Caution against canning white-fleshed peaches and nectarines

Unlike their yellow-fleshed cousins, white-fleshed peaches (Prunus persica) boast a creamy pinkish-white flesh that is sweeter to taste and low in acidity. Because the peach tree is a self-fertilizing tree, white peaches occur in nature, but they also develop as a result of hybridization. Varieties of white peaches have been documented as early as the 1600s; however, these fruits grew in commercial popularity after the 1980s and retail markets commonly sell white-fleshed peaches or nectarines in the height of summer.

There is increasing evidence that some varieties of white-flesh peaches or nectarines are higher in pH (i.e., lower in acid) than traditional yellow-fleshed varieties. The natural pH of some white-fleshed peaches or nectarines can exceed 4.6, making them a low-acid food for canning purposes. At this time there is no low-acid pressure process available for white-flesh peaches or nectarines, or research to support adding acid for safe boiling water or atmospheric steam canning. Freezing is the recommended method of preserving white-flesh peaches or nectarines.

Consumers wishing to preserve peaches or nectarines are encouraged to preserve only the yellow-fleshed varieties until research-tested methods can be developed for canning peaches, peach topping, peach pie filling, classic peach jam, peach ginger jam (yum!), peach pureedried peaches, or peach apple salsa (delicious!).

A handy reminder is available of two food safety updates when preserving food: Caution against canning elderberries and white-fleshed peaches. Stay healthy and safe preserving! Barb