Macerating peaches in a little sugar and lemon juice makes the most delightful peach simple syrup, It’s honey sweet and perfumed with just enough acidity to be interesting. Use this fresh peach simple syrup to flavor drinks, desserts and even to perk up your morning yogurt.
skill level: beginner
You only need basic knife skills for this easy recipe. Time and patience do the rest. If you have freestone peaches, you can easily peel the skin from the peaches with a paring knife. For cling peaches, use a sharp vegetable peeler.
Waste not, want not peach simple syrup
This “recipe” if we’re calling it that, really started when I was making a fresh peach pie. It called for macerating the peaches with sugar. You see, sugar, like salt, draws out the moisture in foods. The idea for the pie was to pull out the excess moisture from the fresh peaches so that the pie wouldn’t be too “goopy and wet”.
Great, but I was left with a whole lot of excess macerated peach juice. As a waste not want not kind of person, I couldn’t throw it away and after tasting it, I realized I had liquid gold. The syrup-like nectar was sweet, intensely peach-y and absolutely irresistible.
Ever since then, I’ve been making this fresh peach simple syrup to use in lots of summer time dishes… and subsequently finding other uses for the macerated fruit. Go figure.
What you’ll need for peach simple syrup:
- Lemon Juice
What is macerating and how do you macerate peaches?
This article on macerating from Serious Eats takes a deep dive into the subject. Suffice to say that macerating, in cooking terms, is a technique, involving some type of fruit (fresh or dried) and some type of liquid.
Soaking the fruit in the liquid flavors will soften the fruit, season it with the flavors of the liquid and in the case of dried fruit, it will semi-rehydrate and plump the fruit — Check out my rum raisin ice cream for that.
So essentially macerating means to soak in a liquid. But wait. We’re not adding liquid to the peaches — and no, a few tablespoons of lemon juice doesn’t really count as a soak. So what’s the deal?
When fresh, fruit is mixed with sugar, it draws the moisture and juices out of the fruit, creating its own syrup. The fruit softens the longer it sits (try it with strawberries or raspberries and see what I mean).
Usually, to make simple syrup, you heat the sugar with water or other juices until the sugar is completely dissolved. and creates the syrup. However, when you’re using fresh fruit, like these peaches, there’s no need to heat things up. The sugar, draws out the juices from the fruit and then dissolves in that liquid. Pretty genius, right?
How to make peach syrup
- Peel and slice the peaches and transfer to a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the peaches with sugar and lemon juice.
- Mix well until the peaches are completely coated with sugar and there are no “dry spots” of sugar left.
- Walk away.
How long does it take to macerate peaches for simple syrup?
Your peaches should be ready in about 30 minutes to an hour. To be sure, give the peaches a stir and look at the liquid in the bowl to be sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
Once you’ve got the simple syrup, you need to separate it from the peaches.
Special equipment needed
The only “special equipment” is a fine mesh strainer and depending on what you’re straining the fruit juice into, you might want a funnel, too.
If you have a larger mesh strainer, just rest it on top of a bowl and pour the peaches and all of the juices into the strainer. The bowl will collect the peach simple syrup.
My mesh strainer is a smaller variety and I had to work in batches to do it. I used a plastic funnel set into a 2 cup glass measure with the mesh strainer set on top of it. I did this to avoid excess peach simple syrup from over-flowing the sides of the strainer.
How long to strain the peaches
Let the fruit rest in the strainer for about 5 minutes to get every bit of that liquid gold syrup into your bowl or measuring cup.
You may want to press down on the peaches LIGHTLY to get any remnant simple syrup, but try not to damage the fruit — you know it’s going to end up in another recipe, right?
Golden peach simple syrup
Look at the color of this simple syrup. It’s deeply golden with a slight rosy blush and a distinct peach flavor. Lemon juice enhances the simple syrup with a slight tangy pucker.
This is a fresh simple syrup (not cooked) so, it has a shorter shelf life than regular simple syrup. Keep it refrigerated in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Yes. If you want to make a big batch to use for months to come, pour the syrup into ice cube trays and freeze. Remove the ice from the trays and store in a zip top container for 3 months or longer.
Yes, however, other fruits may need to be simmered with water and sugar. Peaches give up their liquids very readily. See the list below for other simple syrup ideas.
What to do with fresh peach simple syrup:
- Use peach simple syrup in summer cocktails or mocktails.
- Toss peach syrup with other fresh fruit for a kicked up fruit salad.
- Brush over layers of yellow cake before frosting for a lightly peachy twist.
- Drizzle over morning yogurt instead of using honey.
- Spoon over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Ideas for macerated peaches:
Strained macerated peaches won’t leak much more juice and makes them great for use in
- Fruit salads.
- In quick breads or muffins.
- Mixed with morning yogurt.
- Any fruit based dessert.
- Fruit salsa to go with chicken, pork and seafood.
Peach Simple Syrup
- 4 large ripe peaches about 1/2 pound
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Peel the peaches, cut them in half and remove the pit. Slice the peaches into thin slices (about 1/4" – 1/2" thick). Transfer the sliced peaches to a medium bowl.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice and toss well to coat.
- Set the peaches aside to macerate for 30 minutes to an hour. The sugar will dissolve and the peaches will give up their nectar.
- Set a large mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the peaches and all their juices into the strainer. Set aside for 10 minutes or until all of the juices have seeped from the fruit into the bowl. Transfer the peach simple syrup to a jar or small pitcher to use in cocktails, desserts or other recipes.
- Leftover macerated peaches can be spooned into morning yogurt, used in peach desserts like cobbler, peach pie or spooned over ice cream, pound cake or warm biscuits with cream for a special treat.