Until the summer of 2007, the only peaches I knew were aggressively fuzzy and yellow-fleshed. I was perfectly content with those peaches, until I encountered Beechwood Orchards and their white peaches. Fragrant and floral, without any of the pucker that comes with yellow variety, I was sure and well hooked. I’d buy and consume a full quart of those perfect fruits each week. At nearly $5 a box, they were almost always my most expensive farmers’ market purchase each Sunday (this was when I was in grad school and operating on a very slim margin).
As far as eating out of hand goes, this summer I’ve swung back towards the acidic yellow peaches of my youth. But when it comes to cooking with stone fruit, I’m having something of a love affair with the white peach. You see, they smell like the best, most heady version of the peach-scented lotion I used during my teenage years, and I love how they take me back in time. They also taste terrific and I just can’t get enough.
In an attempt to capture some of that flavor and fragrance, I halved and peeled nearly 10 pounds of white peaches and cooked them down into a vanilla bean-flecked, slightly sweetened sauce. I got ten pints of sauce from those ten pounds of peaches. Seven pints were processed just as they were (with the addition of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per pint for acidification – white peaches are in the grey zone as far as safe levels of acid) and the remaining three were cooked down using the slow cooker technique into four half pints of butter*.
I’ve yet to open one of these jars to taste the post-process product, but going into the jars, it was smooth (I did use an immersion blender during the final stage of cooking to get everything to an even consistency), easy on the tongue and containing the very essence of summer flavor. I look forward to opening one of these jars come January and stirring this sauce into yogurt or just eating it directing out of the pint with a spoon.
*The sauce that was cooked down into butter was also acidified, to ensure safety. I did some research and found that when the average white peach is tested for acidity, it has a pH of 4.5. This is in the canning grey zone and is similar to modern tomatoes (which we also acidify). Yellow peaches have a greater amount of acidity and so could be made into a sauce without need for additional acid.
And now for the giveaway part (you didn’t think I was going to forget that, did you?). The folks at Nielson-Massey have given me three tubes of vanilla beans to give to my readers. Each tube contains two vanilla beans of the very highest quality. Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, August 18th at 11:59 p.m. Just leave a comment on this post and include your favorite way to use vanilla.
White Peach Sauce
- 10 pounds of peaches halved and peeled (I peel my peaches by cutting them in half and then blanching them in boiling water for 45-60 seconds. Once the peaches are cool enough to handle, the skin should just lift away)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
- 10 tablespoons bottled lemon juice this is 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- Cook the peaches down in a large, non-reactive pot, using a potato masher to help them break down and release their juice. Add the vanilla bean seeds and the pod so that the vanilla flavor will infuse all the peaches.
- After approximately 20 minutes over medium heat, the peaches should be fairly well cooked down. Remove the vanilla bean from the pot (making sure to squeeze all the goodness from it). If you like your sauce chunky, leave as is. If you want a smoother consistency, puree with an immersion blender.
- Taste and add sugar to achieve your desired sweetness. I found a happy, flavorful place at 3 cups, but depending on the innate sweetness in the peaches, you might be able to stop at 2 cups. Or you might need to add more. It’s up to you.
- Pour peach sauce into pint jars, leaving a bit more than an inch of headspace. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each jar and stir in with a chopstick or plastic spoon. Wipe rims, apply lids and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.
- If you want to make butter from some of the sauce, reserve 6-8 cups of sauce and cook down in a slow cooker (making sure to add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every two cups of sauce at the beginning of cooking).
Vanilla beans, eh? My favorite way is a toss-up between sour cream ice cream and peach jam with vanilla bean.
Very little beats perfect vanilla custard but a simple jar of vanilla sugar makes me smile every time I see it.
Ice cream! Especially my husband’s delicious homemade vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the offer!
I love vanilla in homemade creme brulee or ice cream.
Peach butter sounds wonderful! Like others, I have yet to use vanilla beans in recipes but vanilla extract goes in many of my favorite baked goods!
My favorite use of vanilla beans is probably a vanilla bean scone recipe from the Pioneer Woman blog, but close to that bliss is vanila ice cream, and your rhubarb vanilla jam (which my the way is wonderful on ice cream).
Man oh man does this look yummy.
My favorite way to use vanilla is in the winter fruit salad on smittenkitchen. That syrup is so yummy and totally useful for all kinds of other tasty treats.
I absolutely HAVE to try this recipe. Personally, when it comes to vanilla, I love to buy different liquors and soak my bean so I have different varieties of vanilla extracts for my baking. Then some of my favorite uses are baked custards, biscotti cookies and cream pies! YUM!
