Lazy Peach Preserves

August 20, 2013(updated on August 30, 2021)

more lazy peach preserves

When I teach classes, I’m often asked about peeling fruit. I typically tell people that I always peel peaches and apples, but leave the skins on nearly everything else. However, it looks like I might have to revise that statement, because the preserve I’m about to tell you about includes unpeeled peaches. Shocking, I know.

This particular recipe came about when I became the proud owner of both 10 pounds of cherries and a half bushel of rapidly ripening, very sweet, yellow peaches about ten minutes before I was leaving town for 2 1/2 days.


Both boxes of fruit were courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission, the folks behind the most fabulous website Sweet Preservation. When I signed on to be a Canbassador again this year, I didn’t realize that it was going to converge with the cherry challenge. Still, I am not one to shirk a canning challenge and so, when I got back to town, I went to work.

I made eight half pints of peach chutney (more on that tomorrow). I cooked up a smallish batch of honey-sweetened peach vanilla jam (look for it on Thursday). And I made these unpeeled, but very delicious, peach preserves. I also ate a whole bunch of these peaches just plain and raw (good lord, were they amazing).

I washed four pounds of peaches well, doing my best to rub away most of the exterior fuzzy. Then, I cut them into wedges, covered the fruit with 1 1/2 cups of honey, added some thin ribbons of lemon zest, and stirred it all together. It sat for an hour or so, until everything was juicy. Then I scraped it into a pan, brought it to a boil, funneled the peaches into prepared pint jars and processed them for 20 minutes (I used the processing time recommended by the NCHFP for pints of peach halves and slices).

peach slices

It’s hard to tell from the picture of the jar up at the top of the post, but the peach slices are still quite distinct. My vision for these jars is that I’ll eat them with yogurt and granola or with oatmeal for breakfast later in the year. I often eat those same things with fresh, unpeeled peaches during the summer months and never mind the peels, so my guess is that I won’t mind them with the peels when they’re coming out of a jar. Here’s hoping that will prove to be true!

UPDATE: These peaches are delicious! The peels aren’t a textural issue at all.

Though it seems kind of hard to believe, this is the fourth year that I’ve been one of the Washington State Fruit Commission’s Canbassador. Last year, I made Oven-Roasted Nectarine Butter and Luisa Weiss’s Spiced Plum Butter. The year before, it was Italian Plum Jam with Star Anise and Honey-Sweetened Apricot Lavender Butter. And if you go all the way back to that first year, I made Apricot-Blackberry Jam and Pickled Sweet Cherries. These boxes of fruit have led to some very good eating over the last few years.

4.86 from 7 votes

Lazy Peach Preserves


  • 4 pounds peaches
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • zest of 1 lemon thinly sliced


  • Wash peaches well to remove fuzz. Slice the peaches into 12 to 16 slices per peach. Place in a bowl.
  • Pour honey over peach slices. Add lemon zest and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with a plate or some plastic wrap (to keep any bugs out) and let the fruit sit for about an hour until the juices start to run.
  • When you're ready to cook, prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
  • Scrape the fruit into a large, non-reactive pan and bring to a boil, stirring regularly.
  • Funnel fruit into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles.
  • Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
  • When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel.
  • Once jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. Sealed jars can be stored on the pantry shelf for up to one year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and and used promptly.


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103 thoughts on "Lazy Peach Preserves"

  • I have GOT to try this. Unfortunately, I have used up all of my peaches from my tree this year, But there is always next year. I assume you used a clover-type honey as not to overwhelm the taste of the peaches?
    PLEASE crack open a jar, and let us know how it turned out!!

  • Man, I wish I had this a couple of weeks ago when my peaches were so ripe they fell apart when I peeled them. Next time!

      1. You just heat them until they reach a boil. No need to really cook them, the heat of the canning pot will do the rest of the job.

  • Last weekend, I worked my way through a bushel of peaches. The last thing on my preserving list was peach halves but by that time the semi-freestone peaches were so ripe they were full-on freestones! Since they were so ripe, I didn’t want to bruise them by peeling them. So I removed the stone but left them unpeeled. I found that most of the peels feel off by themselves during the heating and canning process, so I’m not worried. Much easier than blanching!

