Canning Guide

Water bath canning is the best way to preserve your BC Tree Fruits to enjoy year round!



This guide walks through canning peaches but any one of your favourite fruits can be used! Just reference what syrup we recommend to use for each type. Happy canning!

Preparation will help your canning process run smoothly and efficiently so you have more time to enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Canning Equipment

What You'll Need

  • Water bath canner with silicone canning mat (preferable to a rack)
  • Quart (Liter) canning jars, lids and rings
  • Magnetic wand to lift lids (optional)
  • Jar lifter
  • Blanching pot, deep enough to cover 3-4 peaches
  • Slotted ladle or spoon
  • Granulated sugar
  • Bottled (demineralised) water
  • Bottled lemon juice
  • Ice Water
  • Large bowl or bucket
  • Disposable gloves (thicker are better)
  • Spouted pitcher or measuring cup that pours without dripping

Canning Peaches

  • Ensure you purchase a freestone variety of peach so that the pits will release.
  • Select small-to-medium sized fruit that are just slightly under ripe; ripen them in single layers at home.
  • Use a blanching kettle to easily remove the skins.

If the peaches are fully ripe, the skins will slip off easily and the fruit will split nicely. If the skins do not loosen, then the fruit isn’t ripe and you must wait another day or two.

Sugar, and even water, are completely optional when canning fresh fruit, although simple syrups improve quality and shelf life. Most people do not consume the syrup, so keep that in mind.

Syrup ratios

Syrup Type White Sugar Water Measured Yield
Ultra Light 1/2 cup 5 cups 5 1/4 cups
Extra Light 1 1/4 cups 5 1/2 cups 6 cups
Light 2 1/4 cups 5 1/4 cups 7 cups
Medium 3 1/4 cups 5 cups 7 cups
Heavy 4 1/4 cups 4 1/4 cups 7 cups
Honey 1 liquid cup 4 cups 5 cups

Combination Recommendations

  • Apples: Ultra Light
  • Pears: Extra Light
  • Peaches, Nectarines: Medium
  • Cherries: Light or Extra Light
  • Plums: Light

Consider Fruit Juice! Using a commercially prepared fruit juice, such as Sun-Rype Blue Label Apple Juice, is a great alternative to making a sugar syrup. Most juice will already contain a colour preservative such as ascorbic acid, making it easy to get a great looking, tasty product.

Step 1

Place your canning jars in an empty dishwasher and run them through a cycle with your regular dish machine soap. They do NOT need to be boiled or heated in the oven. In order to prevent spoilage (i.e. “sterilize”), you will be processing the filled jars for a tested amount of time in a water bath canner.

Sterilize jars

Step 2

Mix 3 cups sugar with 5 cups bottled water for each batch of 7 jars that you will use. Heat until the sugar melts; cover.

Sterilize jars

Step 3

Bring your blanching pot to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Boiling blanching pot

Step 4

Place 2-3 trays of ice cubes and ½ cup lemon juice large bowl or bucket. Fill the bowl half full with water. Add more ice if the water becomes warm.

Ice bath with lemon juice

Step 5

Wearing gloves, slice through the seam of each peach—all the way around. Slicing only 3 at a time, lower them in the boiling water, and remove with a slotted utensil after 30 seconds-1 minute. If the peaches are fully ripe, the skins will slip off easily and the fruit will split nicely. If the skins do not loosen, then the fruit isn’t ripe and you must wait another day or two.

Blanch the peaches to remove the skin

Step 6

Using both thumbs, gently push the skin of the peach from the blossom end toward the stem end. Pull the skin off, and gently push your thumbs into the knife slice—the hot water will have opened it up a bit. Remove the pit from the stem end; place both halves into the lemon/ice bath. Repeat the process, working a few peaches at a time, until you have done a full canner load, approximately 40 peaches.

Remove Skin
Half and remove pit
peaches in ice bath

Step 7

  1. Arrange the halves rounded side up in a circular pattern until the jar is full.
  2. Using a spouted pitcher, fill the jars with syrup, leaving about 1/2” of space at the top.
  3. Squirt a bit of lemon juice over the top peach; about a teaspoon.
  4. Wipe the rim with a clean towel.
  5. Fill a bit more syrup within 1/8” of the top of the jar; leaving very little headspace.* see additional info
Sterilize jars
Fill jar to rim with syrup
peaches in ice bath

Step 8

Canning lids are generally heated in a bowl of hot water and removed singly with a magnetic wand (or a butter knife).

Shake the water off, place it on the jar, and screw the ring on top: do not overtighten.

Sterilize jars
Fill jar to rim with syrup
peaches in ice bath

Step 9

Fill the canner ½ full with hot water, add the filled jars and top up water level so that they are fully immersed. Cover. Bring the canner to a full boil, and begin timing for 30 minutes, more at altitude.

Sterilize jars

Step 10

When the time is up, turn the burner off, remove the canner lid, and let the jars sit for 3-5 minutes. When you lift the hot jars from the canner, proceed very slowly; do not tilt or shake the jars. Place them on a tea towel or a rack. Within an hour, the lids should “pop” and you will see that the jar has sealed closed. Read the instructions that accompany the jar lids you are using for more information.

Sterilize jars

Step 11

Any jars that do not seal must be opened, wiped clean, and processed again for the same amount of time. This diminishes the quality, so it’s preferred to do this while they are still hot. Alternatively, place those jars in the fridge and consume right away.

Finished canned peaches

Notes about “headspace”

This method involves a “raw pack”, meaning the fruit is not heated first. Raw fruit has more air in the cells of the flesh, and that air has to escape when the sealed jar is processed in the water bath. In order to compensate for this, our method goes against conventional procedures. By reducing the headspace to 1/8”, instead of the usual ½”, we accomplish two things:

  1. There is no need to poke around the filled jar to get the air bubbles from under the pit pocket, which bruises or cuts the fruit.
  2. The air from the pit pocket and the air released from the uncooked fruit will produce the proper headspace in the cooled jar.

The key to success is to make sure the rims are clean before sealing, and to ensure that you remove the processed jars from the canner at a slower rate so that they do not “volcano” from a sudden temperature change. It is still common for a bit of the sugar syrup to escape from the finished jars, and the jars will need to be rinsed when they are cool before placing them in storage. With a raw pack there will be 1-2 inches of syrup at the bottom with the peaches floating above.

For more information on safe canning:

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