This post will show you step by step how to can peaches in a vanilla syrup with a splash of whiskey. The resulting preserve can be eaten out of the jar plain, are perfect on top of a cheesecake, waffles, or ice cream, or are a flavorful alternative to plain ol’ peaches in a pie or crisp. Read on for the tutorial!
This recipe is based off one my grandmother tore out of the Sacramento Bee for me several years ago. I’ve changed a few things and added complete canning instructions, but this recipe was one of the first I tried where I canned with booze and I’m forever grateful to both my Gram and the good ol’ SacBee. It is so, so good.
The alcohol mostly if not entirely cooks off so you can feel safe feeding this preserve to those who are children or who abstain from alcohol. I’m actually very sensitive to approximately 10,000 migraine triggers and alcohol is one of them. I’ve never eaten these and felt like it caused one. So, pour in a generous ⅓ cup, make yourself a cold drink for the canning process, and relax!
The peaches in this recipe are not pureed or milled up the way I often process fruit. They are in halves if your peaches are freestone (the pit just comes right out with ease) or in chunks if your peaches are clingstone (no force in the world can pull the flesh of peach from the pit).
This brings up an interesting point about canning safety. The processing time (the time the hot food in hot jars is submerged in boiling water) is determined in large part by the density and/or size of the fruit and veggies in the jar. Larger, more dense pieces mean slightly longer processing time. This time is critical to observe because the center temperature of the jar MUST have time to rise above the 212-degree mark to kill spoilers. It takes a bit longer to get the center of a peach half that hot than it does in say peach nectar (same ingredients just more water and pureed thinly). Do not cut the processing time short, newbies or experienced canners. Keep the jars submerged for the prescribed amount of time, and don’t forget to adjust for altitude by adding 5 minutes of processing time for every 1000 feet you are currently canning above sea level.
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- Canning Season Planner
- Pantry Checklist
- Equipment Checklist
- Acid & Canning Guide
- Canning Log
- Process Cheat Sheet
- Elevation Adjustment Guide
- Bonus Recipes
Here’s what you need:
4 lbs peaches (10-11 peaches)
2 cups water
2 ½ cups sugar (brown is good but white is good too)
¼ cup vanilla extract (I make mine at home)
¼ cup good quality real maple syrup
⅓ cup whiskey
A canning pot with 5-pint jars should be filled with hot tap water and coming to a boil. Prep a saucepan with simmering water and lids and rings that match the size of the jars. Have jar lifter, lid lifter, and funnel ready on the towel-covered countertop nearby.
Here’s how to peel the peaches:
Heat a large pot of water to a boil. While it is heating prepare a bowl of ice water on the nearby countertop and have a ladle or a slotted spoon (maybe both- they can be slippery buggers) ready.
Drop the peaches a few at a time into the boiling water and keep an eye on them for about 1 minute. Remove using the ladle and/or slotted spoon and put in the ice water bath. When they are cool enough to handle, slide the skins off each peach and transfer to a cutting board, preferably with a well (the little trench around the edge that catches juices before the runoff on to the table).
Slice the peaches off the pit in large-ish chunks. Some of my chunks ended up being small slivers and that is okay. Set aside.
In a wide bottomed pot, bring the sugar, salt, and 2 cups water to a simmer. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat if necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Add maple syrup and whiskey and simmer 10 minutes longer. Add peach slices and stir.
By now the processing pot should be boiling and thus your jars are hot and sterilized.
Use your jar lifter to pull one jar from the pot. Pour the hot water back into the pot or into the saucepan of lids. Apply funnel. Ladle an even mix of peach slices and the syrup into the jar. Leave ½ head space and apply lid and ring. Tighten just as tight as you’d tighten a bathroom faucet. Use the jar lifter to submerge the jar into the processing pot water and repeat with the remaining jars. Any leftover syrup can be saved for topping waffles and the like. Bring the jars in the processing pot back up to a boil and process (leave under the boiling water) for 25 minutes. Be sure to add 5 minutes of processing time for every 1000 feet you are canning above sea level.
When the time is up, you may carefully remove the jars one at a time from the water to rest on the towel covered countertop. You will hear the lids on the jars make a distinctive “ping” noise as the heat forces the oxygen from the jar which creates a vacuum. The air is forced out and the lid is sucked down which creates the airtight seal. You will hear this sound as soon as seconds after you pull the jar from the water or as late as 12 hours later.
Label cooled and sealed jars and store.