  • About the only drawback here is that peaches are said to be one of the most pesticide-intensive crops. I do admit to eating non-organic peaches with skins on, though. I guess it probably depends on how much of them one consumes.

    Also, I grow peaches in my back yard and they are never sprayed. I have just cut up my peaches, skins and all, mashed them to make about 40% liquid, and packed them into freezer bags and frozen them. Later my wife will thaw them and make peach preserves. The skins actually add a lot… they actually get sort of “candied”, which is the only way that I can describe their texture. Honestly, those peach preserves are the best thing we have ever gotten from my garden. Everybody we have given jars to agrees: keep the skins.

    This also applies to plum preserves! Wow, those skins…

    1. i agree Howard.
      i also freeze bags of fruit, chopped and barely cooked. i stir into yoghurt, porridge, rice, spoon over a bit of cake or just have with a little cream all through the winter.
      i love to have so much fruit to have and it can flood, snow or whatever but the taste and those colours help me get through.

  • I am so glad to know you don’t bother with peels! Neither do I! I believe that the peel contains a lot of nutrition and fiber that are lost when peeling. These look so good, off to the store to find some to can! Thanks for the tips.

  • These peaches sound like the perfect thing to eat hot over a bowl of oatmeal in the dead of winter. Maybe with some yogurt? NOM.

  • OOOOOOHHHHHHHH just in time! I’ve been picking a 5gl. bucket nightly from our peach trees! Cannot wait to try this one.

  • What altitude are you at? Asking so I”ll know if I should adjust my processing time. Your recipe sounds great and I can’t wait to give it a try. BTW, I will probably throw in a tsp of lemon juice per jar. Love the brightness lemon adds and a little acid never hurts.

  • Would it be okay to reduce the amount of honey? Or to use part sugar, part honey? I’m not crazy about the flavor of honey in something like this.

    1. Safety wise, it’s perfectly fine. I’ve not done it that way, so I can’t guarantee your success, but I think it should be fine.

  • I am so disappointed with my recent peach canning experience.

    I processed a bushel of peaches, splitting the batch with the intent of doing all of them as a peach-vanilla-bourbon preserve that I found online. As I cooked them down and added the lime juice and sugar i tasted and thought it was soooooo delicious that I would leave one half as it was. I followed the recipe and added the pectin and cooked for the allocated time according to the recipe.

    None of it set up. I almost cried. The lime peaches are delightful and the bourbon vanilla is not as fantastic as I had hoped. However, my brother and father were drenching vanilla ice cream with it and LOVED it. To each his own, I suppose.

    So, what did I do wrong? How would I get the peach to set up??

    1. Angela, when you make jam, you can’t just follow the recipe exactly after adding the pectin. You must always test for set, to ensure that your jam is actually going to set up. It may have needed more cooking in order to activate the pectin.

  • Hey Marisa, maybe this is a stupid question, but I make this ‘super’ lazy and throw all the ingredients into the unheated non reactive pan and let it sit there for an hour before boiling it? One less bowl to clean 🙂

  • I have been making peach honey butter with the skins still on. I coarsely chop 18 (or so) peaches, cook them down with a quarter cup of water until just soft. I puree them with a stick blender until super smooth and then add sugar and honey to taste (3/4 cup honey and 2 c. sugar for me!). Then I cook it down, down down until it’s a butter. DELICIOUS stirred into yogurt or spread on a hot biscuit!

    1. Katie – do you then can the peach butter (hot water bath) or do you just refrigerate it? Sounds delicious!

  • Oh ho! Honey in preserves! NOW we’re talkin’ ! After three years of cane sugar, beet sugar, bags and bags of it, this is a whole new ballgame!

    The peaches are luxuriating in the honey as I write…only one question- are those thinly sliced lemon peels
    enough acid for the batch, or am I thinking too much?

    Also- can I use my copper preserve pan? It is reactive, but I acquired it at TJMaxx years ago for $30. and it has not let me down, but I’ve never used it with a jam with honey…


    1. Jan, yellow peaches are high enough in acid that they can be canned without additional. However, you can always add a squeeze of lemon juice should you feel so moved. I wouldn’t cook this one in your copper preserving pan, though. There’s not enough sugar present to prevent a metallic flavor from leaching into the fruit.

