This post is going to be a bit of the `best of` as peaches are a bit of a soft spot for me. I`ve long adored them and we`ve posted several different takes on them.
Peaches also tend to be the thing that I learn things the hard way with. I`ll share a few gaffes below…
I may be the last person in the world to have discovered that you can actually eat peach pits – or the seeds inside. By cracking the pit (our plan is to dry them before using our tenderizer or a heavy frying pan to crack the armour protecting the seed), you can remove an almond-shaped nut. I have seen some people add a few of these to their jam as it cooks (removing before jarring) to add a different layer of flavor (I understand it to be rather distinct). We`ll have a small jar full when we`re done the years preserves.
Peach pits contain traces of cyanide however appear to be considered edible by all that I am finding. I can`t wait to add them to salads, yogurt toppings and as snacks in general.
I had no idea you could eat these until a comment was posted by Sarah B Hood and I saw something on TV about it at the same moment. It was like a universal slap in the face that I had been missing a great secret for a long time.
My ultimate gaffe was peeling peaches. They need to be peeled and for 2 years I used a paring knife. I peeled more than 30 quarts of peaches in the last two years before finding out that you could blanch them to give them a quick peel.
I plan to dehydrate the peach peels this year to experiment with making tea as well as turning it into a powder that can be mixed with water and some sweetener (maple syrup is the thought) to make a peach drink.
Peach butterscotch is the absolute fruit-bomb. We`ve had it on hand for 3 years and it`s an awesome compliment to your pantry – or your bowl of ice cream. It`s also a lot of fun if you have a blowtorch and a banana.
Preserving peach slices is very straightforward – as long as you buy freestone peaches. That was another tough lesson learned many moons ago – freestones release their pits with grace – all others tend to hold on for dear life.
With peach slices my secret is simplicity. dissolve sugar into water at at 20%-30% ratio. We stay closer to the 20% to let the natural peach flavor come through. Heat the mixture to dissolve and bring to a light boil before adding the peaches to your bubbling cauldron. Pack jars tightly with peaches before adding the syrup into the jar. Poke out air holes to ensure you don`t have too much air and add to a boiling water bath. Full details at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Struggling with floating peaches? Seatbelting works for them as well.
Peaches preserve their flavor so well and there is nothing that can touch them mid-winter. If you’re looking for a single fruit to start preserving whole there’s no other fruit to start with.
This is part of our Preserving Summer series (click the link for access to all of the articles to date) that supports our recent article in Edible Toronto. We welcome any and all questions, comments and your ideas!