• When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown peaches and nectarines for the best quality and nutritional value. 
  • Know when fresh peaches are available in your state with this seasonal food guide.

1. Selection

  • Select fresh, tender peaches or nectarines that are at peak quality and free of blemishes.


If this is your first time pickling, or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read Using Boiling Water CannersGeneral Canning Information, and General Pickling Information before beginning.  

2. Ingredients  

(Makes about 6 pint jars)

  • 8 pounds peeled peaches (small to medium size, 1 to 1 1/2" diameter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid
  • 6 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 sticks cinnamon (2 inches long)
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 quart vinegar (5% acidity)

3. Equipment

  • Water bath canner: Large covered pot (with a tight-fitting cover and a rack) that is deep enough to cover the rack and canning jars by 1 to 2 inches of boiling water. (At least 10 inches deep for pint jars, and 12 inches deep for quart jars.)
  • Canning jars: use standard canning jars without cracks or chips (see recipe for sizes)
  • Lids and bands: bands can be reused if they are in good shape, but lids must be new to ensure a proper seal
  • Spice bag or cheesecloth
  • Long-handled spoon
  • Wide-mouth funnel
  • Ruler for measuring headspace (some bubble freers include this feature)
  • Large cooking pot
  • Medium pot for extra boiling water
  • Bowls
  • Colander
  • Jar lifter (for moving jars into/out of the canner)
  • Lid wand (magnetic tool used to transfer lids to jars)
  • Bubble freer, or a plastic or rubber knife-like utensil (for removing air from food)
  • Towels or wire rack for cooling jars
  • Paper towels
  • Hot pads
  • Cutting board
  • Knives
  • Food thermometer for measuring temperature of processing water 
  • Timer or clock

4. Prepare Canning Equipment

Water Bath Canner-

  • Assemble and wash equipment and containers.
    • Wash canning jars in soapy water, rinse, and keep hot. (This can be done in a dishwasher or by placing jars in the water that is heating in your canner.)
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for preparing lids.
  • Place rack in the bottom of a boiling water canner. Fill the canner approximately half full with clean warm water for a canner load of pint jars. For other sizes and numbers of jars, you will need to adjust the amount of water so it will be 1 to 2 inches over the top of the filled jars.
  • Center the canner over the burner and preheat the water to 180 degrees F for hot-packed foods.
  • In medium pot, boil some extra water to use later, as needed, to cover the jars.
  • Begin preparing food for your jars while this water is preheating.

5. Prepare Ingredients

  • Wash and peel peaches with a sharp knife, and drop into a cold solution of 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per 2 quarts water.
  • Dissolve sugar in vinegar in saucepot and put on range to heat. 
  • Boil 5 minutes and skim. Add spices (tied loosely in cheesecloth).
  • Drain peaches.
  • Place drained peaches into boiling syrup and cook until they can be pierced with a fork, but not soft.
  • Remove from range and allow peaches to set in syrup overnight in the refrigerator to plump. 
  • Bring to a boil again before packing into hot jars.  

6. Pack Jars

  • Fill hot jars with peaches, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. 
  • Cover with syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles.
  • Wipe jar rims with a clean, wet paper towel. 
  • Place lid on jar and add screw band. Screw the band down fingertip tight- not too loose nor too tight. Follow lid manufacturer's directions for tightening the jar lids properly.

7. Process Jars

Water Bath Canner-

  • With jar lifter, place jars on canning rack in large pot, which is filled with hot water. Jars should not touch each other.
  • Add or remove boiling water as needed until jars are covered by 1" - 2".
  • Turn heat to high and bring to a vigorous boil. Set timer for correct processing time. Refer to the tables below for processing time for your elevation and jar size.
  • Cover canner with lid and lower heat setting to maintain a gentle boil throughout processing time.
  • When processing time is up, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes before removing jars.
  • Using jar lifter, remove jars and place them on a rack or dry towel.
  • Allow the jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing lid seals.
  • Once cool, remove the screw bands and check the seal.
  • If any jars did not seal, treat as if 'fresh' and do any of the following:
    • Eat the food immediately.
    • Refrigerate food and use within a week.
    • Freeze.
    • Reprocess. If reprocessing, must repeat the entire canning process.

8. Store

  • Label jars with date and processing information.
  • Store in a cool, dark place, where there is no danger of freezing.


Not sure of your elevation? Click here

Water Bath Processing Time- PINTS
0-1,000 ft 1,001-3,000 ft 3,001-6,000 ft 6,001-10,000 ft
20 minutes 25 minutes 30 minutes 35 minutes