Recently while on an extended weekend to the Hill Country of Texas we acquired a 1/4 bushel of peaches in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Since we had more fruit than we could reasonably eat, we decided to put up some Spiced Peaches like my mother and I did when I was growing up.
First, you need to peel the peaches and the easiest way to do this is with a water bath. Fill a large pot around 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Slowly and carefully put the peaches in the water until no more peaches can be submerged. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes and then quickly put under cool running water to stop the cooking and cool the fruit so it can be handled. The skins will slide right off the peaches, and you can put the cleaned peaches in a bowl to set aside.
In a large sauce pan, mix the following ingredients and bring to a boil, taking care not to let the pot boil over.
5 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup vinegar
12 sticks cinnamon, broken
2 tsp. whole cloves
Once the syrup is prepared turn to a simmer and prepare the water bath and jars.
Fill hot water bath canner about half full and begin heating. Check jars for nicks, cracks on sealing surface. Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse, let soak in hot water or wash in dishwasher and let them remain in hot dishwasher. Also wash, rinse, and let lids and rings remain in hot water until ready to use.
When the jars are ready, bring the syrup to a boil and carefully drop the peaches in the syrup. Heat peaches in syrup about 5 minutes.
Pack hot fruit in hot, clean jars; add syrup to within 1/2 inch of top of jar (I like to include a piece of cinnamon and some cloves in each jar), wipe any residue on top and threads of jar (residue could prevent a good seal); place hot, clean lids and rings on jars, screw the ring tight but do not force, and place in water bath canner. When canner is full, add enough hot water to cover jars with 1’’ - 2’’ of water. Bring water to a boil, reduce to a gentle boil and begin counting processing time. The processing time for pint jars is is 20 minutes and for quart jars is 30 minutes.
After the appropriate time, remove jars from canner and place on racks to cool. Do not place hot jars in a cool draft since that could cause jars to crack. Do not tighten rings. After 12 hours and then after 24 hours, check for seal. Press center of lid, if it is down in the center then it is sealed. Or tap the center of the lid, a clear ringing sound means it is sealed. Do not tighten ring after jar has cooled.
Seven pounds of peaches will yield about 9 pints.
Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, 1968
Ball Blue Book