Thursday, August 25, 2016

Preserved Peaches in Brandy and Peach Brandy Syrup

Source: Wikimedia Commons

To Preserve Peaches in Brandy 
Mrs. Etting
Scald your peaches in hot water then dip them in hot strong lye, rub them with a cloth & throw them into cold water, make a syrup of ¾ lb. of sugar to 1 lb. of peaches boil them in the syrup until clear & when cold put an equal quantity of Brandy, as Syrup – apricots & gages [green gage plums] preserved in the same way.

Recipe Provenance
This recipe comes from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including this one!).

About the Recipe
There are many references to preserving peaches in 19th century American cookbooks. Here are just a few of them:

1857: The Great Western Cook Book by Angelina Collins (New York)

1864: The Complete Cook by James Sanderson (Philadelphia)

1881: What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking by Abby Fisher (San Francisco)

1885: La Cuisine Creole by Lafcadio Hearn (New Orleans)
Peach brandy was a popular item that was even available for sale as early as 1799 in Baltimore (but possibly even earlier). Here is an advertisement for apple and peach brandies in the 14 October 1799 edition of Baltimore's newspaper, American Daily Advertiser:

If you couldn't buy peach brandy, this recipe gives you a good alternative because the great thing about it is that not only are the peaches delicious, but Mrs. Morris's version of the recipe yields a lot more peach brandy syrup than is required for the amount of peaches. You can use this syrup in many other applications, just as you would peach brandy. For example, it can be used in sangria, mulled wine or other cocktails,  or poured over ice cream, cake, in a trifle, etc. 

Preserved Peaches in Brandy: Modern Recipe Adaptation

Step 1: Skin the Peaches
  • Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop in your peaches and allow them to sit in the water until the skin starts to pucker and pull away from the fruit.
  • Remove from peaches from the boiling water and place in a bowl of cold water. When you able to handle the peaches, peel each of them.
Step 2: Making the Syrup
  1. Remove all of the pits from the peaches and chop them into chunky 1" size pieces.
  2. Weigh your peaches. For every pound of peaches, measure out 12 ounces of sugar.
  3. Place all of the peaches and sugar into a large stockpot or preserving pan and cook on medium high heat until the sugar melts and mixes with the juices in the peaches. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat.
  4. Remove the peaches from the heat and let cool.
  5. Using a slatted spoon, remove the peaches from the syrup. If you are canning the peaches, place them in the prepared, hot sterilized jar.
  6. Measure the syrup and then measure out an equal amount of brandy. Mix the syrup and brandy together and pour back into the stockpot. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Pour this liquid into the jars with the peaches. 
    • Note: This recipe makes a lot more syrup than is necessary for filling the jars with the peaches. At first, I thought I would prepare more peaches to fill more jars and use up the syrup. Then, I realized that the peach brandy syrup itself could be used as a component in sangria, mulled wine, or cocktails or it could be poured over cake or ice cream. 
  7. You can keep them in the refrigerator or use a water bath canner to complete the process of sealing the jars.

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