Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fresh Peaches in a Sugar Solution

On one of the hottest days of the season, I ventured downtown to the Farmer's Market to buy peaches to eat, to preserve, to make jam, and perhaps wine.  With all that in mind, I got 1/2 a bushel of still rather firm South Carolina peaches and went to work.

Light Sugar Solution:  I used 6 cups of water, 2 cups of sugar,.and added a stick of cinnamon and a handful of whole cloves.  I heated the water/sugar solution and set it aside when the sugar was dissolved. It did not take long for it to get heated and dissolved.

Peeling Peaches: Dip peaches in boiling water for 20 to 40 seconds.  Cool in cold water or ice water.  Peel when cool enough to handle.

Preparing the peaches:  I used 10 - 12 medium sized peaches.  I first removed the skin and I cut them up any way I could and filled three pints with peaches and poured the sugar solution into the jars.  I dipped a spoon into the jars and stirred gently to remove air bubbles.

Water Bath:  I put a dish towel in the bottom of a large and deep pot and put the three jars into the pot. making sure that they were wrapped in dish towels to avoid rattling against each other and possibly breaking.

The jars were covered with water and came to a gentle boil and I set the clock for twenty (20) minutes.  When the time was up, I emptied the water and carefully removed the jars and tightened the lids.
The lids did not move which meant that the jars can be stored in the cabinet.  If the lids had moved, I would have stored the jars in the fridge.

I was quite happy with the result but I could have packed the peaches tighter still.  I still have the sugar solution available.

Hot packing the peaches:  I had plenty of sugar solution and peaches left so I decided to peel and slice the peaches the best I could.  I brought the sugar solution to boil and dropped in the peaches and let them come to simmer for five (5) minutes.  I proceeded by filling the jars with the hot peaches and the solution and gave them a water bath for ten (10) minutes.

I only got two jars of the hot packed peaches but I had enough left over for a cup of the peaches to taste.  On the second batch of making the peach preserves, I skipped dipping the peaches in hot water to peel them when cool:  I just peeled them.  I am happy with the outcome.

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