Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Power to the Peaches!

Peaches are one of the most wonderful fruits of summer! I use them mostly to make Texas-Hill Country Peach Cobbler and Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese (which was my favorite recipe find from last summer). However, after a recent trip to the farmer's market, I was a little overzealous and found myself with more peaches than I can handle! James Beard to the rescue, particularly his exceedingly simple recipe for "Brandied Peaches." 

I am not someone who is a "canner," but the thought of peaches soaking in sugar and brandy for months sounded quite tempting. In addition, the recipe does not require the jars to be processed, which I am not an expert of or inclined to delve into. I'm assuming that drowning the peaches in 80 proof brandy should keep any spoilage at bay...but I'll have to wait a few months to see? According to James Beard, "these peaches stood for several months before using and developed a high degree of potency. They were served as a dessert taken from the bottle and they can be delicious when served warm or cold over ice cream." I've also read to store canned peaches in the dark to prevent discoloration, so I've tucked them in the back corner of my refrigerator where hopefully they will provide me potent peaches for desserts and peach brandy syrup for cocktails and sauces! I'll let you know!
 
It looks like summer in a jar!

James Beard's Brandied Peaches

*The recipe calls for 4 pounds peaches and 2 pounds of sugar, but as I was a little apprehensive, I only used 1 pound of peaches and 1/2 pound of sugar, in case I have to throw it out. Hopefully not!

Ingredients:
4 pounds ripe peaches
2 pounds granulated sugar
Brandy, enough to cover peaches

Directions:
Place the peaches in a pot and cover with cold water.


Bring to a simmer, but do not boil, till the skins will rub off easily. (This took me about 3-5 minutes of simmering, until a pairing knife rubbed alongside one of the peaches easily released the skin.) Drain and run under cold water. Peel the skin off the peaches, cut in half and remove the stones.


Put the sugar and peach halves in alternate layers in jars (quarts are best). (For my 1 pound peaches, I used a 24 ounce jar.)


Pour in brandy to cover.


Cork tightly. Store in a cool dark place for at least 6 weeks before using.

Recipe slightly adapted from American Cookery, by James Beard.

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