Enjoying sweet, peach preserves is one of the best things in life, it almost reminds people of their innocent childhood. There’s something very pleasing about biting into the sweet flesh of peach preserves coated with liquified sugar or honey mixed with the peaches’ natural juices. Peach preserves are made with whole fruit which becomes concentrated the longer they are preserved. Some peaches are too big for the can so people usually cut it in half or quarters. Choose peaches with firm flesh, cutting those in half would be the best option for a bigger bite that’s full of concentrated peach flavors.
Peach Preserves Trivia
- Clingstone and Freestone are some of the peach varieties grown in North America.
- The State of Georgia is known for its peaches. During the harvest season, all-things peaches are celebrated and the largest peach cobbler is produced every year.
- August is the best season for peaches, and they are usually grown from June to August.
Peach Preserves Buying Guide
Peach preserves are available in the condiments and jellies section of grocery stores and supermarkets. You can purchase either the commercially packed preserves or those produced by artisan families.
It’s best to buy peach preserves during the peach season in order to taste the prime flavors. Peach preserves also have an assortment such as with pectin, no pectin, all-natural, and low sugar. You can choose which one is best for your taste and preference.
Peach Preserves Production & Farming in Texas
People mostly associate peaches with the State of Georgia. While Texas and peaches do not seem to go well together, peaches were introduced in Texas by the German settlers around 1846. Since then, peaches became one of the leading fruit crops in Texas. Gillespie County, in particular, produces Fredericksburg and Stonewall peaches. Fredericksburg is known for its exceptional flavors and Stonewall peaches are said to be the sweetest peaches in Texas.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Jams, jellies, and preserves have four basic ingredients including fruit, pectin, acid, and sugar
Pectin is essential to form the gel-like consistency of jams and jellies. Adding the right amount of pectin would depend on the fruit’s natural pectin content. For instance, peaches and blueberries have very low pectin content. So, an extra amount of pectin is needed to achieve the desired texture.
Acid is essential to maintain gel formation and as a natural preservative. Some fruits contain an adequate amount of natural acid. Meanwhile, others need additional acid which can be naturally derived from lemon juice. Artificial acids are discouraged since they can have harmful effects on the body.
Sugar also affects gel formation, contributes flavors, and acts as a preservative. Honey is commonly used as a natural preservative. However, commercially produced jams, jellies, and preserves are usually mixed with artificial sugars such as sucrose, glucose, sucralose, and aspartame which can have a long-term damaging impact on a person’s health.
Safely canning jams, jellies, and preserves are essential to maintain their flavors and lengthen their shelf-life. The Boiling Water Method for Peach Preserves is one of the most reliable. To do this, prepare the canning jars filled with food and completely submerge them in boiling water at 212°F.
Certain measures should be done before doing the boiling water method. Check the cans to ensure they are safe for food packaging and consumption. Look for cracks, chipped edges, and even tiny scratches. Discard the jars if you can find any of these inconsistencies. This is an essential step since any small cracks or chips can be triggered by heat during the boiling process.
Also, check the rubber lid to ensure that there are no mold growths since any mold could spoil an entire glass. Never use the metal covers if there are patches or specks of rust since it can also contaminate the peach preserves, making them unsafe for consumption.
Enjoying Peach Preserves
While there are countless ways to enjoy peach preserves, one of the most refreshing ways is to mix them with sparkling water or soda to make your peach beverage. It is one of the best and most pleasing ways to beat the Texas heat.
Peach preserves can also be served along with cold yogurt or even plain vanilla ice cream to add for the burst of peachy, summer flavors.
Canning has always been a great way of preserving the bounty of a fruit harvest. Properly storing Peach Preserves is essential for their maximum shelf life. As a standard procedure, any unopened preserves, jams, and jellies can be stored at room temperature for at least a year, given that those should be put in a cool, dry place, away from the direct heat of the sunlight.
Once opened, the peach preserves should be refrigerated and consumed within a week if made without preservatives. However, it can be consumed within two weeks or more if it is made with chemical preservatives.
COUNTRY PEACH PRESERVES
Peach Preserves Ingredients:
11 lbs peaches rinsed
4 cups white sugar
Juice of 1 medium lemon
Other materials you will need:
5-6 pint-sized jars with lids.
To blanch the peaches:
- Fill 2/3 of a large soup pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add peaches for 30 -45 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain the pot. Remove peaches immediately to a large bowl of cold water.
- Peel the skin, cut the peaches into quarters and remove pits.
Cooking the Preserves:
- Place all peeled peaches in a large soup pot and squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Drizzle well with 2 cups sugar, toss and drizzle again with the remaining 1.5-2 cups so the sugar reaches all the peaches. If peaches are very sweet, you may only need 3 1/2 cups of sugar total. Add more sugar to taste while it’s cooking.
- Let peaches sit at room temp with the sugar for about 30 min -1 hour, or until sugar is dissolved.
- Place the pot over the stove uncovered and bring to a light boil, stirring to prevent scorching. Once the whole pot is at 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.
- As soon as it cools, repeat step 3. You will bring it to a light boil a total of 5 times. Preserves have plenty of sugar so they won’t spoil at room temp if you leave it on the counter overnight. If you want the preserves to have an even thicker consistency, you can boil it 6 times if you wish. (Note: the fifth time you boil, bring it to a boil over a little lower heat and stir a few extra times to prevent scorching. Also, it thickens more as it cools.)
- The last time you bring it to a boil you will want to transfer it to sterilized jars while it’s boiling.
To sterilize the jars:
- Wash them and let them dry in the oven at 215°C for about 20 min or until completely dry. Boil the lids 5 min.
- Transfer your boiling hot preserves to the jars using a glass measuring cup and a funnel (least messy method) leaving about 1/2″ space.
- Screw the lids on enough to keep a tight seal in place but don’t over-tighten them since air bubbles need to be able to escape.
- Place packed cans into the canning pot and cover with 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and process 15 minutes. Remove from the pot with jar lifter and leave at room temperature undisturbed for 12-24 hours. You may hear a pop when the jars fully seal. After 24 hours, check that the seal has formed by pushing down on the center of the lid – it should not move at all. If the seal does not form, refrigerate preserves and enjoy within 3 months.