Mmmm…vanilla beans and good vodka make excellent homemade vanilla extract, and creme’ brulee’, and ice cream…but I think my FAVORITE way is to flavor heavy cream, and then pour that over apple pie, or peach cobbler, or in coffee…yum!
I always include vanilla in my homemade granola recipe 🙂
It’s my birthday! I’d love some vanilla!
I just picked my first white peaches this past weekend, and plan to use them in place of the apricots from your apricot blackberry jam recipe. I’ve never had white peaches before but thought they’d be a good substitute in the recipe since apricots are a little more hard to come by right now.
My favorite use for vanilla so far has been in the raspberry vanilla jam I made last year, followed closely by craping the beans’ inner vanilla paste into a creme brulee! Yum!
My favorite way to use vanilla beans is in my Vanilla Peach Slurry. It’s rather like a cross between jam and preserves and is delicious!
I love to use vanilla beans to make vanilla sugar!
Ooh – vanilla. In my banana bread. It tastes so yummy!
Yum Peach butter. Sounds delish. We put up peaches in the freezer this year in small batches so we can make smoothies throughout the summer.
Never used vanilla bean before, but I’m with the other posters vanilla bean ice cream!
With vanilla beans you can make your own vanilla extract, it’s so easy and and makes great gifts. As well as for baking, I like to brush some vanilla on ham steak before cooking.
this year I canned an amazing Peach vanilla rum jam! It was the first time adding vanilla to a jam, now I want to add it to all of them:)
I use vanilla in so many things, my family loves my french toast that has vanilla in it (lots). The peaches will soon be coming on here in Utah…peach jam is one of my favorites.
yum, looks delicious!! I have a 1lb bag of citric acid sitting around to use with tomatoes, could I use that instead of the bottled lemon juice (which I can’t use because of allergies)?
I love to use vanilla in syrups to poach fruit, never fails to impress people (and taste amazing!), plus it’s dead easy!! I’m thinking peaches poached in vanilla-riesling syrup will be on the menu this weekend
Mmm, I can smell that peach sauce from here! So sad that we are all done with our backyard peaches. But I got lots of great stuff preserved from them. Probably my favorite (next to peach nectar) was the peach puree/blackberry jam I read about here. It is soooo good. I have been sieving out the seeds and using it as sauce over ice cream and over pound cake. Delish. But oh. You asked about vanilla. I love anything with vanilla. Earlier this summer I made a lovely plum compote, baked with vanilla. I’d say that’s my current favorite. Thank you for the great site. I love coming by here and seeing what everyone is canning. And I’d love some ideas for pears as I have three huge boxes ripening as we speak 🙂 Thanks.
A lovely fall dessert – poached pears flecked with vanilla.
Love to use that vanilla in ice cream!
I always have a large jar of vanilla sugar, and use it in everything!
Let’s talk vanilla infused anything….simple syrup, vodka, oil….. 🙂 If there is a way to add vanilla i’m game!
My favorite way to use vanilla is to infuse a bean in granulated sugar. I love getting that hint of vanilla in unexpected places.
Yum! This looks amazing! In my family, vanilla bean is most often used for crème brûlée. My brother-in-law has celiac disease, so it’s a common dessert for family gatherings…no triple chocolate devil’s food cake for us!
I lovew to use vanilla to make vanilla sugar. Perfect for a coffee treat. I love your website.
I *love* making my own extract with vanilla beans–my current ‘brew’ is in brandy. I have also made pear jelly with vanilla–the taste is *wonderful* and the little specks look absolutely lovely.
I would love to try to make my own vanilla extract!!
Oh my gosh, I almost missed the deadline! I think my favorite way to use vanillla is in the vanilla sugar syrup recipe you posted as a Christmas present. People are still talking to me about their vanilla syrup presents from last year, so I think it was a hit!
in ice cream!
What a great way to go back in memories! Thanks for the w.peach recipe, looks great. We have Frog Hollow yellow and white peaches available but I’m not sure they’d make it into the jars, they are so good. I love using vanilla anytime I think of the word “infuse”: in custard, in a container of sugar, in baking, in cooking down fruits. Lovely and exotic aroma.
Does the lemon juice make this sauce acidic enough for white peaches? I’ve read at the NCHFP that white peaches shouldn’t be canned because they are low acid.
To ensure safety, I acidified this recipe in the same manner that one would acidify tomatoes, as they have similar pH levels as white peaches.
Can’t wait to try this! I love vanilla beans in a peach cobbler!
I hope you enjoy it!