21 July 2011

Peach Syrup

Today our peaches were finally ready for canning. We, of course, have been eating them constantly since Monday night, but they weren't peeling and pitting easily, so we gave them a couple days to ripen up. Oh, Hallelujah! did they ripen up. They're amazing, especially for so early in the season, and we were happy to put up a dozen quarts in jars and a few more in the freezer for smoothies.

When all the peaches were packed away, I found myself with several cups of accumulated peach juice and a huge pile of peach peel. It seemed too promising to throw away, so I searched and adjusted and finally settled on making some peach syrup to have on hand for when we need a little waffle love or a pancake party.

Most of this is principle and taste based—it'll kind of depend on what you want in the end, but here are the principles:
  • You need peach juice, about 8 cups. Mine was a combination of what drained from the peaches and some I made by steeping the skins in water. I let it steep until it tasted wonderful, and called it good. So, if you have more juice on hand, add less water, just plan for 8 cups total.
  • You should use 1/2 as much sugar as juice. So, if you have 8 cups juice, you should use 4 cups sugar. Jams and jellies tend to use 7/8-1 cup sugar per sup of juice, but syrup doesn't need to be as thick, so you can go easy. You'll want to measure your juice before adding your sugar to make sure you don't overdo it.
  • Pectin is optional. I added some because I was trying to finish two different types of stuff and the same time and didn't want to wait any longer. You're looking for a temperature between 215˚ and 220˚ for your syrup if you don't use pectin. The best way to check it is with a frozen plate. It'll cool a dribble of jam quickly so you know how it will set. It's like the water test for candy.
So here's how I made mine today, and I consider it a great triumph for people who want to use every last bit of their fruit!

Peach syrup
makes 3-4 pints

3 cups peach juice (leftovers from canning)
3 cups peach peels and small chunks of fruit
5 cups water
4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp pectin+1/3 cup sugar [optional]

Boil peach juice, peels, and water gently until the taste is about where you want it, strong enough for the flavour of your syrup. Drain through a sieve, and press all the liquid out of the solids. Discard solids. Return juice to stove and bring to a boil. Add sugar, and boil gently, stirring often, until the frozen plate test gives you the desired thickness. If you're in a hurry, mix pectin and sugar, then add to syrup (careful, it will foam up!) and cook 2 minutes at a rolling boil. Preserve using good sense.

1 comment:

Mom said...

I've never intentionally made syrup. Only syrupy jam. I think I need to go get some peaches!