Questions about Canning Peaches

mendinglineSeptember 13, 2007

G'Day All. I have been out and about and returned back to smokey Idaho. I truly have enjoyed all of the posts. Three days ago I bought a bushel of O'Henry peaches, as my local perveyor was out of Elbertas. Some of the peaches looked ripe so I decided to follow the tips from this site and use the Ball Blue Book recommendations. I followed the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, Guide 2 pages 2-1 and 2-12. I just removed 5 quarts from the BWB. I processed them for the recommended 35 minutes for my altitude.

Here are some questions that I have.

1. I used a very light syrup that contained the following: 10 1/2 cups water, 1 1/1 cups sugar, and 10 1/2 teaspons of Fruit Fresh (ascorbic acid) all brought to a boil. I packed the half peaches in regular jars (I couldn't find wide mouths as they were in high demand--leason learned for next year). I filled the jars with the syrup to 1/2" from top and sealed them. The question that I have, does raw pack make poor quality peaches? The USDA guide page 2-12 states when commenting on the procedure: "Prepare and boil a very light, light, or medium syrup (see page 2-1) or pack peaches in water, apple juice, or white grape juice. Raw packs make poor quality peaches." What the heck does that mean? Peaches without syrup? Or does that mean processing the peaches without bringing the peaches to a boil? What is your experience?

2. Why peach halves? I would prefer to have slices of peaches but there must be a reason everyone says peach halves. Do they turn real mushy?

3. I packed the peaches round side up with the cavity down as recommended. What is the rationale for this?

4. Even though I tried to remove all air bubbles with a plastic knive, there seems to be alot of very small bubbles near the top. All jars have just sealed. Should this be a concern?

Many thanks and cheers, Gary

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robinkateb(z4 VT)


many of us here raw pack and prefer the method even though the USDA recommends hot pack. I tried both one year and we preferred the product and it was much easier. Hot pack is when you heat the peaches in the syrup before canning.

I always can slices. It is just easier because that is how we use them and it is easier to fit them in the jars, and I can fir more.

Some air bubbles are fine, actually often inevitable.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 2:00PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Yeah, what Robin said!
You may have some bubbles BECAUSE of the halves. A little air can be trapped in the cavity.

I think lots of people do halves because they are pretty in the jar. Slice them if you want.

Your peaches will be just fine and a real treat come January!

Welcome home! Are most of the fires more controlled now? I haven't seen anything on the news the last couple of weeks about them.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 2:15PM
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G'Day Robin and Deanna. Thanks for the responses. I am letting the remaining peaches ripen a bit more before processing them. I am going to go with slices! Cheers, Gary

Fire reports: We have many fires still burning and some of our nearby fires are, at last, contained. We just had a grass fire early this morning on the way up to our local ski area. We are still getting smoke and it is still a bit warm for this time of year. If you have not looked at the referenced site it is worthwhile. There are many photos and maps for the various fires. If you are interested in your state navigate to your state.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fire Status for Idaho

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 2:38PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

If your canning peaches, be sure to add the necessary ascorbic acid as they will oxidize very quickly and turn an unappetizing brown color.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 3:36PM
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Thanks Ken. I did add the requisite amount of Fruit Fresh to the syrup (tsp per cup of syrup) and brought it to a boil. After peeling the peaches, and cutting them in half, I placed them in an ascorbic water bath before filling the jars with peaches and then the hot syrup. Do I need to add more based on your experience? For example, you suggest (in a previous thread/post) sprinkling some on the very top of the peaches.

By the way, I just checked my peaches and the dreaded float exists in all 5 quarts. From what I gather, that is common and I should not worry about it. Is that correct?

One benefit of waiting for the peaches to ripen is the wonderful odor of peaches filling the house. Take care, Gary

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 6:53PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I have found that if I have any exposed above the liquid, they can turn brown. Thats why I sprinkled a bit more of teh ascorbic on the surface prior to capping. The jars are not shaken much after that, as the little sprinkle of more ascorbic can help to keep the surface a good color, even after its sitting around a while. When I canned mine, they were slightly underripe, so they held up better to heat and processing. I used Splenda as the sweetener, and only sweetened the juices, with no water added.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 7:00PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Hello Gary, I do think hot-packed fruit has a better flavor, but frankly, it's a royal pain, and cold-packed peaches still taste wonderful (especially compared to the commercial ones) so why bother? They will float; it's the nature of the beast.

Your comments about halves reminded me of my dear MIL, who took great pride in the appearance of peaches and pears in the jar. Even when canning 400 quarts, she nestled each half pit-side-down just-so in the jar.

I agree with Ken (and also I believe Linda Lou has mentioned it previously) that there's a benefit in sprinkling some ascorbic acid on prior to bottling. If the canning g*ds are with you, it isn't necessary, but if there's any air left at all, it helps prevent that unattractive browning. That is especially true now that so many have gone to a reduced-sugar syrup.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 8:03PM
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