Fresh picked peaches are one of the finest fruits to be enjoyed. Once you have had filled your craving of fresh peaches, having made peach jam, sorbet, ice cream and even baked a dessert or two, what else can you do with the extra peaches? How does one capture the essence of a perfectly sun ripened, juicy, chin dripping peach? For me, a person fascinated with making homemade liqueurs, creating homemade peach liqueur was the answer.
The effort to make homemade liqueurs is not difficult, but the behind the scenes chemistry that occurs in the sealed glass container when all of the ingredients mixed together does require patience. Thankfully this past month I have been extremely busy with work and have not had time to hover over the homemade peach liqueur that has been steeping in the closet.
As mentioned, the process to transform fresh peaches into a liqueur is easy, requiring the following steps: Prepare, Steep, Separate, Decant, Bottling and Time (Patience).
- 2 Cups of Sugar
- 2 Cups of Water
- 4 Pounds of Fresh Washed Peaches
- 2 Teaspoons of Lemon Zest
- 2 Teaspoons of Orange Zest
- 3 Cups of 80 – 100 Proof Vodka
- 2 Cups of Brandy (If Brandy is not desired, then replace this ingredient with the same volume of Vodka)
- 8 Drops of Yellow Food Coloring
- 1 Tablespoon of Fruit Protector Powder
This recipe can easily be cut in half or even doubled depending on your desire, amount of peaches or the size of the glass container available.
Prepare: In a small pan, combine the water and sugar and heat on Medium-High, stirring regularly to prevent the sugar from burning until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool.
Remove the stems from the peaches, cut in half, remove the stone and then thinly slice the peach halves. If you have difficulty in removing the stone or the peach halves do not slice easily, do not worry. The effort does not have to result in perfectly sliced peaches. Ultimately, the purpose is to maximize the total surface area of the peach flesh to be exposed to the alcohol.
In a large glass container that has been thoroughly cleaned, add the sliced peaches, peach stones (optional, but does provide a hint of almond flavor), lemon zest, orange zest, yellow food coloring, syrup, fruit protector powder, vodka and brandy.
Seal the glass container, thoroughly shaking the contents so that it is well mixed.
Steep: Store the glass container in a cool dark location (back of a closet) for 2 – 4 weeks. This period of time allows for a portion of the alcohol to replace the juices in the peach flesh through the process of osmosis. You may want to shake the contents of the glass container once a week to maximize the extraction of the peach flavor. Do not be concerned if the top layer of sliced peaches turns a little brown. The browning is due to being exposed to air. Between the fruit preserving powder and the alcohol, there are no side effects.
Separate: Pour the contents of the glass jar through a wire mesh strainer to separate the sliced peaches, stones and the citrus zest into a glass bowl. To extract as much of the alcohol that has been infused into the peaches, then with a wooden spoon, mash the peaches against the wire mesh strainer.
Once you have strained the peaches then pour the peach liqueur contents back into the original glass container that you have washed and cleaned. Seal the container and store in the back of the closet for another two to four weeks. This period of time will allow for the smaller solids to settle to the bottom of the container.
Decant & Bottling: Given that the entire process to make homemade peach liqueur is a four to six week process, I felt it was important to post the first three steps now to provide instructions to those interested in making peach liqueur at home and have a supply of ripe peaches in which to use. I suggest coming back to this post in two to three weeks for the final set of instructions and pictures of the decanting and bottling of the peach liqueur.