Vanilla-Peach Preserves

Vanilla-peach preserves

My friend Robyn and I have a pretty good system going. She gives me food, and I make something more out of them. She gave me sundried tomato tapenade, and I made tapenade bread. She gave me white and yellow peaches from her trees, and I made jam. Sweet, delicious jam that I can eat by the spoonful straight from the jar.

Vanilla-peach preserves are so simple yet so comforting. Peaches always remind me of summer… the heavy fruity scent filling the air, the blushing skin and golden flesh, the first tender bite on a sunny day while licking juices off my fingers. When I pop open a jar of peach preserves on a dreary winter day, I feel like I’m getting a little whiff of summer.


Since my mishmash of peaches came from my friend’s backyard, I was working with all different sizes of peaches… from golf balls to baseballs. In the end, you want to end up with about 6 cups of finely chopped fruit, so adjust your peach amounts accordingly. The white and yellow peaches in this recipe give a fun poppy color to the preserves, but you can use any peaches you have on hand.

White and yellow peaches

Vanilla-Peach Preserves
Makes 5 half-pints

Ingredients

10 to 15 small to medium white and yellow peaches
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
4 tablespoons low-sugar pectin (I use Ball Low/No-Sugar Needed Pectin)
1 1/2 cups sugar

Method

Peel and pit the peaches. With a small batch like this one, I use a serrated peeler to remove the skin, but you can also use the blanching method.

To blanch for peeling, mark an X at the bottom of each peach with a knife. Drop a few peaches into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until the skin starts to loosen. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the blanched peaches to a large bowl of ice water. When they are cool enough to handle, simply slip off the skin by peeling back the X flaps with your fingers.

Peel, pit, and finely chop the peaches

Finely chop the peeled and pitted peaches. You should end up with about 6 cups of fruit.

6 cups of peeled, pitted, and finely chopped peaches

Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds. (Ahhh… that sweet morsel of caviar!)

Split and scraped vanilla bean

Combine the chopped peaches, vanilla seeds, scraped vanilla bean (just in case you miss any seeds), and lemon juice in a large pot over high or medium-high heat. Stir in the pectin, and bring to a full boil.

Combine peaches, vanilla seeds, scraped vanilla bean, and lemon juice in a large pot

Boil the mixture vigorously for several minutes, stirring constantly, until the peaches and vanilla are well blended, and the fruit reaches a thick, jammy consistency.

Stir in the sugar, return to a full boil, and boil for another minute. The mixture should be bubbly and boiling to a point where it cannot be stirred down.

Boil vigorously until the mixture reaches a thick, jammy consistency

Remove the pot from heat and discard the vanilla bean. Stir to make sure the fruit is well distributed.

Ladle the preserves into hot, clean jars, seal with rings and lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust time for altitude if needed).

Hot sterilized jars, lids, and rings

Ladle the preserves into jars

Besides the cheery color of these peach preserves, I love how you can also see flecks of vanilla bean in the little jars!

Flecks of vanilla bean in peach preserves

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August 26 2011      5 comments     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Frutas

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  • Melody

    Can I add in 2-3 vanilla beans? Will that affect the acidity of the recipe or anything? (I really like vanilla-ey things..)

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

      Yes, you can use more vanilla!

  • http://twitter.com/lovesowngarden Paige Puckett

    This turned out great for me. The baby was screaming for bite after bite. However, I’ve never made jam before, so I wasn’t sure I got it to bubble up enough and may have heated it too long trying to get that froth in your picture. It ended up more gelatin-like once it cooled. Is this right? It was absolutely delicious.

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com Linda Ly

      Gelatin-like… as in a hard jelly set?

      It should be more of a spreadable preserve… not too soft/runny, but not too hard either. If it turned out too hard, you may have boiled it too long after the sugar was added. Once you get your jam bubbling over medium-high to high heat, it should only take a couple minutes to get it back up to boiling after the sugar is stirred in.

      But seems like your taste-tester was very happy with it, so I’d say your first jam-making experience was a success! :-)

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com Linda Ly

      Gelatin-like… as in a hard jelly set?

      It should be more of a spreadable preserve… not too soft/runny, but not too hard either. If it turned out too hard, you may have boiled it too long after the sugar was added. Once you get your jam bubbling over medium-high to high heat, it should only take a couple minutes to get it back up to boiling after the sugar is stirred in.

      But seems like your taste-tester was very happy with it, so I’d say your first jam-making experience was a success! :-)

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