The key to success in canning your own brandied peaches is the careful attention to detail in the preparation phase of the project. Begin by assembling all your supplies and checking to make sure the jars and rings are in good condition. Look especially for nicks on the sealing surface of the jar top and cracks or bubble defects in the body of the jar. Discard any defective jars. You can find a wide assortment of decorative jars at your canning supply center and brandied peaches deserve a special jar. Wash the jars and the metal screw bands in hot soapy water and rinse well. Leave the jars and rings in hot water until you need them. I put my big roaster pan on the stove on low heat with a protective ring under it and fill it with clean hot water to put my jars and rings in. Be sure you have assembled the tools you will need:
1. A sharp paring knife
2. wooden spoon with a long handle
3. a jar funnel
4. a ladle
5. a non-metal tool to slide between the jar and the fruit to release air bubbles
6. a boiling water bath canner
7. jar tongs
8. clean cloth for wiping the jar top and threads
9. 2 quarts lemonade
You will need 8 pounds of peaches to make approximately 6 quarts of brandied peaches. Find fully ripe (but not soft) freestone peaches. The peaches should be free of blemishes and have good color.
8 pounds firm fully ripe freestone peaches
6 pounds of sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 quarts boiling water
2 pints peach brandy
Follow these steps to complete the project.
1. Sort your fruit to select the very best for good appearance in the jar and top quality in taste.
2. Dip peaches two or three at a time into boiling water for one minute to loosen the skins and immediately plunge into cold water.
3. Drain the peaches and cut in half to pit and peel, the skins should slip right off leaving smooth golden fruit.
4. Drop the prepared peach halves into the lemonade to prevent discoloring.
5. Dissolve 3 pounds of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt in 2 quarts of boiling water
6. Option: If you want your brandied peaches spicy you may prepare a spice bag with whole cloves, a cinnamon stick and orange zest to boil in the syrup at this point.
7. Lift peaches from the lemonade with a slotted spoon and add to the syrup mixture; boil for 6 minutes
8. Lift peaches from the syrup and put into a large deep bowl
9. Boil the syrup for another 5 minutes and then pour it over the peaches. Remove spice bag if you have added one.
10. Cover the bowl and let it stand overnight.
11. Drain the syrup off the peaches into a large kettle and add another three pounds of sugar; boil the enriched syrup another five minutes and pour back over the peaches.
12. Leave to set over night again.
13. Heat to a simmer until fruit is hot through
14. Use a slotted plastic spoon to carefully lift the peach halves and pack into the jars cavity side down. Overlap the layers, leave Ã?Â½ inch head space in the jar.
15. Add 4 tablespoons of peach brandy to each jar
16. Bring the syrup to a boil and pour over the peaches. Syrup should cover the peaches and can come to Ã?Â¼ inch from the top of the jar.
17. Use a clean damp cloth and wipe all residues from the top and threads of the jar.
18. Place lids on the jar with the gummy sealing material in contact with the top of the jar and screw the bands on firmly.
19. Place jars in your canner and add hot water to one to two inches above the tops of the jars. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes and remove from the canner with the jar tongs and place on a towel to cool. Keep out of cool drafts as a breeze can break the hot jars.
20. Let the jars rest for 24 hours then remove the bands and wipe the jars with a clean damp cloth and put in a cool, dark, dry cupboard until the “magic has a chance to work”.
The peaches will be “brandied” in about 5 weeks. They may be served hot or cold but I particularly like them heated in their own syrup and served over a very fine quality vanilla ice cream.