Sunday, September 7, 2008

Easy Peach Freezer Preserves

When I was young, we lived in Virginia. In front of our house were two huge white peach trees, and each year my mother would make peach preserves for our family. To this day, peach preserves are my favorite on toast or biscuits or over vanilla ice cream. Here's an easy recipe to make them at home. Use the freshest orchard peaches you can find -- the more local, the better!


8 cups fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and diced
Juice of 2 lemons
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 packages pectin (I use sure-jell)

Prepare your peaches and place them in a large saucepot. Add lemon juice and stir to incorporate. Use a potato masher to lightly press the peaches and allow them to release their juice. (If you like your preserves less jam-like, skip this step.) Stir in sugar until thoroughly distributed. Allow peach mixture to rest for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, bring water and pectin to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the peaches and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into freezer containers, leaving at least 3/4 of an inch at the top for expansion. Allow the preserves to cool at room temperature for 24 hours to give the pectin a chance to set. Use within 3 weeks if stored in the refrigerator, or within one year if frozen.


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