We want peaches to taste exactly like they do during summer in the dead of winter. By preserving them, you'll get that sweet, juicy flavor all year. Pick peaches that are fragrant and feel semifirm to the touch. Ripe peaches need to blanch for only 30 seconds, while less ripe fruit can take up to two minutes. Don't worry if you don't get perfect quarters—no matter the shape or size, they'll taste great, whether on ice cream, with cake or alone with freshly whipped cream and a splash of bourbon.
To learn more, read "Endless Summer."
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 5 cups
Prep Time: 45 minutes, plus 2 hours soaking time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
3 pounds peaches
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 lemon thyme sprigs, divided
Twi 2-inch strips orange peel, removed using a vegetable peeler, divided
1. Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a paring knife, cut a small "x" on the bottom of each peach. Working in 2 batches, gently lower the fruit into the boiling water and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the fruit to the ice bath. After about 1 minute, remove the fruit and use the paring knife to peel off the skin. Following the "x" slash marks, quarter the peaches with the help of the pairing knife, pulling or cutting the fruit off the pit. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, sugar and peaches. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Divide the peaches, thyme and orange strips between 2 sterilized wide mouthed quart jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace. Wipe the rim and seal.
3. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes. The peaches keep for up to 6 months.