Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brandied Peaches, Tucked Away for Winter

If you recall, the weekend before last was my frenzied weekend of canning, cooking, baking and general stickiness.  I think this year was a stellar year for peaches.  It saddens me to think that they will soon be gone.  I picked up a few pounds of peaches that weekend to tuck away for a dreary winter's day.  Peaches go great with booze, as you may already know.  I posted a simple recipe for Peachy Boozy Turnovers a few weeks ago. The turnovers were spiked with bourbon.  I decided to preserve my peaches with the addition of brandy this time.  After all, it was still sitting on the counter having just finished making my fig jam.

To be honest, I have not made brandied peaches in years.  I believe fruit is best eaten fresh.  I never, ever, ever buy canned fruit.  We only eat fruit in season or occasionally use frozen fruit to make a smoothie.  I just couldn't bear the thought of the end of peach season.  A few jars tucked away will be a welcome treat in the midst of winter.  Canning the peaches in an a light syrup spiked with brandy is not a substitute for fresh fruit.  I like to think of brandied peaches as an ingredient for something bigger, like a peach shortcake or a crepe stuffed with peaches and vanilla ice cream.  How about serving them on Christmas morning with your French toast?  Use your imagination!

I only made a small batch, 10 peaches made 3 and 1/2 pints of brandied peaches.  If you love peaches and would like to think about the warmer days of summer during a February blizzard, put up a few jars.  You'll be glad you did.  This recipe from the NY Times caught my eye.  It was loaded with sugar which makes a heavy syrup.  After doing some investigation in my trusty Dummies Book, I came up with my own recipe.  
Makes 3 pints,  plus a 1/2 pint

  • 10 ripe, firm peaches
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
Prepare jars, lids and rings for canning.  Bring a deep pot of water or canning pot with rack, to a rolling boil.  Add clean jars and rings, sterilize for 10-15 minutes.   Do not boil the lids. Place lids in a bowl filled with boiled water that has cooled for a few minutes.   Allow lids to sit in the hot water for 10 minutes to activate seal.  Always use new lids.  ( When you take the jars out, keep water at a boil so it is ready for processing in a few minutes.)

While sterilizing jars, remove skin from peaches, pit and slice each peach into 8 slices. Here is an easy way to remove skin from peaches.

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan.  Dissolve sugar and simmer mixture until it is becomes clear and is slightly thick. (about 15 minutes)

Remove sterile jars  and rings from pot.  

Divide brandy evenly among sterile jars. 

Pack peach slices into jars as tight as you can without squashing them.  (You may only have enough to fill 3 jars ) 
Pour hot syrup into jars.   Remove air bubbles and add a bit more syrup if necessary.  Leave 1/4" of headspace.  It is likely that you will not use up all the syrup.  It is better to have too much than too little. You can always refrigerate leftover syrup for another use.  Feel free to add a little spice like a piece of cinnamon stick or a bit of allspice, or a piece of vanilla bean here if you like spiced peaches.  

Wipe rims with a clean with a damp cloth.  Put on lids and screw on rings.  

Return filled jars to the hot water bath, the water should be boiling.  Process for 25 minutes.  This actually cooks the peaches and infuses the brandy syrup flavor into the peaches.

After 25 minutes, remove from water bath and cool on a towel in a draft-free area.  Listen for the "ping" and check to be sure they are sealed.  Store in a cool dark place.  Brandied Peaches are best if allowed to sit for a month so flavors can meld. 


  1. dorothy lombardi voightSeptember 15, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I would love to raid your pantry!

  2. No, the peaches are infused with brandy and processed. I’m sure some alcohol remains.