I have been in a peach panic this past week. The peach tree, a Reliance, set so much fruit
this year that one of the branches broke. The peaches were huge, gorgeously colored, and I stood under it one warm day and inhaled peach aroma.
One morning, my friend Toby and I picked 34 pounds in a half an hour. I spent an afternoon and early evening making jam and putting up pints of peaches. Then late last week because the tree was taking up rainwater and the peaches were cracking open, I raced out and picked every peach I could lay my hands on and I did the whole jam and canning thing again this past weekend. I’ll bet, all told, I have taken close to 100 pounds off that tree this season.
Peach plenty put me in an experimental mood, and spotting a brown-sugar-sweetened, rum-flavored peach jam in a cookbook sent me to the pantry to see if by chance any rum was there. Nope. But there was brandy. And I thought, people used to make brandied peaches so why not a brandy flavored jam?
So I tinkered with the recipe, and came up with a nice little preserve. Lacking either rum or brandy, I suppose you could use some other liquor or liqueur, perhaps bourbon or even peach brandy to fortify the peachiness. It would be a criminal waste of single-malt scotch though and wouldn’t taste very good either. You know that the alcohol evaporates and just leaves a deeper flavor so even kids can put it on their toast. The jam darkens and turns a deep golden brown and is very tasty.
Brandied Peach Jam
Makes 5 to 6 half-pints
6 cups peeled ripe peaches, coarsely chopped
1 lemon juice and zest
2 cups light brown sugar
¾ cup of brandy
2 cups granulated sugar
In a large bowl, stir together the peaches, lemon juice, zest, brandy and the light brown
sugar. Let it stand covered for eight hours or overnight. Bring to a simmer and add the granulated sugar. Cook 20-30 minutes in a shallow heavy pan until the mixture reaches the jelly stage when it sheets off a spoon and the pieces of fruit are translucent. Put into sterilized jelly jars, adjust the lid and ring, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Or seal with paraffin.
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