DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE PEACH PEELS AND PITS!
It’s peach season galore and that means it’s time to do some canning. While canning his very first batch of peaches a couple weeks ago, our son, Joseph, kept wondering if there wasn’t a use or two for all those peach peels and pits he was accumulating.
His question led to discovering several great home-living websites and lots of ideas for peach peelings. Turns out, peach peelings wear LOTS of hats! So don’t throw them away. For instance:
How about making jelly from them? As you are canning your peaches, and removing the skins and other parts you don’t want to can (brown spots or soft spots) place them in a large pot. When finished canning your peaches, fill the pot of reserved scraps with water to cover. Bring this to a boil for 30 minutes, cover and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, strain the peachy water through a cheesecloth or jelly bag. Just strain, don’t squeeze, as this will make your jelly cloudy.
This is the result. Pretty color, right? Now here’s the very simple and basic recipe for making one of the most delicious jellies we’ve ever had. Joseph got creative with this and added a ¼ teaspoon each of anise, cinnamon, and cloves. These spices really gave this jelly a nice flavor snap. So don’t hesitate to get creative as well.
PEACH PEEL JELLY
3 cups of peach water
1 box pectin.
3 cups sugar
Mix peach liquid with pectin; stir well to dissolve all pectin. Bring to a rolling boil, then add sugar. Stir well again. Remove all foam that appears with a large spoon. Ladle the hot syrup into hot pint jars. Preserve pints in a water bath for 20 minutes; remove jars to and let cool. Store up to a year.
Another idea is to make peach juice ice cubes. We use these throughout the winter in our smoothies and to chill sparkling water and club soda. Just cook up your peach skins with all your peach pits. The pits add an extra measure of red to the liquid as well as a little more peachy flavor. Cover them with water and boil it all for 30 minutes, just as you did for the jelly recipe, above. However, unlike the jelly instructions, there’s no need to skim off the foam. Just stir it down into the liquid. It adds volume and flavor as well, so it’s good to include it. Cover your cooked liquid and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, strain out the peels and pits, squeezing as you go. Pour this liquid into several ice cube trays (we had to borrow several from our neighbors). Freeze your juice until solid, and then remove cubes to plastic zippered freezer bags. Store in the freezer and enjoy the spizazz these cubes add to your beverages.
Then there’s another beverage-oriented use—Peach Pit Iced Tea. Before I go on with the instructions, let’s clear something up. Over time there’s been some worry bubble up over the fact that peach pits contain cyanide. This fact has led to fear of poisoning if you use peach pits for anything. Research shows, though, that you’d need a HUGE amount of peach pits to create any toxic danger. For this recipe you’re only using 1 pit per cup of tea. There’s just no need to worry about the cyanide issue.
So really, don’t throw those peach pits away. Dry the pits in your oven at 200 degrees for an hour and then store them in a tightly closed glass jar. This method allows you to enjoy peach tea throughout the winter.
When it’s time to make tea, steep a handful of pits (about 1 per cup of tea wanted) in boiling water. Steeping them overnight will yield the most flavor. The next day, discard the pits and use this peach-flavored water to make either iced tea or a cup of herb tea.
And don’t forget to treat yourself to a cup of peach tea during your canning sessions. Iced is a nice drink if the kitchen is hot and you are too. Or you try a hot cup of steeped peach pits sweetened with a little raw honey and maybe a dash of cinnamon and anise. Delicious!
Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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