It’s that time again! It’s time for getting home ready for fall and pulling out the bazillion pumpkins you have stashed away. (I know that’s not just me.) So while I’m making home feel fallish (and Insta documenting it), I’m simultaneously wrapping up summer, and one of the best ways to do that is with some late summer peach preserves.
I convinced my husband to stop by the orchard to pick up some apples, and there were still some late summer peaches popping off the trees. Y’all it was like a gift!
It’s Easy Peasy Peach Preserves
I chose to do peach preserves because it’s easy to make. It’s basically chopping up the peaches and leaving the fruit in chunks rather than making puree or using the juice like in jams and jellies. I needed something with less work, because I’ll be honest. I need it to be simple with as few steps as possible.
Peach Preserve Steps
So, as I said peach preserves are really easy to make, and they taste sooo much better than anything you’ll find in a jar in any grocery store. The most tedious part is slipping off the skins to get them naked. So I did what any respectable woman would do. I had my children skin them.
So here’s how I do that.
First I drop them in a pot of boiling water for about two to three minutes each.
Next, I shock the peaches in cold water and gently peel off the skin. Here’s a short video showing you how I do this. It makes getting the skin off the the fresh peaches super easy.
I get my little helpers in on this job.
Once the skin is off, I seed and roughly chop all of the peaches and then measure out about 8 cups to go into the pot. I like to do small batches to make sure I get a good, thick preserve. More than 8 cups tend to turn out a bit runnier than I like.
Next, I dump the chopped peaches in a pot and add about two cups of raw sugar. My peaches were pretty sweet, and I’ve been watching our sugar intake, so I went for a little (okay a lot) less than I usually use for a batch (about 7 measured cups of sugar).
My Personal Disclaimer
(Okay, before you flip about the amount of sugar used in this, just know that if you buy preserves, jam, jelly or pretty much anything in the store, you’re getting waaaay more sugar than what I use.)
Not to mention, preserves are meant to use as a condiment on something like a bread, cracker or something of the sort (in small amounts).
Making the Preserves
After the peaches and sugar are in the pot, I add
two teaspoons of cinnamon
1/8 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of grated fresh ginger
1/8 tsp of cloves
I mix all of those around, really well, in the peaches so that the juices, until the sugar dissolves. Then I add:
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
6 oz of dutch gel (or fruit pectin) to thicken it up
I mix these up on medium heat until the peaches get thickened up to the point where it actually looks like jelly. You have to watch it because it will quickly burn on the bottom.
If it’s too runny still, I just add more dutch gel or pectin, but I’ve found that the dutch gel works faster (and better) for my personal taste. We like thick preserves.
How To Know They’re Ready
After about 10 to 15 minutes of cooking and stirring the peaches, They should be about ready to jar. The jars have to be hot because you’ll be adding the hot preserves to them. Those jars will shatter if you don’t warm them up first and you try adding the hot preserves to the jars.
Lid them, and let them cool.
Storing Your Preserves
My family goes through jam like they’re raiding in prep for an apocalypse, so we use the quart sized jars and always keep a few in the fridge.
If you want to store your preserves for longer, and you’re not familiar with the canning process, the Ball Book is a long time best resource for canning. My Grandma used the Ball books and I have one right up in my cabinet now. It’s only the best canning guide ever. So you can grab yourself one here for under $10 (this link is an ad, btw).
I should also mention that, in addition to canning instructions, there are a good number of recipes for canning other foods in this book.
There are other canning books out there, but Ball’s been around for since the 1800’s. I just stick with them because I trust them.
First Time Canner’s Resources
If you’re just starting with jarring, Ball also has a fool proof book called “Ball Canning Back to Basics: A Foolproof Guide to Canning Jams, Jellies, Pickles, and More” that I’d recommend. It can be purchased here (ad).
This book goes step by step, and like I mentioned. Ball’s a canning brand that’s been used for centuries.
Here are a few other things you’ll need if you’re a beginning canner (affiliate links, but products I actually use):
canning starter kit to jar your preserves (It has the lid remover for removing your sterilized lids – yes, they have to be sterilized, a canning funnel and a few other tools that will help make the process easier.) The set is less than $15. If you don’t want plastic and prefer a pretty stainless steel option, the (trusted) Norpro set is here.
- canning jars (wide mouth for an easier jar to dig into or regular) If you’re shopping online, Walmart has the best deal for canning jars. However, Amazon Prime members can get them here for faster shipping (8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz – cases of 12).
- lids (I love to use the twist on plastic lids for storage after use, they’re reusable and a lot less of a pain after the jars have been used and then placed in the fridge.)
- a canning pot with a rack (about $30) or a full canning set (about $50) with the canning starter kit included
I own a couple of the canning sets with the plastic pieces, and they’ve lasted me years upon years. (I actually have two sets – ahem, family of 12).
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it. Making peach preserves is just one of those things we like to do at the end of summer. If you’re looking to get into making your own preserves, I recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving as a resource (that I’ve used repeatedly over years). For first timers or those who want something step by step and fool proof, there’s the Ball Canning Back To Basics to get you started.
Making preserves is pretty easy, and something that even my children enjoy doing with me. My children seem to love eating what they’ve helped to make, and I love knowing exactly what’s inside!
Are you a canner? Comment below with some of your favorite resources for jarring your favorite foods.