Answer: I think when it comes down to choosing peaches for canning, the only thing to really be concerned with are matters of convenience. It is a lot easier to prepare a lot of peaches for canning if they are freestone peaches, which means the stones or pits are easily removed. If I am canning a 1/2 bushel of peaches I don’t want to be having to spend time cutting around the pit. The freestone peaches typically take longer to ripen than clingstone, so you want to wait later in the season to can your peaches. Plus I think it’s a good idea to just enjoy the fresh peaches while they are available and can some at the end of the season.
Now when it comes down to particular freestone varieties, any variety will work. Any peach that you can pick yourself would be a great option, because you can get a lot for your money that way. Red Haven peaches may a good choice, because they are one of the most popular peaches, so it’s easier to be able to pick them yourselves or be able to buy them in mass quantities. Also red havens are a good size peach. If you buy small peaches it will just increase your work of peeling and taking out pits. If you can find it, Canadian Harmony is great for canning because they are large peaches, so less work is involved.
Another thing you want to look is if you can find a peach that doesn’t turn brown when cut. This will make your canned peaches more attractive. The Cresthaven variety is an example of a peach that is resistant to browning. If you can’t find a variety that says it’s resistant you can always use citric acid or lemon juice to prevent browning.
Where is the best place to buy a good peach? Click here to read my article on shopping for peaches.