Savor the flavors of summer by making your own peach preserves to enjoy throughout the year. Like other fruit preserves, peach preserves are best made in small batches to maintain the sunny color and ripe flavor of the fruit. Unlike jams and jellies, preserves are intended to be chunky, so the cooking time is relatively short. Store the preserves in the refrigerator or can them for long-term storage.
Making small batches of preserves doesn’t require special equipment. Grab a large, heavy bottomed pot, spoon and a measuring cup. Other items include a cutting board and a sharp knife for slicing the peaches. Gather clean, lidded jars to store the preserves. Long-term storage of the preserves requires canning, a process that seals the preserves in jars while killing bacteria that can lead to spoilage. To can peach preserves, grab another large pot or a canner for processing the jars, and tongs or jar lifters.
Keep the ingredients simple to let the flavor of the fruit shine. Choose fresh, ripe peaches that are firm but give a little when you press on them. To peel the peaches quickly and easily, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the peaches to the water and let it boil for 30 seconds before removing the peaches and immediately placing them in a bowl of ice water. Other necessary ingredients include granulated lemon juice, powdered pectin and lemon juice, which help thicken the preserves and balance the sweetness of the fruit.
Simmering and Boiling the Ingredients
Add peaches, sugar, lemon juice and pectin to a large pot. Let the mixture sit for approximately 30 minutes so the peaches release juices and sugar begins dissolving. Unless the recipe indicates otherwise, use approximately 3/4 cup of sugar for every 1 cup of sliced peaches. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high or high heat. Stir regularly while cooking the mixture for approximately 10 minutes, until the syrup thickens and the peaches are tender.
Storing Peach Preserves
Test a spoonful of peach preserves and allow it to cool for one minute. If it holds its shape, it's ready. If not, boil it for another few minutes before again checking the preserves. Fill clean, warm jars with the hot preserves, leaving approximately 1/2 inch at the top. Secure the lids and store the preserves in the refrigerator for up to one year. To store the preserves without refrigeration, boil water in a large pot or canner. Process the jars for approximately 10 minutes before removing the jarred peach preserves and allowing the jars to cool.