The end of summer is approaching and the local peaches will be gone. Here’s a recipe for bottled summer, a fresh way to store your peaches to enjoy this fall, winter and spring. They make a great topping for yogurt or rice pudding.
They also make a pretty mean peach shortcake…
Peaches in Honeyed Syrup
Adapted from Put ‘Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
For the Peaches:
10 lbs peaches, preferably freestone (I found this to be about 18 peaches, but make sure to weigh it out)
500 mg Vitamin C (6 tablets, crushed)
3 quarts cold water
4 cups ice
For the Syrup:
6 3/4 cups water
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup raw honey
(1) Prepare all of the jars, lids and rings that you will use. Make sure that they have been properly sterilized in a water bath.
(2) In a large glass bowl, combine the vitamin C and the 3 quarters of cold water. Whisk to combine, then add the ice. This solution will prevent the peaches from browning, and ensure they stay firm, even if stored for an entire year.
(3) Bring a stock pot of water to boil. Blanch the whole peaches for 30 seconds, a few a time. Drop the peaches into the prepared ice/acid bath. After you have blanched all the peaches, skin the peaches. You can cut the peaches into halves or segment them. (I segmented them). Place the cut fruit back in the bath to avoid browning.
(4) Drain the peaches. Pack them into jars. You want to be gentle so that the peaches don’t break apart, but make sure you get as many pieces in each jar as possible while leaving enough head space.
(5) Combine the 6 /34 cups water, sugar, and honey in a saucepan.* Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat. Make sure to stir occasionally so that the sugar is dissolved. Allow to boil 2-3minutes, until the mixture looks cohesive. It will be only a little bit thicker than water, but sticky when it cools. Pour the hot syrup over the peaches. Make sure that the syrup completely covers the peaches by 1/2 of an inch. You’ll want to leave another 1/2 inch of head space between the liquid and the lid. Tap the jars gently (or swirl them, as Sherri suggests). Apply the lids and rings.
(6) Process in a water bath for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and take off the lid of the pot. Allow the jars to sit in the hot water another five minutes. The next day, check the seals. If the seals are good, store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.**
* It is easy to vary this recipe by adding herbs to the syrup while it is cooking. In the picture, I flavored my syrup with 1 tablespoon of lavender buds. I’ve also tried this recipe flavored with chunks of fresh ginger and vanilla beans.
**For long term storage, I prefer to use my basement. If you don’t have one, pick a dark cupboard that is not close to your dishwasher or oven.