Making and canning your own Spiced Peaches is very easy.
Here is one traditional southern spiced peaches recipe yielding about 6 pints, or 3 quarts. Yes, you can double this to 6 quarts to get a full load. The Spiced Peaches should have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention other than to keep them in a dark cool place. A side benefit is that your house will smell wonderful while it is cooking – much better than potpourri!
The best time to make these is in June during Peach season. I am posting about this now as they are so yummy to eat with Thanksgiving. You can also make this with plums, cherries or nectarines. I did a small half batch of plums back in July.
Ingredients for Homemade Spiced Peaches
- 6 lbs Peaches (about 2 dozen medium sized peaches)
- 8 cups sugar
- 2 & 3/4 c cider vinegar (5% strength)
- 4 Cinnamon sticks
- 4 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1 & 1/3 cups water
Directions for making homemade spiced peaches
Step 1 Prepare for canning the Spiced Peaches
Get the jars and lids sterilizing the dishwasher is fine for the jars. Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap! It’s also a good time to start heating up the water in the canner and the small pan of water to boil the lids. Personally the trick I use is that I ran the jars through whatever my last load of dishes was and then leave them in the dishwasher. (I think I am like a lot of people in that I pre-rinse most of my dishes before loading them in the dishwasher anyway, right?) Then after washing with soap and other dishes, I just wash them again with no soap.
At this point where you are ready to start making your recipe, go ahead and get the water-bath canner water started heating. Let it get up to a boil and then turn it off if you are not yet ready for it. Keep the lid on it to retain heat and steam evaporation.
Lids: Put the lids into a pan of boiling water for at least several minutes. This helps soften the sealing compound of the lid. This is why the little lid lifter with the magnet is cool, because they get very hot. I have also found it good to layer my lids in an alternating fashion in the pan, so they don’t stick to each other.
Step 2 – Selecting the peaches, the most important step!
You need peaches that are sweet, and to make the work easier, cling-free (also called freestone). This means that the peach separates easily from the pit.
Choose ripe, mature fruit. They should not be mushy, but they also should not be rock hard: just as ripe as you would eat them fresh. Green, unripe peaches will soften but will not ripen, nor have the flavor of tree-ripe peaches.
It takes about 24 medium sized peaches or nectarines , about 30 plums, to make 3 quarts, or 6 pints of prepared spiced peaches. Try to get them as fresh as you can, ether from the farm, or ask the farmers market when they were picked. Try to do this with-in 1-2 days of picking.
Step 3 -Wash and prepare the peaches
Wash the peaches in plain cold with no soap.
Peeling the Peaches is easy with this trick; just dip the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl or pot of ice cold water and ice. The skins will easily slide off now!
Cut out any brown spots and mushy areas. Cut the peaches in half, or quarters or slices, as you prefer! Remove pits!
Traditional Southern style is to leave the peaches whole (and stick the cloves into them) It’s up to you, we like them peeled, pits removed and sliced.
Step 4 – Making the syrup!
Mix the sugar, water and vinegar in a pot and get it heating
Put the sugar, cider vinegar and water in a medium sized pot (6 quarts or bigger). and get it heating over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Generally, spiced peaches is a fairly sweet concoction, so you might want to add some sweetening. You could sub- 4 cups of sugar and 4 cups of Splenda, so it’s sweet, but not loaded with sugar. Fruit juice such as peach or white grape juice works well also.
Step 5 – Make the spice bag.
Put the customized home pickling spices in cheesecloth and add them to the syrup.
Put the Cinnamon sticks (or even broken pieces of whole sticks and save your whole sticks fro the jars) and whole cloves in a double thickness of cheesecloth, or spice bag and add them to the pot. For spicier peaches, use additional cloves and cinnamon sticks. I also add a dash of gringer, and nutmeg, and one pinch of fresh ground cardamon to my bag.
Bring to boiling, cover the pot, and boil for five minutes. Remove the cover and boil for five minutes longer.
Step 6 – Add the peaches to the hot spiced syrup
Add peaches to the hot spiced syrup. Bring syrup to boiling again and simmer peaches for 10 minutes or until tender. Be carefull about splatters.
Step 7 – Can and process the Spiced Peaches
Fill them to within 1/4 inch from the top, wipe any spilled Spiced Peaches from the rim, put a lid on and hand tighten the ring around them. Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. If you are at sea level and up to 1,000 ft, boil pint jars for 5 minutes and quart jars for 10 min.
After carefully lift the heavy jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them on a towel in a draft-free place overnight You can then remove the rings if you like. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it with-in a week or so. Make sure you label and date them.
Michael loves gardening, cooking, canning and playing with the kids. Teaching Max and Jonathon about Cooking from Scratch, and Living with the Land.
Original photo by Lolli from Better in Bulk. Do not re-use without permission.