This year I am canning peaches for the first time. I’ve never been drawn to canned fruits, although I know people who can pears and peaches every year in massive batches. I couldn’t resist the recipe for brandied peaches that reran in the New York Times recently, and decided that I could make a few pints. Since I was only able to scrounge up four wide-mouthed pint jars in the house, four was what I settled on. Which is good, because six pounds of peaches is heckuva lot. At every step—weighing, peeling, slicing, boiling—the bowls and pots I have were at capacity.
The peaches themselves were not the best I’ve ever had. They were ripe, with a couple of exceptions, but the texture was a bit mealy (which I discovered when I went to have one for breakfast earlier in the week). They came from the farmers’ market, from Harris Orchard which generally has excellent fruit. I think the weather this year just didn’t agree with stone fruit, even more than is typically true in this area.I hope they won’t fall apart with cooking; it’s my belief that sugar syrup and brandy will go a long way toward making the texture of the peaches not of paramount importance, but maybe that’s the wrong end of the stick.
After cooking them in sugar syrup until just soft, I packed them into the jars. I’m pretty sure I cooked them too long, and I’m not clear on what I could have done to have the jar not be filled with liquid that seeped out of the peaches. Maybe drain them in a colander first? That seems to defeat the purpose of having them hot. At any rate, I drained them a bit in order to have room in the jars for more sugar syrup, but in the end only had room for the brandy. So, I had an enormous pot of sugar syrup left over. It seems inconceivable that peaches cooked in sugar syrup could end up not being sweet enough, so I’m going to assume that they’ll be fine. In the unlikely event that they’re not, I suppose we can sprinkle sugar on them.
In the future, if I do this again, I think I’ll keep the peaches in halves and definitely not cook them nearly as long. I’ll let you know around Christmas how this batch turned out.