My all time favorite fruit to put up, hands down, would be peaches, and I patiently wait all year for summer to roll around for this very reason. The farm kids love canned peaches in a lite simple syrup, BUT for the adults we put up bourbon peaches…and I will tell you, they are AMAZING!
The process is extremely simple, and I would say that 1. if you love peaches and 2. if you love bourbon, this is the recipe for you. Since the jars are getting a hot water bath the heat eliminates the alcohol proof, and all that remains is the amazing flavor of the bourbon mixed with sweet peaches.
Every summer we pick up about 50 pounds of free stone peaches from eastern WA, and each year I say that we need to increase the amount we buy, but each year we don’t. By the end of spring we have eaten all that we put up, and I have a very sad family. Maybe one day I will learn…
With that said, let’s begin! After you have washed the peaches, gently place an X on the bottom of them. This will allow the skin to peel easier.
Place them gently in a pot of boiling water and blanch for roughly 20 seconds.
Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and immediately place them into ice water. This stops the cooking process.
The peels should easily peel at this point, but if they do not, you can place them back into the boiling water for another 10 to 15 seconds being careful to not overcook them.
Do not toss those peels, you will want to save them! Our goal is to always have a zero waste product, so the peels will be dehydrated to make peach peel powder, and trust me….this is also AMAZING!
Simply take a pinch or two (well, actually as much as you’d like) of the powder and add it to oatmeal, vanilla ice-cream, and even cake batter! Really, you can add it to whatever you wish, I promise I won’t judge you! Remember, if you can’t work with them right away freeze them until you have time.
TIP: For any canning project that I take on I like to batch my tasks. Meaning, I like to finish one task prior to moving on to the next. It seems to minimize the amount of time I spend on the project; blanch & peel, slice up enough to fill jars, add syrup & bourbon, start canner, begin again.
When slicing your peaches I would suggest them to be 1/2 an inch thick, but never thicker than 1 inch. How thick I slice them depends on what I am using them for. For canned peaches I like a 1/2 inch slice, but for pie filling I like to slice them about 1 inch.
Once I have sliced the peaches, I start the simple syrup. I use a 2:6 ratio (2 cup sugar to 6 cups water), keeping it light. Bring the syrup to a hard boil for 10 minutes, stir continually not allow it to burn.
I hot pack my jars, so once they have been sterilized I place them into the oven (temp at 170 degrees) to keep warm; pulling out a few jars to work with at a time.
Fill the jars leaving a 1 inch headspace. I like to use regular mouth pint size jars, and tightly pack them to prevent any fruit from floating.
Next, I fill the jars with the simple syrup a little over 3/4 of the way.
Finally, I top it off with the bourbon ~ remember to leavea 1 inch headspace.
Even the smallest amount of bourbon does the job, but if you find you’d like a bit more of the bourbon flavor, simply add less simple syrup and more bourbon the next time. In regards to the type of bourbon we use, it is a store brand; we reserve the good stuff for drinking and not canning.
Remove the air bubbles and don’t be afraid to mix the fluid; hot water bath for 20 minutes. Now, let a jar cool completely and open it right up!
note: this is not a USDA/FDA recipe