When I teach classes, I’m often asked about peeling fruit. I typically tell people that I always peel peaches and apples, but leave the skins on nearly everything else. However, it looks like I might have to revise that statement, because the preserve I’m about to tell you about includes unpeeled peaches. Shocking, I know.
This particular recipe came about when I became the proud owner of both 10 pounds of cherries and a half bushel of rapidly ripening, very sweet, yellow peaches about ten minutes before I was leaving town for 2 1/2 days.
Both boxes of fruit were courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission, the folks behind the most fabulous website Sweet Preservation. When I signed on to be a Canbassador again this year, I didn’t realize that it was going to converge with the cherry challenge. Still, I am not one to shirk a canning challenge and so, when I got back to town, I went to work.
I made eight half pints of peach chutney (more on that tomorrow). I cooked up a smallish batch of honey-sweetened peach vanilla jam (look for it on Thursday). And I made these unpeeled, but very delicious, peach preserves. I also ate a whole bunch of these peaches just plain and raw (good lord, were they amazing).
I washed four pounds of peaches well, doing my best to rub away most of the exterior fuzzy. Then, I cut them into wedges, covered the fruit with 1 1/2 cups of honey, added some thin ribbons of lemon zest, and stirred it all together. It sat for an hour or so, until everything was juicy. Then I scraped it into a pan, brought it to a boil, funneled the peaches into prepared pint jars and processed them for 20 minutes (I used the processing time recommended by the NCHFP for pints of peach halves and slices).
It’s hard to tell from the picture of the jar up at the top of the post, but the peach slices are still quite distinct. My vision for these jars is that I’ll eat them with yogurt and granola or with oatmeal for breakfast later in the year. I often eat those same things with fresh, unpeeled peaches during the summer months and never mind the peels, so my guess is that I won’t mind them with the peels when they’re coming out of a jar. Here’s hoping that will prove to be true!
UPDATE: These peaches are delicious! The peels aren’t a textural issue at all.
Though it seems kind of hard to believe, this is the fourth year that I’ve been one of the Washington State Fruit Commission’s Canbassador. Last year, I made Oven-Roasted Nectarine Butter and Luisa Weiss’s Spiced Plum Butter. The year before, it was Italian Plum Jam with Star Anise and Honey-Sweetened Apricot Lavender Butter. And if you go all the way back to that first year, I made Apricot-Blackberry Jam and Pickled Sweet Cherries. These boxes of fruit have led to some very good eating over the last few years.
- 4 pounds peaches
- 1 1/4 cups honey
- zest of 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- Wash peaches well to remove fuzz. Slice the peaches into 12 to 16 slices per peach. Place in a bowl.
- Pour honey over peach slices. Add lemon zest and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with a plate or some plastic wrap (to keep any bugs out) and let the fruit sit for about an hour until the juices start to run.
- When you're ready to cook, prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
- Scrape the fruit into a large, non-reactive pan and bring to a boil, stirring regularly.
- Funnel fruit into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel.
- Once jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. Sealed jars can be stored on the pantry shelf for up to one year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and and used promptly.