Canned Peaches with Bourbon
- Yield 4 pieces
A ripe peach canned in a slightly sweet syrup is just wonderful, especially in the spring when stone fruit is still months away.
- 6 pounds peaches (preferably freestone)
- 1 -- lemon
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup bourbon, divided
- Prepare a boiling water bath and 4 regularr-mouth 1 pint jars. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While it heats, cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Fill a large bowl two-thirds full with ice-cold water. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water. This is where your peaches will go when they come out of the hot water bath. The cold water stops the cooking and the lemon prevents the fruit from browning.
- Working in batches, add the peach halves to the boiling water and cook for 60 seconds. Immediately transfer the peaches to the bowl filled with ice-cold water. Before adding the next batch of peaches to the pot, make sure to give the water a chance to come back up to boiling between batches. If the water isn't hot enough, you will have a hard time removing the skin during peeling.
- Once all the peaches have been blanched and they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins with your fingers and return the fruit to the lemon water.
- Combine the sugar with 3 cups water in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- While the syrup heats, pack the peeled peach halves, cut-side down into the prepared jars so that they overlap a bit. Use a wooden chopstick or narrow-head silicone spatula to help you layer them into the jars. It's best to use regular-mouth jars instead of wide-mouth jars in this instance, as the shoulders of the jars will help keep the peaches from floating out of the syrup after processing. Pack the peaches in as tightly as you can manage without damaging them.
- When the peaches are in the jars, ladle the hot syrup over them, leaving 1 1/2 inches headspace so that there's room for the bourbon. Add 1/4 cup bourbon to each jar. Use a wooden chopstick to remove any air bubbles and, if necessary, add additional syrup to the jars so that each has 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars (Running Press, 2011).