Peaches are in season, inexpensive and easily available at the local farmers market. I bought a bunch to make Peach Preserves and my Make-Ahead Peach Crisp. There is nothing quite like homemade peach preserves anytime of the year, but especially in the fall and winter.
So, you may be wondering, what is the difference between jams and preserves? They are both made from fruit mixed with sugar and sometimes pectin. That makes determining the difference in the two difficult to discern. Regardless, I will try to explain. In making jam, the fruit starts with fruit pulp or crushed fruit where preserves use more of the whole fruit cut in pieces. I like mine a bit chunky so you could say I make preserves.
With that explanation out of the way, let’s get on with making my homemade peach preserves.
- 3 pounds peaches (about 8 to 10 peaches), peeled, pitted, and cut into slices or chunks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fruit pectin
Place a small plate and spoon in the freezer. Sterilize 4 – 8 oz jars, lids and bands and set aside.
Prepare the peaches and place all the ingredients in a 4-quart saucepan. Stir the mixture to combine. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 to 40 minutes (See notes below).
Stirring occasionally, continue to simmer the mixture until it begins to coat the back of a spoon and runs off in a sheet instead of a thin stream. At around 15 minutes, occasionally starting checking for doneness using the frozen plate and cold spoon. Place a small amount of the jam on the chilled plate. Place the dish back in the refrigerator for 1 minute. Tilt the plate to check for jelling, if it stays put or hardly moves you’re good. One final test I do is to run my finger through the mixture, if it forms a firm line and crinkles a bit on the sides, it’s done. If neither happens, clean the plate and spoon and place them back in the freezer and repeat this process every few minutes until you’ve reached a proper level of jelling/thickness.
Using a canning funnel, ladle the hot peach preserves into the clean sterilized jars leaving ¼″ headspace. Wipe the rims clean, attach the lids, label, date, allow to cool completely. Store the peach preserves in the refrigerator for up to 5 weeks or freeze in freezer jars for up to a year. When frozen, thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before use.
Notes: The amount of time peach preserves take to cook will depend on how ripe they are. The riper or unripe they are, the less or more time they will take to reach the right thickness. If your peach chunks are a bit too big, use a potato masher to break up the peaches into to smaller pieces. The recipe can be doubled or tripled if desired.
There are two ways to peel peaches. If the peaches are quite ripe, cut an X, ½-inch deep and an inch or so long on the bottom of each peach and then place them in a pot of boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Move them to a bowl of ice water. The skin should peel off very easily. If the peaches are firm, peel them as you would an apple.
Well, the Peach Preserves are done, chilled and ready to spread on my English Muffin Toasting Bread. I do enjoy the bright slightly tart fresh flavor they impart. The best part is I have the rest of the jars tucked away in the freezer for later when peaches are not so readily available.
Next up is my Make-Ahead Peach Crisp… YUM!
Time to eat…
P.S. Take a moment to check out and purchase some of the tools I used for this “Peach Preserves” below. 🙂