Even as orchards are filling up with early-season apples, peaches are still coming off the trees, and are in abundance at local farmer’s markets. Check out a local orchard this weekend, enjoy a peep at the early-season foliage, and stock up on some of the last of the year’s summer fruit. This is an easy way to preserve the bounty and enjoy the delicious flavor of peaches all year long.
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Adapted from Honey-Spiced Peaches and Peaches in Syrup in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry & L. Devine
- 5 lbs yellow peaches (I got mine at Dressel Farms in New Paltz, NY)
- citric acid or lemon juice (optional)
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1 and 1/2 cups honey
- cinnamon sticks (2-inch segments)
- whole cloves
- whole allspice
- whole star anise
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Fill a large stockpot halfway full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Wash peaches and slice a small X in the blossom end of each peach. Boil peaches, one or two at a time, for about 1 minute to loosen skins, then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into an ice bath. Once cool enough to handle, the skins should slip off easily. Peel, trim off any brown spots, halve, pit and slice each half into 4 segments. Store peaches in a citric acid (1 tsp/2 quarts water) or lemon juice (1/4 cup/1 quart water) bath to prevent browning. Repeat until all peaches are peeled & sliced.
- In a medium stockpot, add water and honey and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and add peaches (remove from citric acid bath with a slotted spoon), one layer at a time, to hot syrup. Allow peaches to warm through for about 3 minutes.
- Fill hot, sterilized, 8-oz canning jars with: 1 cinnamon stick, 3/4 tsp whole allspice, and 1/4 heaping tsp of whole cloves OR 1 star anise. Using a funnel and slotted spoon, add warmed peach slices, tapping the jar and rearranging the peach slices so that there are not large air pockets, to a generous 1/2-inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over peaches to 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rim, afix lid & screwband, and place jar in the water bath. Repeat until peaches are gone (do not process partially filled jars; store in the refrigerator and eat within 2 weeks). For pint jars, double the amount of spices per jar.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes for both half-pint and pint jars. Cool, label and store.
Yields about 5 pints or 11 half-pint jars.
- Use in oatmeal, chopped in muffin batter, on top of cereal or pancakes, or chopped and drizzled over angel food cake, pound cake, cheesecake or ice cream.
- Nectarines would be equally delicious.
- The original recipe also called for 3/4 cups sugar in the syrup; if you want a sweeter syrup, add the sugar (or simply increase the amount of honey).
- If you have trouble finding whole spices, try Penzey’s; that’s where I get mine.
- To make this recipe 100% local, omit the spices, or try using dried spicebush berries if you can find them.
Canned, in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Ambient light will cause the color of the peaches to fade.