Sometimes a peach won’t peel or the pit won’t come out clean. Sometimes both things happen. That’s when I preserve brandied peach chunks.
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That was how these went:
Sometimes preserving just won’t do what you want it to. And, for me, that generally happens with peaches.
They seem innocent enough. They practically taunt you with their cuteness and call to you with their sweet demeanor. And some of them are just that sweet – but others are demons in disguise. And that’s the problem with peaches – you can’t tell the nice ones from the troublemakers.
And of course, there is the matter of my own daftness (that’s also a word today). After all, I peeled my first 85 pints with a knife. I had no idea that you could ‘simply’ boil them for a few seconds and then they’d shed their coats like a butterfly sheds it’s cocoon and instantly becomes an object of beauty.
Now I know there are some people reading this and yelling, ‘LIAR!’ And they’re right. Sometimes a peach just won’t peel. That was my humbling lesson this year. Albeit, I did make some mistakes when I tried to peel them:
- The water wasn’t quite hot enough
- I put too many in at once (lowering the water temperature further)
- The peaches were tight and thin-skinned
- The peaches weren’t super-ripe.
- I didn’t buy freestones
So I basically cooked the first quarter-inch, was left with most of the skin and swore a little. And not the really bad words, but enough that the peaches knew I meant business. I quickly came to terms with the importance of preserving being fun and committed to finding the silver lining (after all, this was nowhere near the crime scene that was nearly created when we peeled 6.5 pounds of garlic).
Two weeks later I read the following tweet from one of my Favourite Chef’s, Kyle Demming (of the soon-to-open Sausage Partners):
“Preserves are about making your winter tolerable not your summer miserable, so no, I don’t peel my peaches…”
- 6 pounds of peaches – this will make 4-5 pints.
- We can them in a light syrup (20% sugar mixture by weight). If using volume, dissolve 3 cups of water with 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons of sugar.
- Optional: 1 tablespoon of brandy per jar.
- Obliterate your peaches using any means necessary. Tear them, rip them, chunk them, cut them – bite in to them if you have to (errr…maybe not the last one). Have some fun and forget about being perfect like Martha – pretend, instead, that you’re the Rambo of the kitchen. Don’t take any lip from them peaches.
- If you’re not fast, they will brown. Add some lemon juice and toss as you go to help control the browning.
- Bring simple syrup to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
- Gently boil fruit slices for 3-4 minutes.
- Add peaches into hot, sterile cans.
- Optional: pour a tablespoon of brandy into the jar.
- Pour hot syrup into jar (use care). Gently jiggle to remove air bubbles and repeat until there is a half inch of headspace remaining.
- Gently jiggle the jar (wearing oven mitts) to free any bubbles to the surface – leave a half inch of headspace.
- Process for 20 minutes in a hot water bath.
If you struggle with having fruit and vegetables float when canning, check out our article on “seat belting” which can be used with peaches to keep them buckled in!
We`ve shared a lot about eaches in the past, here`s a few other and ideas:
- Peach slices with Maderia
- Butterscotch Peach Jam
- Peaches also appeared in ouur Preserving Summer poster.