It is high summer and peaches are everywhere, delicious ripe peaches that you should eat on the porch to let the drips fall where they may. Beyond the volumes of peaches I’ve been eating raw, I’ve been preserving them to eat peach treats when hot porch days and sweet peach memories are long gone.
Of my annual exploits, canning peach sauce is probably my new favorite. Kin to applesauce, this treat is a no or very low sugar (if you add any for taste) way to enjoy fruit. And it’s a great way to blaze through peaches that are very small. I was lucky to receive a backyard peach bounty from our friends’ tree and the peaches I used for this recipe were tiny but flavor-packed white peaches. Use whatever peaches you can get your hands on though!
yield depends on volume of peaches
1. Based on your volume of peaches, find a pot that will contain all your halved and pitted peaches. Fill this medium/large saucepan or stockpot half way with filtered water and squeeze 1 lemon (~1/4 cup juice) directly into the water.
2. For every pound of peaches, you will end up with about 1 cup of puree. Pit just ripe peaches by halving them from pole to pole and either pulling out the pit (freestone varieties) or quartering them with another cut from pole to pole and cutting around the pit (clingstone varieties). Place halves in lemon water as you go.
3. Bring pot to a boil, and then reduce heat to keep peaches at a low boil for about 15-20 minutes or less if your peaches are quite ripe already. You want peaches to be still intact, but rather tender and soft. Ladle peaches with a slotted spoon into a food mill fitted with the medium screen.
If you don’t have a food mill, you will need to peel the peaches before simmering them. You can then can drain off the liquid from the peaches and run the peaches through a blender or food processor to puree your peeled peaches. The food mill saves you the step of having to peel, since it catches the skins in the screen.
This is a good break point if you want to split the recipe over two days. Store puree in the fridge and can it within the next 3 days. Use the remaining liquid in your saucepan for juice or syrup if it’s concentrated enough and actually tastes like peach.
4. When you’re ready to can, measure the volume of puree you’ve ended up with. Place however many half-pint mason jars as your volume requires in your canner pot and fill with water to the rims of the jars. Cover and bring pot to a boil, at which point you can turn off the heat.
5. While you’re waiting for this to boil, proceed with preparing your sauce by placing puree in a wide-based, heavy-bottomed pot and optionally adding up to 1-2 tsp sugar or sweetener of your choice per cup of puree to balance the tartness from the lemon juice. I chose to not add anything because I liked the slightly tart flavor of the pure peach sauce. Another option might be to sweeten with stevia or any other natural sweetner after you open up a jar if you want it sweeter.
You can also add a pinch of ground cinnamon, vanilla extract (add fragile extracts after you take your pot off the heat) or any other spice you like.
6. Bring sauce carefully to a boil over medium heat and cook until mixture is hot throughout.
7. Use a glass measuring cup to scoop some water out of the canner pot and place canning lids in the measuring cup to warm up the rubber sealing compound. Ladle sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2”-inch ‘headspace’, the distance between the fruit and top of the rim. Wipe rims with dampened, clean cloth or paper towel. Seal with two-piece lids to finger tightness, which is the tension at which just your fingers (not your whole hand or strong arms) meet resistance when screwing the band on the jar.
8. Process for 10 min in boiling waterbath.
For best flavor, use this sauce within 6 months of canning it.
Here are some other peachy projects you might consider: