Perfectly peachy

Posted by Anita on 09.17.10 10:57 PM

I have a great story to tell you about the peach preserves I made for this month’s CanJam — the theme of which is stone fruit — hosted by The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. But work has managed to sap every last ounce of my attention this week, and it’s already 11pm. Making matters worse, the hard-and-fast deadline for the CanJam roundup means this post must go up no later than midnight tonight. Time, it seems, is not on my side.

So you’ll just have to trust me when I say that the peaches we bought — the deep, aromatic, and complex-flavored ‘Oh Henry’ variety from Woodleaf Farm – were so damned perfect that we couldn’t bear to embellish them with the fancy ingredients we had originally planned to use. Instead, we turned to a formula that I learned years ago from preserves maven June Taylor, a simple recipe that lets the taste of the fruit shine.

We also wanted to preserve the deep blush of the peaches, so we didn’t peel our fruit before jamming. And truthfully, unless your peaches have problem skin, we recommend just giving them a quick rinse in cool water and drying them with a towel. Peeling is a pain in the neck, and you won’t notice the difference in the final preserve.

Perfectly Simple Peach Preserves
- adapted from June Taylor

3 pounds pitted ripe peaches
- rinsed, dried, and cut into bite-sized pieces
10 oz white sugar*
2-1/2 T lemon juice
1 T orange zest
4 8-oz canning jars and lids

Prepare canner, lids, and jars according to the usual method; keep jars hot until needed.

Toss together the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and let sit, covered, overnight to allow the peaches to soften and release their juices.

Transfer the macerated fruit and juices into a heavy, wide stainless-steel pot, and bring to a boil, stirring as necessary. After the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer; stir frequently to distribute the mixture and prevent burning.

Actual cooking time will vary depending on the fruit’s moisture level and the speed of your simmer. Most batches are done at between 20 and 25 minutes; you don’t want to simmer longer than 30 minutes or the sugars will begin to caramelize.

As the mixture approaches a sauce-like consistency, stir constantly to prevent scorching. To test for proper gel, use the saucer test or watch for the liquid to sheet off the edge of a metal spoon.

When the preserves have reached the proper set, remove from the heat. Working quickly, ladle into hot prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as needed. Wipe rims and center lids on jars; screw band to fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely submerged. Bring to a boil and process jars for 10 minutes with the canner lid on. When time is complete, remove canner lid and turn off heat; wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Cool, check for seals, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

* Sugar can and should be adjusted depending on the fruit’s level of sweetness and your own taste. The sweetest fruit will require a ratio of 5.5 pounds of prepared fruit to 1 pound of sugar; the least-sweet fruit will be closer to 4:1.

CanJam, locavore, preserving & infusing, recipes



Comment by Cathy/ShowFoodChef

Anita, these pics are gorgeous and the jam sounds fantastic. I took 2 workshops with June T. and love her so much. Your care and delight with the perfect peach (like her’s) is inspiring.

Posted on 09.18.10 at 1:03AM

Comment by Wizzythestick

LOL – this is just the kind of ode to peaches type blog post that I joke about on my latest blog post:P Seriously all my kidding aside you are indeed quite lucky to have access to such wonderful fruit

Posted on 09.18.10 at 8:47PM

Pingback by Peach jam, part 2 | Tasty Biscuit

[...] Adapted from Married with Dinner blog recipe. [...]

Posted on 09.19.10 at 11:00PM

Comment by Nirmala

Thanks SO much for this post!! I love peaches and they are generally so good, I want to preserve them as is!! I’m bookmarking this recipe for next summer! Now I just need to learn how to can. A little scared of it.

Posted on 10.04.10 at 12:16PM

Comment by MoonFace7

Your pictures are realy beautifull. Indeed, you are so lucky to have access to fresh peaches. Your recepie seems great. I intend to try it out for shure. The cooking time seems just perfect, not over cooking the peaches.

Posted on 10.05.10 at 6:19AM

Comment by Zoomie

My peach tree was a sad sack this year – small and weird peaches, not a single edible one. I’m hoping next year there will actually be a summer in NOCA where peaches can ripen properly. Glad you had some lovely ones to work with and isn’t June Taylor an inspiration?

Posted on 10.10.10 at 8:34PM

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[…] Perfectly simple peach preserves (September 2010) […]

Posted on 03.13.14 at 10:48AM

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