Ahhhh, peaches. Nothing is more divine than a perfectly ripened peach in summer. Biting through that fuzzy peach skin, while the warm juices drip down the sides of my mouth and chin, creates a sticky mess that I love and can’t wait for when summer arrives. I adore peaches, but peach season is far too short for my tastebuds. And I think my daughter would agree.
Although she’s only two, she can almost eat her weight in peaches. Last week she downed two extremely large peaches at breakfast, along with a good helping of yogurt and homemade granola. I wasn’t sure whether or not to give in when she asked for more peaches, since I thought for sure her little tummy was ready to burst, but she proved me wrong. She ate it all happily.
I find it really hard to decline her requests for healthy food, so frequently I give in to them. How can a mom say no to green beans or raspberries for a snack?! It’s much easier to say no to another of her favorites… cake.But back to my love of peaches. I have been on a bit of a jam/preserve canning kick lately and ever since my mom came up and helped me freeze a lug of peaches a few weeks ago, I’ve had a hankering to make some peach preserves. So when I happened upon peaches for 99 cents a pound at the grocery store, I couldn’t help but pick up another lug. A lug weighs between 20-25 lbs, by the way. At least that’s what we were told at the farmer’s market. I believe it varies by fruit, but for peaches that’s about right.
This go around I made two batches. The first is a basic peach preserve that is totally versatile and delicious, and the second tastes just like you’re licking the inside of a peach pie. Nothing wrong with that, right?
The only difference between the two recipes was the addition of 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. That teeny little tweak transformed delicious peach preserves, to the incredible peach pie preserves that I’m happily going to use as gifts this Christmas. Yummo!
And don’t worry, this preserve is not limited to use as a breakfast item, either. We’ve already served it over grilled chicken breasts and pork chops, and both are delicious! Just spoon it over the top when you’re ready to serve. Or, you could baste a little on during the last couple of minutes of grilling. Be warned, however, the high sugar content will cause it to char fairly easily. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs peaches, peeled and finely chopped (a generous 5 cups)
- 3 Tbsp bottled lemon juice
- 4½ Tbsp Classic Pectin (I used Ball brand)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon - leave out for basic peach preserves
- ¼ tsp butter, optional (to help reduce foam)
- Waterbath Procedure:
- Sterilize jars, lids and rings by washing in hot, soapy water. Fill waterbath two-thirds full of clean water and place on largest burner of your stove.
- Place jars to be used in waterbath and turn to medium-high heat to begin heating the water. (This will take some time.)
- In the meantime, place lids to be used in small saucepan of water and keep on low heat. Do NOT boil. Boiling the water can cause the rubber seal portion of the lid to fail during the canning process. You are just warming them right now.
- Prepare the Preserves:
- Wash, peel and remove pit from peaches. Finely chop and place, along with the lemon juice, into a large non-stick skillet or 8-quart pot.
- Cook over medium-high heat and gradually add in the pectin and stir to combine.
- Add in the butter and stir until melted.
- Continue to cook until mixture begins to boil. You want a rolling boil that will not reduce down when stirred. Stir constantly to prevent burning! A non-stick pan or pot is essential for this!
- Add sugar all at once and stir till dissolved. Bring back to a rolling boil and continue to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and spoon off any foam that's still present. (I don't worry too much about this.)
- Ladle jam into prepared jars and wipe the rim clean with a wet washcloth. This helps ensure there is nothing on the rim to prevent a clean seal.
- Place rings on jars and turn to secure. Use the "fingertip tight" rule. Turn the ring with your fingertips until it is secure...not loose, but not too tight, either.
- Place prepared jars in waterbath and allow 1-2 inches of water to cover the tops of each jar. Once all jars are in, place lid on waterbath and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the waterbath and allow jars to set for 5-10 minutes to allow them to adjust to the cooler temperature.
- Remove the jars from the waterbath and set on a towel on the counter. Take care not to tilt the jars while removing. Allow jars to set on the counter for 24 hours while you wait for the "ping" as the lids begin to seal. They should do this within half an hour of being removed from the water, in my experience.
- After 24 hours, check all lids by gently pressing on the center of the lid. If the jars sealed, you will not be able to press down on the lid. If you press in the lid, jars should be refrigerated and eaten with a few days.
Recipe adapted from the Ball Pectin Jar.