Are you getting tired of canning quart after quart after quart of plain ol' peaches? Try adding some spirits into the mix. The recipe below calls for Bourbon, but other liquor can be used, too. Brandy (flavored or not), Amaretto, Creme de Menthe, Spiced Rum, Cointreau, and many others. Make sure the liquor you use does not contain any cream or dairy products of any kind. Also, use good quality spirits. Cheap booze will make your product yucky. Believe me, I know!!! If you do not wish to buy big expensive bottles of liqueur, then consider buying a few of the little one ounce bottles.
Bourbon and other fine spirits do double duty when it comes to fruit, acting as both a preservative and a flavor booster. Try these boozy babies straight up for dessert or blended into a cocktail.
Yield: about six 1 pint wide-mouth jars
- 1 lemon
- 5 pounds fresh freestone peaches
- 3 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 vanilla beans. halved crosswise
- 6 thick Naval orange slices
- 3/4 cup bourbon
Fill a large non-reactive pot with water and bring it to a boil. Fill a large bowl two-thirds full of ice water. Cut lemon in half, and squeeze juice into ice water. Working in batches, place peaches in a wire basket, lower into boiling water, and blanch for 60 seconds. Place immediately in lemon juice mixture. When cool enough to handle, peel peaches, cut in half, and remove the pits. Cut each half into 4 wedges, return to lemon juice mixture.
Stir together 3 cups water and sugar in a large non-reactive saucepan. Split vanilla bean halves lengthwise, scrape out seeds. Add vanilla bean and seeds to the sugar mixture, cook over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to and maintain a low simmer.
Place 1 orange slice and 1 vanilla bean half into a hot jar. Ladle hot syrup into jar, leaving 1 1/2 inch headspace. Add 2 Tbsp. bourbon to jar. Add more hot syrup to jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim clean. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and tighten to finger-tip tight. Repeat until all jars are filled.
Process jars for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, and let jars stand for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Once completely cooled, remove rings, and thoroughly wash jars to remove any sticky syrup. Label with name and date. Store in a cool dark place.
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