“What does a peach need from a cook like me? Nothing. I cannot improve upon it, try as I might. A ripe peach is an improbable fusion of extravagant juice, delicate perfume and tender, buttery flesh. The moment I try to cook with it, the peach becomes more ordinary.”
— Celia Barbour, New York Times
A bittersweet thing really, because freestone peaches mark the end of August in Ontario. (Thank goodness I don’t have to go to school in a few weeks. Ha.)
So the preserventure continues. This time – peach slices in vanilla syrup in perfect pint jars. These lovely rounds were from my favourite fruit farmers Mimi and Milan of Bizjak Farms in Beamsville, Ontario.
Mimi sent me home with a freestone variety and also Marygolds – which are clingstone, but she assured me that they preserve beautifully and aren’t hard to pit (they weren’t).
Eric wore a orange-sherbet-coloured shirt for the occasion too…
Stuffed and ready for syrup!
Here’s the recipe from “Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavours for the Modern Pantry” by Liana Krissoff. Read more about the book in my other post here…
Peaches in Vanilla Syrup
Makes about 10 pint jars or 4 quart jars
1 teaspoon ascorbic acid mix, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
8 pounds peaches, freestone preferably because your life will be easier : )
4 cups sugar (This seemed like a lot to me, so I cut it down to 3 cups)
2 vanilla beans, split, each piece cut into inch-size pieces
Prepare the peaches…
Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in the ascorbic acid mix/lemon/vinegar.
To peel them… Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and fill another large bowl with ice water. Gently drop 3-4 peaches into the water, then fish them out with a slotted spoon after 30 seconds to 1 minute and put them in the ice water to cool. Slip off the peels. Once peeled, slice into quarters, and then put them in acidulated water bath.
Prepare the syrup…
In a medium-sized pot, combine the sugar and 2 quarts water and bring the syrup to a boil.
Prepare for water-bath canning…
Wash the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot, and put the flat lids in a heatproof bowl. Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into this bowl with the lids.
Use a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.
Pack the peaches into the jars…
Drain the peaches from the acidulated water, and pack them tightly into the jars, leaving 1 inch headspace at the top. Ladle the hot syrup into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. I didn’t actually use all the syrup – almost over half remained in the pot. Could be because we were very diligent packers…
Slip 1 or 2 piece vanilla bean into each jar. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles around the inside of each jar. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then drain the water off the jar lids and put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it’s finger-tight. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil pints for 20 minutes or quarts for 25 minutes. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.