White sugar (if you wish)
Lemon juice (a Tablespoon or two)
Buncha ½ pint (250ml) jars
Buncha lids and screw tops
I love preserving peaches because they are just so perfect as they come off the tree. I wanted to make preserves that captured that summery flavour, while being more integrated and less watery than the canned peaches I've made before. (Which are delish, mind you, just not what I was looking for this year.)
I should also mention that I made this recipe in August so if you're wondering where I found quality fresh peaches in abundance in Ontario in October, I didn't.
One source I consulted for this recipe called for a whopping 4 cups of sugar to 11 lbs of peaches. I am honestly not sure how many pounds of peaches I started with - no measuring needed for this recipe - but I believe it was a half-bushel, which wouldbe roughly 25 lbs. And for that, I used maybe a half cup of sugar. Really relying on the natural sweetness here.
This recipe is easy-peasy but you'll want to do it when you're planning to stick around the kitchen for a couple of days in a row. Read the instructions, and you'll see why.
- If your peaches have a very clingy skin, you'll want to blanch them before peeling. Mine were quite ripe and I found them quite easy to peel with a veggie peeler so I skipped this step.
- Peel, peel, peel. Chop 'em up and put them in a large pot. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice.
Bring the uncovered pot to a light boil, stirring occasionally and throughly to prevent scorching. Once the reaches a light boil, simmer for 10 minutes and turn off the heat. Let the pot stand uncovered until it is just warm to the touch or reaches room temp.
Have a little taste and add sugar if you wish.
Bring the pot to a light boil, simmer for 10 minutes, and cool down again.
Do that again.
And again. For those counting, that's four times you bring to a light boil, simmer, then cool down.
Now, get your jars ready. Wash your jars in hot soapy water and rinse well.
- Heat water in a small pot and put your snap lids in there to soften.
Aaaaand one more time with the boil of the peaches. EXCEPT this last time you bring them to a boil, you won't be cooling them down before ladling them into your clean, room temperature (or hotter) jars.
Scoop peaches into each jar, leaving about 1/2 inch head space.
"Bubble" each jar with a skewer or chopstick to release any trapped air. Wipe each rim with a clean paper towel, dampened with vinegar. Place a heated snap lid down and screw the ring on finger tip tight.
- Put the jars into your water bath canner. Make sure there is at least an inch of water above the top of your jars. Put the pot lid on and bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Don't start your timer until the water is boiling.
Use them as preserves on toast, as a topping for vanilla ice cream, or as an absolutely dreamy filling for homemade biscuits. Really, you can't go wrong.
Aaron made the biscuits, and I think he used this recipe from Cook's Illustrated, Talent kid I've got, eh?? (Apologies, it's behind a pay wall.)