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For most of my life, I have not understood “Secret Family Recipes”. I never knew why folks didn’t want to share a recipe with everyone, and I always thought that no recipe is really that valuable, or sacred, or delicious.
I continued with this thought pattern until I had this encounter.
Now my maiden name is Buchanan, and I might have mentioned somewhere that Buchanans are Scottish, and that we might have a wee bit of stubborn pride in us. Just a wee bit as I am a wee lass. My family has always made a special syrup called Peach Honey and served it with pancakes, waffles, Dutch Babies, popovers, corn bread, and such. This special syrup was invented and created and patented (okay she didn’t patent it, but she should have) by my Great-Grandma Gertrude Buchanan. Although I never met her, she was a remarkable lady. I know this because I knew her remarkable children–all nine of them– one of which is my grandfather.
That’s my grandpa on the back row, fifth from the left–the handsome one. And yes, you-bet-cha he is wearing a Buchanan plaid tie.
(Back Row: Jack, Jenny Hayhoe, Ernest, Ura Dear, Clem, Fanny Turton, Rolly
Front Row: Eunice Klassen, Ralph and Gertrude, Martha Wilson)–I may have Eunice and Fanny mixed up.
This remarkable lady passed down her Peach Honey Recipe to her daughters and daughters-in-law. And they in turn passed down the recipe to their daughters and daughters-in-law. And they. . .well you get the idea. And so it is that I always make Peach Honey for my family.
By 1991 the family looked like this. I’m in the photo somewhere.
Now this recipe has never been any kind of secret, in fact, we all like to share the special syrup and the recipe. And you can see from the size of our family, that a treasured and shared recipe could travel a long way.
I was proudly serving this special Peach Honey to a guest, and I proudly mentioned that it was a family recipe passed down from my Great Grandma. The guest I was serving said that she also knew of the recipe, but that it wasn’t from my great grandma but rather from Walla Walla. Now them-there were fighting words, and I stubbornly affirmed that the recipe was my Great Grandma Gertrude’s recipe. The guest was non-plus and affirmed that it probably had come from Walla Walla first. At this point if I had been wearing my kilt, I would have given out the battle cry, grabbed my dirk, glaive, and targe and plunged ahead smiting hip and thigh. Thankfully, I believe my baby cried then, and I had to leave the room.
Now I never knew that I was so stubbornly attached to this special recipe, but I guess that old Scott in me is still a warrior. So I am sharing this very special recipe with you in order to set the record straight and give my great grandma the proper respect due to her and her special recipe. This recipe is completely free, marvelously delicious, simple and easy, and completely sharable. How-so-ever, if you would like to use and share this recipe, you must first solemnly swear to always give the credit and source of this recipe as from Gertrude Buchanan or just “The Old Buchanan Clan”–never forgetting that we are warriors at heart and will seek you out if rumor ever again goes around that the origin of this recipe was from Bora Bora, Walla Walla, or Mahi-Mahi.
To begin. Next time you are slicing washed peaches for cobbler–or Clobber as Eloise says, don’t toss those peach skins and pits. They are the secret to Peach Honey.
After you have washed the peaches, peel them into a large pot. Add the pit. Now I was tempted to leave out the pits. I thought–how much flavor could they add? My mom said they add the beautiful red color, and she is right. I left them out of one bach of Peach Honey, and the color wasn’t the same intensity.
Cover the peach peelings and pits with water and bring them to a simmer. Simmer away for about 20 minutes to half an hour to seep all that goodness out.
When all the flavor has simmered into the water. Turn off the heat and drain off the peach peelings and pits. What you have left is a beautifully colored, peach flavoured, liquid that is about to become gold.
I like to drain my peach liquid right into a glass measuring container, as the next step is to measure how much peach liquid you have. Here’s the hard part. It is equal parts liquid to sugar. Okay that wasn’t hard it was super easy. If you have 8 1/2 cups of peach liquid, you measure out 8 1/2 cups of sugar. Don’t skimp. Measure out the whole amount of that wonderfully refined, white, sugar.
Pour your peach liquid and sugar into a VERY LARGE pot. The contents will almost triple in size while it is getting boiled down, so either use a HUGE pot or make your Peach Honey in two batches. Stir until the sugar is dissolved over a medium-high heat.
Hello everyone!! I want to insert a very, very, very real CAUTION. Boiling sugar is the hottest thing in the world and it can REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, burn you or your little ones. During the next step I usually keep the kiddos out of the kitchen, and don’t answer the phone. This precaution really came home to me this last week as my Little Man pulled a frying pan off the stove while I was hunting for his Sippy Cup. His Guardian Angles tempered the whole incident, and thankfully, my Little One was safe. I still thank the LORD every time I near the stove that my Little Guy only burned his hand a little. I was frying up celery and onions and the pan was on medium. Thank YOU LORD for keeping him safe.
This is how long you boil up the syrup. . .In my mom’s words. “Let the syrup boil up. Keep the heat on until the syrup foam falls back down.” I know. Not too specific. I tried to use a candy thermometer to give you all an exact temperature. The temperature was close to 215 Fahrenheit, and time-wise it was about 20 minutes. Both of these are approximates.
I use the “Boil-Up-Then-Fall-Back-Down” indicator. Here is how it looks in pictures.
Syrup heating up.
Then the syrup boils up and gets “foamy” and full of bubbles.
My pot was barely big enough to hold all this liquid gold. I stir it occasionally to keep it from boiling over.
In the next picture, you will see the syrup falling back down.
LET THIS LIQUID GOLD COOL BEFORE YOU HANDLE IT!!! (Unless you are canning it. Then I assume you would know that you have to pour it into a jar heated to about the same temperature as the Peach Honey or you will break/crack/explode the canning jar. PLEASE! OH PLEASE! BE CAREFUL!) I can my Peach Honey, but it also freezes just fine. Since Peach Honey has such a high sugar content, you can keep it in the refrigerator for as long as you keep your other syrups.
And here’s your gold. The color of the Peach Honey varies depending on how concentrated your peach liquid is (i.e. your peelings to water ratio). The picture doesn’t show it well, but both syrups are amber in color. One darker than the other.
And now Oh Best Beloved, I have shared Buchanan Gold with you. Please remember your solemn vow to always give The Buchanan Clan the attribution for this recipe (more specifically, Mrs. Gertrude Buchanan.)
Thanks for cooking with me.
More importantly, thanks for putting up with me.
Love you all,
P.S. Question for a Give-Away: What was I wearing on my feet while making Peach Honey? Look at the pictures carefully and you will see. Hint. I photographed myself in these in a previous post. Correct answers will be automatically entered into the Give-Away.