Last month, several entries on this blog highlighted dishes made with one of my favorite summer fruits, peaches. This was due, in part, to the generous gift of Georgia peaches from my friends Dave and Laura. Well, I have even more entries from Peachapoolza to offer you, dear reader.
My friends Dave and Wendy are always going on about New Jersey peaches. They claim they are the best in the country. They claim they are even better than Texas peaches. I finally asked them to prove it. So, they brought back a peck of freshly picked peaches from their recent trip home. They bought a mix of both white and yellow cling-free peaches.
We ate several right away, and as the juice ran down my chin I asked Wendy if there was a particular peach recipe she wanted me to make. At this point Dave chimed in. You see, I hadn’t directed my question to him because he is allergic to the fruit. But, I discovered that he can sometimes eat peaches if they have been cooked. He asked if I could can peaches. Yes, I said. Then Dave wanted to know if I could make sugary, syrupy peaches that he could spoon onto ice cream. Yes, yes I can.
I altered slightly my father’s spiced peach recipe to work better for ice cream or cereal topping. Delicious. I still prefer Texas peaches, but I’m willing to admit to just a slight bias for my home state products.
Canned Spiced Peaches
Makes about 4 pints
about 4 lbs fresh, ripe peaches
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
4 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole cloves
To make it easier to peel the peaches, I blanched them. Place whole peaches in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes and then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the fruit from cooking and make them cool enough to handle. The skin should slide right off of ripe peaches. If it doesn’t you can finish peeling them with a paring knife.
My father cans his peaches whole, but I decided to slice and pit the fruit for this batch. Set them aside and prepare the syrup.
In a large saucepan, combine sugars, water, vinegar, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring it to a boil, then stir and turn down heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. You can take this time to sterilize your jars and lids.
Add the peach slices to the syrup and let them cook for about 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and spoon the peaches and syrup into your prepared jars. Make sure the threads of the jars are clean of syrup so you’ll get a good seal then screw on the lids.
I use a water bath process to seal the jars by submerging them in boiling water. For pint-size jars, I let them stay in the boiling water for about 20 minutes. Then I lift them out of the water and place them on a towel. As they cool down, you should hear an occasional pinging noise as the lids pop from a vacuum forming. After a couple of hours of cooling, press down on the center of each lid. There should not be any flex. If the lid flexes, repeat the process and re-submerge the jars in boiling water for another 20 minutes to reach the vacuum seal.