  • Marisa, I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it so much! I had just bought 5lb of peaches, determined to preserve them in some way and then saw this post. So I just made a batch of these and they turned out great! (The peaches kind of separated from the honey and floated to the top, but I assume that’s ok.) This is my second year of canning, so I’m getting more confident, but still appreciate simple recipes with detailed instructions! I am planning to make your tomato jam next. Thanks for the effort you put into the blog, it is definitely appreciated!

    1. Goodness, you’re quick! That kind of separation is totally normal, so there’s nothing to worry about there! I’m delighted to hear that you’re enjoying the blog!

  • I made four pints of peaches in honey, and I am SOLD! I can just imagine this on just about anything in the deep of winter. I did not use my copper pan, used stainless steel instead, and everything worked like a charm. I had a little left over after filling the jars, put it in the fridge, and it received thumbs up all around. Thank you for another great recipe, and your quick response. The rest of the bushel are meeting up with some local honey tomorrow!

  • Thank you!! How timely–I’m just admiring the peaches going very ripe on the counter….and the ones slightly beyond very ripe in the fridge….wondering what to do! Your blot has such great ideas–it helps that we’re on the same growing season down here in Delaware…!!

  • Is there any substitute for the lemon zest or can it be left out and then some lemon juice added when boiling? I don’t have any lemons in the house right now and was hoping to do this without running out to the store. Thanks so much! This looks like a delicious recipe!

  • I made these today! Delicious!! But I was wondering if you could do these in quart containers instead of pints/half pints? If so how much more or a process time would it need? THANKS!

  • Did you post the honey sweetened peach vanilla jam recipe yet? I bought another half bushel of peaches with it in mind.

  • I made this a couple days ago, and while it is beautiful in the jars, it didn’t really set up. I’m sure it will be fine in oatmeal or yogurt as is, but I’m wondering if I were to open the jars, boil it down some more, and re-can it, would that work? Any issues with double processing? Loved the small batch white peach honey jam, and your honey peach chutney too. Also made ketchup, basic tomato sauce and tomato chutney from your Food in Jars book last weekend. YUM. Oh, and the caramelized red onion relish. My daughter says I’m obsessed! Thank you!

    1. Karen, this isn’t a product designed to set up. It’s not a jam. It’s more like peach slices preserved in a syrup.

  • I just cracked open a jar of these that were canned a few weeks back. (Just wanted to test them out) Oh my goodness!!!! Soooooo delicious. Looks like a good chunk of the two bushels of peaches waiting on me will be going toward more of these. Thanks so much for the superdelicious recipe.

  • Shoot. So, I made this recipe with one major exception: I forgot to boil the peaches! I rushed through and packed the honey soaked peaches, unheated, into jars and processed them. Are they beyond saving?

  • Hi there,

    I am new to this canning process and some of the instructions are hard to know what you are talking about.

    “prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.”

    Can you explain what a boiling water bath canner is? And what do you mean by placing the lids in a small suacepan and bring to a simmer? Why do I need to bring the lids to a simmer?

    I love how simple this looks but the instructions are a little hard to figure out.

    Thanks so much!

  • on a fuzz scrubber for peaches — i use our standard kitchen sponge with blue scrubbie on one side. For those who don’t know — blue scrubby is the most gentle– won’t scratch plastics; green scrubby will scratch plastics but is strong enough to scrub mild stuck stuff, and Stainless steel is for severely burnt stuff where you don’t want to scratch the pot.

    Anyway, the blue scrubby took off the lightly soaked fuzz just beautifully.

  • These are SO good! I may never can peaches a different way-we’re already down to 2 jars and I’m hoarding them (so much for Christmas gifts) till I can get more peaches.

    Can you can plums the same way? I just lucked into a almost 40 pounds of mirabelle plums that need preserved NOW. I’m zipping through jam and butter but I wonder (since they are a sweet stone fruit as well) if this would work. Gonna give it a try-it will keep my hands off those last peach jars.


