Technique Tuesday: How to Make Candied Peach Bits

Filed in Canning and Preserving by on August 28, 2018 0 Comments

Turn fresh summer peaches into candied bits for later fruitcakes and other baked goods.

candied peach bits

Candying fruit is basically a process that replaces the water in fruit with sugar. Sugar keeps the fruit from spoiling, a preserving method that has been around since ancient times.

Today most of us are familiar with candied fruit in one of two uses; either the containers of syrupy neon-colored fruitcake mixes that show up in the grocery store mid-November, or as pricey, chocolate-dipped glacéed apricots found in specialty shops.

Since I love (homemade) fruitcake, but abhor most pre-made fruit mixes, I have been making my own candied fruits every summer for years. Every year I make candied cherries, and sometimes I make candied citron or candied quince too. This year, in my role as Canbassador, I decided to experiment with a few fist-sized peaches, seeing if I could candy them enough to preserve, but still keep the fresh peach taste.

What is a Canbassador?

As a Canbassador my job is to make all kinds of wonderful preserved Washington fruit items and then write about them. I must say, it’s one of the best “jobs” I have ever held. Earlier this summer I received cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers, and this month peaches arrived courtesy of Washington State Fruit Commission .

How to Candy Peach Bits

  1. Wash and peel 2-3 large peaches.
  2. Slice wedges from each peach, removing the flesh from the pit.
  3. Chop each wedge into 3 or 4 bits, about ½ inch in size.
  4. Measure 3 cups of chopped peach bits.
  5. Combine 1 ½ cups sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan.
  6. Bring sugar/water to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes, or until it reaches the soft thread stage (232 degrees).
  7. Add the peach bits to the saucepan, stirring just enough to cover the pieces with syrup.
  8. Cook for 50 – 60 minutes. Don’t stir while cooking. (see my tips and hints below)
  9. Remove from heat. Drain mixture, reserving syrup.
  10. Let peaches cool till slightly warm.
  11. Roll peach bits in additional sugar.
  12. Let dry overnight on a baking rack or a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  13. Store in an airtight container.

Tips and Hints for Good Results

  • If you let the peach bits cool enough before rolling in sugar, they will have a sugary look, like these cherries.
  • But, if you try to roll them when they are still too warm (like I did!) the sugar will melt and they will have more of a glaceéd look.
  • The peaches do retain some of their summertime fresh taste with this method.
  • Since peaches are juicier than cherries, they are also juicier following the candying process. Therefore, I will cook my next batch for an extra half-hour, trying to dry them out a little more.
  • Use the reserved syrup for another batch, or add it to iced tea or sparkling water.

How to Use Candied Peach Bits

  • These peach bits will be fantastic in homemade fruit cake. You do make your own fruitcake, don’t you? If not, you should!
  • They would also be good added to muffins or pancakes.
  • Chop them and combine with cinnamon, butter, flour, and a little brown sugar for a coffee cake streusel.
  • Add a few to the kids’ lunchboxes for a small but sweet treat.
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About the Author ()

Renee Pottle, an freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

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