how to do it
Â Â Â I want to talk to you again about how you can make all sorts of yummy things by using every part of certain produce. I showed you last week when we talked about using Every part of the ear of Corn. I talked about it off and on during myÂ Making Do Without Missing A Thing series where I shared how you can use the parts of veggies you throw away to make soup stock, or add extra nutrition to meals and stews.Â Â So today is just another way to teach you to think outside of the box and look things a little differently.
I am a peach fanatic. Seriously. I dont know if it was growing up in a peach orchard community or what that brought me to this love affair with peaches, but I do know that living up here in the frozen north has taught me to value them more than I ever did when they were available in abundance.
Every year it seems I put up more peaches, and every year it seems like we run out earlier and earlier. *sigh* A girl’s work is never done, I guess.
But this year, I thought I would finally get enough on the shelf for everyone to enjoy in abundance, so I purchased five lugs of peaches (lugs run about 20 lbs, up to 25 lbs depending on size of peaches).
Today we are talking about what you can do when three of them all of a sudden decide it is time to be ripe on the same day. Yes. at least 60 lbs of peaches, all waiting to be made into something, with fruit flies circling hopefully. After you have been canning like a fiend for five days straight.
I knew this year I wanted to put up more Spiced Peaches than I did last year. It is a simple variation on sugar syrup that tastes amazing when you open those peaches and eat them at the dinner table.
I cut mine into halves, but you can also do slices for filling your jars with. I also counted my halves and made sure in each jar were five peaches since we have five people in my family. You can be more discriminating if you want, or just throw them in there. 🙂 To each his own, right?
As you peel the peaches, be sure to set aside the skins and the pits for the other two main recipes I am going to be sharing with you: Cinnamon Peach Syrup (for flavoring everything from iced tea to pancake syrup), and Peach Jam.
- 3 cups of sugar, and 8 cups of water. Add one or two cinnamon sticks to this once it begins to heat up. Each time you begin to get low on this liquid, you add back in the liquid from the heating peaches to make up to 8 cups. Your color of syrup will get darker and more cinnamon-y looking with each batch. This is one of the key tricks to making amazing spiced peaches.
For a full canner load of 8 quarts at a time, you will need 40 peeled, halved peaches. You can peel peaches by putting them into a bath of boiling water 3 or 4 at a time, then shocking them in a pan of ice water. This slips the skins right off. I, however, feel that is a good waste of peach juice, since it heats the peaches, and you lose juice in the hot water and then down your arm when you slice and pit them. So I do things the old fashioned way, sitting at the table with my mom, and peel them by hand. Sometimes faster is not always better. 🙂
- remember to save the peel and pits, by placing them in a large ziploc bag. Once it is full, you can seal it and throw it in the freezer or fridge to wait until you have the time to do it. We got three full ziploc gallon freezer bags with doing this many peaches. Whatever you do, dont leave them out, because you will have a zillion fruit flies to deal with in the morning.
- Once you have the peaches peeled, place them in a large bowl or pot with water and lemon juice to keep them from discoloring. I used my large stock pot so that I could just go straight to the stove with each batch.
When your peaches are heated through for 5 minutes (mine will bubble for five), using a funnel, fill each jar with 5 peaches, cover with syrup up to 1 ” head space, wipe rim, place lid and rings, tighten, then place jar in canner. Peaches are high acid so can be water bath canned. This year I just used my pressure canner as a water bath canner, sealing the lid to keep the steam in, and it really cut down on the oppressive humidity I am used to with water bath canning. Give it a try!
- Â process in a water bath with the water at least 1″ over the top of the jars for 25 minutes for Quarts, 20 minutes for pints. Once they are done, remove from water and let stand on a towel on the counter until they are cool to the touch. Check seals, remove rings, and then label and store.
- Remember, each time that you are refilling the syrup, use the liquid from heating the peaches to create the “water” for your syrup, and then add the required amount of sugar in the recipe above. You can see on the original picture above how the color deepens on the different jars.
All that water that the peaches were heated in is just a simple form of peach juice, and people make jellies and syrups out of juice all the time. So why waste it? I promise you, this winter when you want to have a cup of hot tea and want to jazz it up with something, this syrup will be just the ticket. Or if you want to thicken it up with a little brown sugar on a cold morning and pour it over pancakes, Â you will thank me over and over again for making you realize you can do this.
- for every 8 cups of liquid you have left between the peach pan and the syrup pan, you needÂ 6 cups of sugar. I chose to use a combination of white sugar and dark brown sugar, but you could use just about anything for this—honey, sucanat, etc.
- I added two cinnamon sticks, and about 2 tsp of coriander seeds. You could add a vanilla bean if you have one. Whatever you want to flavor your syrup with.
- turn the burner on med-high and cook the syrup until it is about half of what you had before you started, and be sure to stir frequently. This will scorch if you are not careful, and then it will be ruined.
- ladle into jelly jars, wipe rims, cap and put on rings, and process in a water bath solution for 10 minutes for the smaller jars, 15 minutes for full-sized pints.