  • I just opened my first jar of these and they are AMAZING with a wonderful peach flavor. It was perfect with my yogurt and cereal this morning. I was worried when I first put them up that the honey flavor overwhelmed, but after a few weeks of sitting in the jars, the peach flavor is much stronger. It was also super easy to put up, so thank you for that! My only change was to use an immersion blender at the end to more fully break up some of the peach slices. Will definitely make again next year.

  • Since it is just honey and no “sugar” and it is not a jam with pectin, can this still be okay (safe) for a year? I have read that when using honey it is safe to use honey for fifty percent of the sugar called for in some recipes.

    1. It’s totally safe. It’s not the sweetener that determines safety, but the acid content. Peaches have plenty of acid.

  • I just canned this today! This recipe is awesome. Thank you so much! I am telling my family I want your cookbook for Christmas.

  • I made this and it came out very well! I posted a pic on Instagram if you would like to see. I didn’t have honey so I used 1-1/2 cups of sugar (I don’t like things too sweet anyway). In fact, I didn’t have any lemon either so that also didn’t make it in. But I did can them following your suggested boiling time. Thanks for your blog; I don’t can (or cook) that often, but I always think of you when it is summertime and the output of the garden needs preserving!

  • Hi Marisa!

    I’ve done a lot of canning/foraging this summer. SEVERAL varieties of strawberry jam, TONS of mulberry jelly, crushed tomatoes, banana peppers, applesauce, apple butter, amaretto apricot butter, and a bunch of other stuff. I did so much that I missed the “canning boat” on plum and peach season. Being the crazy food hoarder that I am I went to Costco made an impulse purchase of 10 lbs of peaches and like 4-5 lbs of plums. I’ve had my eye on these lazy peach preserves for a while and am definitely going to do that with the peaches. I wasn’t going to do anything with the plums (other than eat them raw), but since I have quite a few of those I was wondering if this method would work for them as well. As you might have noticed I have quite a large stock of sweet, sugary jams/jellies and am just trying to get a little variety of the slightly healthier/ less sugary items to enjoy during the winter (besides low sugar applesauce). I would greatly appreciate any somewhat healthy ideas on how to use these plums.

    P.S. Thank you so much for all of your recipes and expertise. I look all over the web and in books for canning ideas and usually end up coming back to your blog every time. You are my preserve hero<3

  • Hi Marisa! I canned my peaches in pint jars, but one of the pints was only filled halfway, does all that extra air in the jar present a food safety issue?

    1. Yes. You don’t want to process half full jars. There are three issues that arise.

      1. You won’t be able to fully vent the jar of its oxygen and so it has a higher chance of going bad, because oxygen harbors micro-organisms that can cause spoilage.
      2. The presence of that oxygen can also cause oxidation, which can lead to flavor loss.
      3. Half full jars often float in the canner, which can lead to breakage.

      1. Marisa, Thank you for your response. I own and love both your books, and it is incredibly good to know that you are available to answer questions that arise in canning projects!

        1. Molly, I do my very best at answering questions and getting back to people! I’m not always perfect at it, but I really try. 🙂

  • Hi Marisa, I have made these peaches a couple of times now and just love them! I saw where another poster had asked about peaches separating from the juice…I have that same problem with my most recent batch, and even though I made sure to leave the proper headspace, there was very little headspace in some of the jars after processing. And as much as I tried getting all the air bubbles out, some jars still have air pockets between the fruit. Thinking maybe the air just moved as the jars were processing…but anyways, do you think this is something to worry about? All the jars sealed tightly. Just nervous about possible spoilage, I guess, due to those air bubbles and lack of headspace. Would hate to see my hard work and yummy fruit wasted!

  • I was looking for a quick way to process four ripe peaches, and I stumbled across your recipe. I loved the idea of honey with peaches, so I gave it a try. Now I regret having canned all my other peaches, because these preserves are outstanding! I might need to go buy another bushel, or else I will be dreaming of these preserves until next summer

  • Hi, love your blog!
    Could you leave these mellowing in the honey for longer than an hour? Would that be an ok point to pause overnight? Or would it be better to bring them to a boil and then pause, bringing them back to a boil before canning?

    1. Yes. That’s totally fine. You could leave them to mellow in the honey for up to 24 hours. Just make sure to put them in the fridge if you’re going to let them rest for more than a couple hours. Otherwise, they might start to ferment.

