Peaches three ways, served with a side of frustration
We started off by making five pints of honeyed peaches. The quart of peaches in the picture looks so lovely. But my peaches did not want to release their peels, not at all. I tried a few different methods; slicing them in half and removing the pits first seemed to help (this was mentioned in the FIJ cookbook). That seemed to result in one attractive half, and one ugly one. I also added lemon juice directly to the ice water bath, to help preserve the color.
But anyway. I had what felt like eight pans going on the stove and it was hot and the timing was hard. The peaches were peeled, simmered in a single layer in the syrup, and then packed hot into the jars (I used wide-mouth pints, which worked well). I had prepared eight jars but I quit after five because it was late, hot, and I was grouchy.I didn’t end up with halves, I ended up with eighths, I’d say. I kept a bowl going for “irregular” pieces, which I chopped for jam, and I tossed my peels into a container with lemon juice. This all went in the fridge overnight after I declared a truce, canned my five little jars, and briefly admired them before collapsing. I added sugar and a bit of lemon juice to the peach pieces.
The next day, I peeled the remainder of the peaches. Two quarts were frozen in the remainder of the honey syrup and the rest went for jam. I then made peach peel jelly: I took all my peels, covered them with water, and boiled them until I had a rosy colored juice. Then, I measured the juice and added a cup of sugar for each cup of juice, and a box of pectin for each 3 cups of juice. As I had about five cups of juice, this ended up being a little over a box and a half of regular pectin, which is what I happened to have on hand.
I made the jam (from the Food in Jars cookbook) while the jelly cooked, and then canned them together. I was pleased with both– I think the jelly will be great as a glaze, or mixed to make a vinaigrette.
Next up: nectarines. Because you don’t have to peel them. I’ve read that a hot pack works best, so that’s what I’m going to try. I’m also planning on a salsa and a small batch of jam.