in the space provided below.