Our white peach tree has been loaded with peaches this year, so much so that some of the branches have broken. Here is part of the harvest. I probably could have waited a couple more days but the last time I decided to wait another day, raccoons or squirrels ate every peach on the tree the night before. How disappointing!
I have already frozen several 2 cup packages to use in the Fruit Cobbler recipe on this blog. And then yesterday I tried making peach preserves which I had never made before. I found the following recipe online. It was excellent, so I am also adding it to the Miscellaneous section of Recipes #2 page.
One of our grandsons and his girlfriend plan to come over one night this week to help me make more since I've already given away half of that I made yesterday.
The Best Peach Preserves Recipe
8 cups pitted, peeled* peaches, cut in a 1-inch dice
Zest of half a lemon
4 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
6 Tablespoons classic fruit pectin
7 cups white sugar
1 Tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
(I cut down on the spices significantly because I was afraid they would overpower the peaches. I used about 1/2 tsp. from a tube of fresh ginger I found in the produce department at the grocery store because they didn't have crystallized ginger, 1/8 t. nutmeg, and a little less than the 1/8 t. ground cloves. I did not use the lemon zest, but I also I didn't reduce the salt or cinnamon since I love cinnamon.)
Begin boiling water in the canning pot. The water should be two inches over the height of the jars. Heat jars, lids and bands in simmering (not boiling) water until ready to use. Remove with tongs and set on dry paper towels.
*You can use the same pot to peel your peaches. Drop 4 or 5 peaches at a time into the simmering water for 45 seconds. Immediately remove peaches and drop in a large bowl of ice water for 20-30 seconds. You should easily be able to slip the skin right off the peaches.
In a 6- to 8-quart saucepan, set to medium-high heat, bring the peaches and lemon juice to a boil. Lightly mash the peaches (this will help thicken the jam).
Add the pectin and quickly return the mixture to a boil. Stirring constantly, gradually add the sugar.
All at once, stir in the ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, reserved lemon zest and salt, and continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Remove from heat. Skim any foam off the top.
Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe rim with wet paper towel. Center lid on jar. Screw on the band until firmly in place.
Process in the boiling water bath 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids after 24 hours; they should not flex when center is pressed.
Label and date your jars. Peach jam will keep up to two years.
Makes 6 pints