  • Just came across this blog today. I need to try this, normally i would peel and boil my sugar water.
    Am i still adding water to jars and then hot water bath? Or is there enough juices with the honey and lemon you don’t need to add a brine? Sorry for the stupid question!

    1. You prepare the jars in a boiling water bath canner the same way you always do. And there are enough juices with the honey and water that you don’t need to add any extra liquid. The recipe works as written.

  • I have made these with yellow peaches before and we absolutely love them! This summer I’m only getting white peaches in our CSA though, and I know they need more acidity. How much lemon juice or citric acid should I add? Thanks!

    1. I tend to acidify white peaches and nectarines the same way I do tomatoes. One tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid in every pint of product canned.

  • I honestly feel like I ruined some very good peaches! I don’t know if it’s the honey I don’t ;like or the lemon zest. I really wanted to like this but it isn’t very good to me. Sorry.

    1. Not every recipe is right for every person. Hopefully you’ll find someone with whom to share these jars since the preserve didn’t work for you.

  • I just broke these out to chop up for peach pecan muffins, and it’s a shot of August in January. And as two batches were part of my Covid stress canning binge this summer, I see more muffins in my future.

    Easy to do, and I’m so glad I went for it!

  • Dear Marrisa can i use sure jell i want to make peach preserves and also do i use the honey and what kind? do i use vanilla extract and lemon i want to use this on toast

    1. Surejell doesn’t work with honey. It only sets with conventional sugar. I’d suggest you look into Pomona’s Pectin if you want to use honey.

  • I just tried this recipe on a nice crop of very early peaches from a dwarf peach tree. Used sugar instead of honey and significantly increased the citrus using orange and lemon juice instead of lemon rind. Beautiful red-orange color, great taste, and the amount remaining after the jars were filled jelled nicely in the refrigerator. We have not canned anything in years but this was a wonderfully easy recipe. Definitely will repeat next season.

    1. I use whatever it mild and not too precious. This isn’t the place for really expensive raw honey, as the cooking process robs it of its virtue.

  • 5 stars
    I love your blog… I am usually wary of people posting canning recipes as I have found them, at times, not to adhere to safe canning guidelines, but you do your research! My question is about cherries and other stone fruits, preservation in alcohol, such as vodka, rum, and Everclear; a riff off rumtopf. With whole cherries I’ve been concerned about the skin keeping the alcohol out so I started using a toothpick to pierce the skin opposite the stem end. I have been storing everything in an extra pantry fridge since the product was not processed. Does heating cause the alcohol to evaporate to the point is would loose any preserving effect, or intoxicating effect for that matter? Also wondering if you could come up with something to approximate Luxardo Cherries- they’re REALLY expensive and I’d love to be able to make something similar.

  • 5 stars
    Great recipe! I had already canned some peach jam that I had peeled but I still had alot more peaches from my tree to deal with. I could not fathom peeling all those peaches again so I was happy to find your recipe. I was out of honey so I used sugar instead. It came out so tasty! Instead of zest, I added the juice of an entire lemon. I also diced and added the entire rind of the lemon I juiced. It is SO good.

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! As stated above, I changed it up a bit but that fact that you didn’t peel the peaches inspired me to try it.

    1. I bring it to a boil and once the fruit is hot through, it is done. This isn’t a long cooked, reduced preserve. It’s quick.

  • 5 stars
    I lucked upon your recipe today and made it with Rio Oso peaches from my tree. It came out amazing and tastes delicious. I added some ground ginger and cooked it for a couple hours on low until it thickened then processed in a water bath canner. I won’t make it any other way from now on…and that from the daughter of a Home Ec teacher mother. Too easy!

  • 4 stars
    I am new to canning so I hope I did this correctly. I followed the directions to the letter but there wasn’t enough liquid to fill all the jars. So I boiled some water, added some sugar and lemon and filled the final jar.

    1. The yield varies with this recipe. You just funnel the peaches into the jars until the jars are full. If you didn’t have enough liquid, you probably used too many jars. But what you did is also fine.

      PS – Love your email address! DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series too.

  • 5 stars
    I have made these several times now and shared this recipe widely. This is the only recipe I use for peaches. So easy and so amazing.