Saturday, October 1, 2011

Preserved Peaches: Four Ways

I have such a tumultuous relationship with peaches.  OK, maybe that's overly dramatic.  But - when they're good, they're amazing and then (what seems like) a week later, they're practically inedible.

It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the Mackinaw peaches:

So, to capitalize on the deliciousness that is in-season peaches, I preserved peaches four different ways.

To start, I froze a large freezer bag full of peaches (skin on) to use in my smoothies throughout the year.  This is something I started doing last year.

Next, I got together with a friend to make two types of peach jam.  The first was a sugar-free peach jam recipe from Bernardin.

Sugar-Free Peach Jam

4 cups (1000 ml) peeled, pitted and crushed peaches
1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened apple or white grape juice
2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
1 pkg (49 g) BERNARDIN® No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin
Sweetener – if using:
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) SPLENDA®  No Calorie Sweetener
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) granulated sugar
** I used about 3/4 cup of honey

Check out the Bernardin website for the full recipe.

I'm quickly shifting the majority of my preserving recipes to low-sugar.  I prefer to use honey or maple syrup over an artificial sweetener and, in the end, they taste great!

The next recipe we tried was a Peach Lavender jam from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving.  

Peach Lavender Jam

2 tbsp dried lavender flowers
1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups finely chopped peaches (about 5-6 medium peaches)
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin

1. Place lavender flowers in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over flowers and steep for 20 minutes. Strain (keep liquid) and discard flowers.  Make sure to smell the amazing lavender fragrance as much as possible.

2. Combine lavender liquid, peaches, lemon juice and sugar in a very large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in pectin.

3. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Makes 6 cups.

Note: this was my first time using liquid pectin and it didn't thicken up the way I would want.  Maybe it requires more boiling before adding the pectin.  I'm not sure.  I may try something with liquid pectin again in the future, but it seems more challenging to work with since you're supposed to remove the fruit mixture from heat before adding the pectin.    

The flavour is good, but it's more of a ice cream topping consistency than a jam.  

The fourth peach preserving recipe I followed was peaches in simple syrup.  I recruited my cousin, who was visiting for the week, to make this with me.  He's going to make an awesome boyfriend for someone one day -- he likes cooking and is studying to be a massage therapist.  Not to mention that he's a good kid and a nice guy (there's a difference between the two, right?).  Ladies??? 

I has some siphoning issues (syrup solution leaking out of the jars when removed from boiling canning water).  After some freaking out, I sought advice from Marisa at Food in Jars  and @Canvolution on Twitter (check out Canning Across America).  Both are great preserving resources and both said that this is probably due to a lack of headspace and, as long as the seal is good, it should be fine.  PHEW!

So, there you have it -- preserved peaches, four ways.

I started off the summer with a goal to fill the shelf, below, with jars.  The shelf runs the length of my 10 X 10 guest room.  Here's the progress:

If you're interested in reading more of our preserving posts, click on this link.


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I am all over this post. Just fab! Didn't know you could freeze whole peaches, what a great tip!

Beth said...

“I have such a tumultuous relationship with peaches.” This line cracked me up!
Your shelf of preserves puts me to shame. All I make is chili sauce – but it’s the best chili sauce in the world! (My mom’s recipe.)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I have a love affair with peaches as well!!! I really should get that small batch cookbook from bernadin.

That Girl said...

I love fresh peaches, but I have a tumultuous relationship with cooked ones!

PG said...

Bellini -- the small batch cookbook I have isn't from Bernardin. Everything from Bernardin that I use I find online.

pam said...

I'm impressed! Any jam that turns out to runny, I just stir into plain yogurt.

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