Yeah, you probably have that song in your head now. You’re welcome!
My dear cousin, Natalie, let me know about a farm who sends a truck of peaches up from FL. I’m usually a pretty locally-focused guy, but she swore these were the best peaches I’d ever eat so I took her at her word. We hopped into the car and drove to the a hardware store parking lot in Chillicothe, the original capital of Ohio.
I had planned to buy one box, which I did. As I helped Natalie carry the boxes she was picking up for coworkers I wondered if I should buy another or really try them first. At the price they were selling for, I figured why not. I bought a second one.
Between the two of us, we had three giant boxes of peaches. By the time I got home, I felt a little ridiculous, but then ideas of all the great things I could make for people came whirling into my head…
More recipes to follow, but here’s how we simply canned some of them:
- ripe peaches
- Wash canning jars, lids & rings then sterilize jars by steaming them for 10 minutes. Also sterilize a large funnel and ladle.
- Make a very dilute syrup using one part sugar to eight parts water. Put all ingredients in a very large pot and heat just until sugar disolves. Cover and set aside
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce to barely simmering.
- After you’ve washed the peaches and removed the stems toss 6 or 7 of them in the boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute. The time needed will depend on how ripe they are. Immediately pull them out with a slotted spoon and dunk into ice-cold water for about 15 seconds to stop the cooking. The skins should just slide right off. Save the skins aside in a bowl for another use.
- Cut peaches in whatever shape you prefer to use: halved, sliced, diced. Save pits aside in the bowl with the skins. If any pits are cracked or otherwise open, throw them away.
- Once you’ve cut your peaches, toss them in the large pot with the syrup and cook just until they begin to boil. Try not to let this boil over or you’ll have a sticky mess on your hands that will later crystalize. Yeah, I did that. :o)
- Ladle peaches into sterilized jars and pack them in as much as possible, then top with syrup. Try to get as much air out of each can as possible as air can be the enemy of preservation. Use a sterilized butter knife or skewer if necessary. Fill jars with syrup to within 1/4″ of the top. Wipe the rims, then top with heated lids then rings. Tighten just until snug.
- Process in a water bath for 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool on countertop until you can comfortably touch them, then tighten rings once more. Cool completely then store in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to open a jar of summer.
I’m sure some of these will go into cakes, pies, tarts, muffins and other typical peach concoctions, but I’m especially excited about their savory applications–maybe a barbecue sauce, a shrimp dish or even something with pasta. We’ll see…