Day two of my 30 day challenge and what did I do? Drag out the canner I poached from my mom’s pantry years ago, and fire myself up to use it for the second time. Ever.
This time, instead of salsa, I chose two recipes from my Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Spiced Pickled Peaches and Peach Slices with Maple Syrup. I think my choice was inspired partly by a visit with a childhood friend in San Francisco last month, who off-handedly mentioned her desire to can peaches. (This one’s for you, Jaime!)
Canning is by no means difficult, but requires some advance planning. Peak-season ingredients? Check. I’d picked up a flat of peaches at Costco last week that were perfectly ripe by today. I imagine that the more you do it, the more familiar you become with the heat jars/cook food/process jars ordeal and the less you have to look at the instructions.
Let’s hope I don’t kill anyone with these creations. And that they’re tasty to boot. I got to swim in the ocean today, and stuff mason jars full of peaches. Not a bad Friday.
Spiced Pickled Peaches
Makes 3 quart (1 L) jars, depending on the size of peaches. I halved the below recipe.
21-24 small peaches, or large ones cut into quarters (I used the latter)
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp whole allspice
- Brings a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Dip peaches into boiling water for about 30 seconds or until skins will slip off easily. Peel peaches and place in a solution of 8 cups water and 1 tsp lemon juice.
- Bring sugar, vinegar, and water to a boil over high heat in a large stainless steel saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Tie cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a cheescloth bag, add to sugar. Reduce heat, cover, and boil gently for 10 minutes.
- Drain peaches and add to syrup. Return to a boil and boil gently for 5 minutes. Discard spice bag.
- Remove hot jars from canner. Remove peaches from liquid with a slotted spoon; pack into jars. Pour liquid over peaches to within 1/2 inch of rim. Process 20 minutes for pint (500 mL) jars and 25 minutes for quart (1 L) jars.
Peach Slices with Maple Syrup
Makes about 3 cups
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp sherry, optional (I used sweet vermouth)
6 large peaches, peeled and sliced
- Follow step one above.
- Combine syrup and sugar in a 4-cup microwavable container. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Stir in sherry if using.
- Add peach slices to container and microwave for 5 minutes or just until mixture begins to boil. Cool, stirring occasionally.
- Pack into clean jars to within 1/2 inch of rim. Cover with tight-fitting lids. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for longer storage. I processed them as above in a hot water canner, because I already had it going.