Brandied Peaches and Canning Fun

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After a very busy summer, I am finally getting in some time for canning, jarring and preserving some of my favorite fresh foods. This means I have to give up big chunks of my weekend days in order to put away fresh food at its best, but come December it will all be worth it.

I always start with shelled peas. I generally just add large amounts of freshly shelled peas to Ziploc bags and stick them in the freezer. Fresh (even frozen fresh) peas are so much better than the soggy version you can find pre-steamed and frozen in bags in the grocery store. They are such an amazing treat to add to your winter pastas, salads and soups.

IMG_2763I also like to put away corn, in the same manner. While you can precook these items before they go into the freezer, I don’t. I don’t especially know if there are pros or cons to doing it either way but have never noticed a particular reason to do it that way, and they work just fine using them in this method so why bother with the extra step.

Pickles are huge in our life. I love them alone, but can almost not eat a sandwich without them. I probably spend the most of the time I dedicate to canning on making pickles, as I do at least 20 pounds of cucumbers a year (and some years of insanity 50).

But I also love picked carrots, beets and beans. Those are all amazing in salads and as accompaniments to cheese plates, etc. I have friends and family who literally beg me for jars. I have even had jars (literally) stolen from my house. It’s kind of funny, but there is a reason they are so good. They are a ton of work to make. These projects really are an all-day production.

IMG_2831This past Saturday I started the projects by going to the farmers market at exactly 8 a.m., spending $300 and prepping and cooking until 5 p.m. That was even with the help of a good friend who donated her time in exchange for a few jars. At the end of that time I had 25 new jars to add to this year’s collection. Obviously, that is never enough for a hoarder like me, who also gives them as gifts, so there will be a least a couple more long days before the season is over and its impossible to get fresh, local produce.

I decided to try something a little new this year and have put away some extra items. I have tasted some local chef’s brandied cherries and decided to do some cherries and peaches. The cherries are a natural selection. They go great in Manhattans and work well as a side to many desserts. But since peaches were at their peak, I came up with a peach recipe that I think will be delicious, too. (The peaches have to marinate in the sauce and jar for at least 10 days before I try them but I feel confident the recipe will be a big hit.)

I plan to serve these peaches while it is still hot outside with some homemade vanilla ice cream, and keep some for the fall when I need a taste of something summery. If you are going make these, do them soon while the peaches are still super sweet! And get to work! Time is a wasting.

Brandied Peaches

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of peaches
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups brandy

Instructions

  • Take a large pot and fill it with water. Bring water to a boil and drop in peaches for just 30 seconds before you drain them in a colander. Set aside to cool.
  • In a small saucepan, add the water, sugar and vanilla bean, which you have split lengthwise to release the seeds. Heat at medium until the sugar has melted. Scrape the remaining vanilla seeds into the water mixture and discard the pod. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, stir in the brandy.
  • Peel the cooled peaches and slice into quarters, also removing the pit. Place peach slices in jars and poor the sugar/water/brandy mixture over the peaches. Seal and store in a refrigerator for at least 10 days prior to using and for up to three months.
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About Author

Mollie is a native Cape Codder who learned at an early age how to put a lobster to sleep, harvest cranberries, and dig for clams. After high school she followed her sense of adventure out west to the University of Wyoming where she graduated with marketing and communication degrees. She found herself making roots in Jackson, her fiance’s hometown, and using her sales skills combined with her love of anything delicious to join the Dishing sales team. She loves baking from scratch, large glasses of red wine, and hiking with her heeler, Newton. She’ll try anything, but remains a stuck up Cape Codder when it comes to seafood. If she didn’t catch it or see it come off the boat, don’t even try tempting her.

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