Home Canned Peaches With Honey
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Honey is used in place of sugar in this recipe for home-canned peaches. A perfect way to preserve the taste of summer all year long!
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Peaches don’t grow well where we live. Out on Vancouver Island where it rains a good portion of the time, we get our share of fruits each summer.
Cherries, apples, plums, pears and berries grow in abundance here. But peaches just don’t seem to take well to this land. They do, however, grow exceptionally well just a few hours east in the Okanagan Valley.
The Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia is home to a ton of vineyards and orchards bursting with fruits that grow best in dryer, hotter climates. Peaches are one such fruit, and Okanagan peaches are the tastiest, juiciest, most delicious peaches I have ever tasted.
I picked up a 20 lb. box on our recent trip to the family cabin in the Okanagan and decided to take them home and preserve them to enjoy all year long.
I ended up making a spicy chipotle peach marinade and a sweeter, less spicy chipotle peach jam. But I knew I just had to preserve some sliced peaches to use in desserts, on top of waffles and pancakes, in cereals, oatmeal, and of course, to eat straight out of the jar with a spoon all year long.
How to Can Peaches with Honey
Start by preparing a large bowl full of water and lemon juice. The lemon juice helps to “treat” the peaches which means that it helps to preserve their colour and texture when they’re freshly peeled. By keeping the sliced peaches in a mixture of water and lemon juice, the peaches will stay peach while you’re preparing to can them instead of turning brown, which can happen when they’re exposed to air.
Next I peeled the peaches. The easiest way to do this is to stick them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds to a minute. The hot water helps to loosen the skin from the flesh of the peaches.
Then, remove them with a slotted spoon and stick them into your bowl full of cold water and lemon juice. You can even add a few ice cubes if you want to stop the cooking process and cool the peaches down even quicker.
Once cooled enough to touch, use your fingers to peel the peaches. The peels should wipe off without much effort.
Slice each peach into equal parts (I cut mine into sixths or eighths, but you could halve or quarter them if you prefer). Remove the pits and discard. Place sliced peaches back into water/lemon juice mixture to prevent browning while you prepare to can them.
*Note: It’s WAAAY easier to use freestone peaches for this recipe as the flesh will pull away easily from the stone (pit), hence the name “freestone.” Your other option is clingstone peaches, but I think those speak for themselves. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get beautifully sliced peaches from a clingstone peach!
Next, prepare your jars for canning and start cooking your peaches. Start by bringing some water and honey to a boil in a large, stainless steel pot. Mix well until honey has dissolved in water and turn heat to low. Add peaches and stir gently until peaches are warmed through. I like using a wooden spoon as a metal spoon is more likely to damage the sliced peaches with its sharp edge.
Remove warmed peaches from honey liquid and pack them into hot, sterilized jars leaving a generous ½-inch headspace at the top. Once jars are filled, pour honey syrup into each jar to cover peaches, leaving ½-inch headspace. Boil in a hot water bath for 25 minutes, let cool and add these beautiful home-canned peaches to your pantry shelves!
As a side note, I opted for using honey instead of regular sugar because I figured the taste of the honey would compliment the peaches and visa versa. (I was right, by the way). As far as sugar content, I could argue that honey is a more natural sweetener so it’s better for you, but really that’s only partly true.
In its raw form, honey is better than sugar simply because it contains enzymes that are good for overall health and immunity. But since the honey in this recipe is heated to a boiling point, it just becomes a different kind of sweetener. Still, I love the taste and I like knowing my honey is organic and comes from hives just up the road from me. And if you’re a beekeeper? Even better!
Sliced peaches can technically be canned in water or fruit juice without added sugar, but the sugar (or honey) helps to preserve the taste, texture and colour of home-canned peaches.
Personally I think these honey sweetened peaches are the tastiest way to preserve sliced peaches for year-round eating. What about you? Do you have any tasty peach recipes you turn to at this time of year? Let me know, down below 🙂