peach canning question

philipsmithAugust 10, 2008

Hi Gardenweb forum:

I have a problem with peaches "floating" to the top of a quart jar after canning.

My wife and I just canned peaches. We used the cold pack method, and poured a simple sugar syrup over halved peaches arranged as tightly as we could arrange them in a Ball quart jar.

Then, we processed them with our pressure canner/cooker. We waited for the steam to flow freely from the pressure hole, then covered the hole with the 5lb wt that came with the cooker. When the weight started to sputter we started our 10 minute timer.

Are they supposed to float to the top? Some of my cans now look like they were only half filled!

What should I do next time?


Phil Smith

Duluth, GA

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My first batch of 'cots did that last year. After that I just stuffed more in the jar and tapped it on a towel-padded counter to get them to settle and pack together before I poured the syrup in. I didn't use the cold pack method though. Mine were cooked before placing in the jar and processed in a boiling water bath so the shrinkage had already taken place to a great degree.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 3:56PM
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Phil, I've been canning peaches for decades and mine always float. The "lighter" the syrup, the more float, I think. Since I don't want the amount of sugar I'd need to keep those peaches from floating so much I just figure it's a natural part of my canning and ignore it.

I do get a bit less "float" from hot packed peaches, but they still float because I use little sugar.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:29PM
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I put up 40 jars this past week, and they're all floaters.

Last year I used a heavier syrup and hot packed, and they didn't float at all.

This year I cold packed and used a lighter syrup. I also had some syphoning issues with the first batch, but thanks help from the good people at the Harvest Forum, I was able to eliminate the syphoning in my second batch.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Hi Garden Web,I just did 8 qts. of peaches first time I did peaches and they are floating. I did the hot pack method. Any ideas would be helpful Thanks

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 4:28PM
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All 14 of mine tht I did last night are floaters. I use just a tiny bit more sugar than the extra light syrup.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 5:15PM
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Dare I say 'shrinkage'

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 8:14PM
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There's nothing wrong with floating peaches except aesthetically.

Peaches are more likely to float with a heavy syrup (difference in density between fruit and syrup) and if they're raw-packed, but there are other possibilities. Pectin actually helps hold fruit in suspension. If your peaches were dead-ripe the pectin level is lower and the fruit floats. Also, if the peaches were over-processed that would destroy some of the pectin for the same result. I could see this happening if you have a "slow stove" and it took a long time for your canner to come up to pressure with the jars in the vessel.

But believe me, in the winter you'll be glad you have those peaches, floating or not.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 9:47PM
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We have been canning peaches for more than 30 years. Our peaches always have floated, in spited of our smooshing them down a bit as we put them into the jars. As readinglady said, you'll be glad you have them, floating or not. Yummmm

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 10:50PM
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