Creating seasonal recipes that are inspired by my passion for local, organic foods

Monday, August 20, 2007

Triumvirate of peach preserves

Confiture de Pêche au Cognac et VanilleThese three takes on a standard, easy peach jam recipe will make you crave them fortnightly! (Okay, anyone who can guess that odd media reference gets bonus points).

Since peaches are in season around these parts, what better way to capture the taste of summer than by making peach jam? I wanted to do something a little more interesting than just plain peach jam, so I played around with the original recipe, making my own modifications.

Last Saturday I spent the day blanching and removing peach skins and chopping up 8 cups of peaches. Then, the magic began (and the molten peach-lava-induced-blister on my hand from stirring at full boil -- who said great flavor didn't come at a cost?).

For the first batch, I started with the standard recipe (this makes a little over 6 8-oz jars):

Peach Preserves
4 cups chopped organic peaches, skins and pits removed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 package pectin
5 cups sugar

Sterilize your jars, lids, etc. I'm not going to go into food safety techniques here - if you want more information, study the instructions that come with your pectin package.

Add the lemon to your peaches in a non-corrosive pot and slowly add the package of pectin. I use a wooden spoon, but you can use any non-reactive implement you like. Bring the mixture to a boil on high heat and then add the sugar. Bring this mess up to a rolling boil, wherein you can't stir down the boiling action and, most likely, are getting bombarded by spattering molten lava peach bits (see above note). Boil for one full minute.

Now comes the fun part: adding flavors to this original recipe to make it much more tasty.

Cognac Vanilla Peach Preserves
[or Confiture de Pêche au Cognac et Vanille - if you wants to be fancy-like]
Peach preserves - 1 batch (see recipe above)
1/4 cup cognac
2 vanilla beans (each one cut into thirds and split down the middle)

Follow the instructions above to produce one batch of undoctored peach preserves. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Stir cognac into the peach preserves and ladle into hot jars. Add one piece of vanilla bean into each of the six jars, pushing the bean down with a spoon. Seal and hot process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Cacao Peach Preserves
[or Confiture de Pêche aux Eclats de Fève de Cacao - ain't this Frenchy stuff fun?]
Peach preserves - 1 batch (see recipe above)
6 tablespoons cacao nibs

Follow the instructions above to produce one batch of undoctored peach preserves. Ladle prepared peach preserves into hot jars, adding about 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs to each jar. Seal and hot process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Ginger Peach Preserves
[or Confiture de Pêche au au Gingembre et Citron - phew!]
Peach Preserves - 1 batch (see recipe above)
3 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped into small pieces

Follow the instructions above to produce one batch of undoctored peach preserves. Ladle prepared peach preserves into hot jars, adding about 1/2 tablespoon of chopped candied ginger to each jar. Seal and hot process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I know you won't be able to resist the temptation to start eating these right away, but your patience will be rewarded when you finally crack open those preserves months away from now when you can enjoy a taste of summer in the dead of winter. Ooh la la!

7 comments:

Deb G said...

This is a great addition to what you are doing! I'm definitely going to try adding some ginger to my next batch of peach jam. Yum.

I tried the Pomona's Universal Pectin with my last batch. It allows for lower amounts of sweeteners, including honey. I used 1/2 cup local honey. It turned out great.

AnandaDevika said...

You read my mind! I'm making peach-nectarine jam tonight with my super-huge farmer's market score. Giger would be a great addition!

Liz said...

I, too, was going to recommend Pomona's pectin. It's great stuff, and really lets the fruit flavor shine. I use it for all my jams.

(I'm getting a half-bushel of no-spray NJ peaches tomorrow. I am SO EXCITED!!)

Lamzeydievey said...

oh crunchy you make me miss the peach orchards back home!

i don't know about where you live, but around here tomatoes are in season and we have tons. you wouldn't happen to have any good sauce recipes that are suitable for canning that you'd like to share, would you?

Deb G said...

Made the batch of peach jam and added ginger. Yum!

Holly said...

Crave it fortnightly! A fantastic reference to the dad in "So I Married an Axe-Murderer" in his rant about the Colonel!

I love to see that there are so many of us out there, trying to make life a little more real by tuning into seasonal food and the effects of rampant consumerism.

Do you have any suggestions for husbands who refuse to give up bananas?

blr said...

Are these homegrown peaches? I live in NYC and can never find organic peaches- even in the can. I just assumed it was one of those fruits that just isn't profitable to grow organically. Can anyone tell me the name of a company or farm that offers organic peaches way out here in the botanical boonies of NYC?