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Recipe: Simple Peach (or Nectarine) Preserves
For future brioche buns or kolaches
I mentioned last week that I am preserving peaches for a future pastry project, most likely a brioche bun or kolache. I’m teaching brioche this weekend at King Arthur and I plan to bring a jar of jam with me to sort out the ratio of filling to bun, so I might have this ready to share in a few weeks.
In the meantime, here’s the jam-making and canning process I used on my peaches. As always, this intel comes entirely from my friend Camilla Wynne and her fab book Jam Bake:
The “recipe” below is a little vague, because the ingredient amounts vary depending upon how much fruit you have, but it should be easy enough to work out. Whatever you do, don’t deviate from the ratios given if you are canning them, because they are essential for safe preservation.
Simple Peach (or Nectarine) Preserves
Makes 4 to 5 half-pint jars per 1000g of fruit
Sugar or honey (40% of the weight of the peaches, or 400g per 1000g)
Lemon juice (60mL per 1000g)
Peel, pit, and cube as many peaches (or nectarines or apricots) as you want to hang onto.
Weigh the pieces and combine them with 40% their weight in sugar or honey (honey pairs wonderfully with peaches, but it is noticeably sweeter-tasting, so keep that in mind) in a covered container, and transfer it to the fridge for at least a day and up to a 10 days. (This, by the way, is an excellent way to capture ripe/over-ripe peaches that you cannot eat right away, or even those recalcitrant ones that refuse to ripen. As long as you keep track of the weight and add enough sugar to maintain the necessary 10:4 ratio of fruit to sweetener, you can just add new ones to the container whenever you want.)
If planning to can the fruit, heat your oven to 250˚F (121˚C) and then place your recently rinsed jars upside down on a baking sheet and bake them for at least 20 minutes. (You can leave them in the oven while the jam cooks.) Have new bands and clean lids at the ready, but there’s no need to heat them.
Add 60mL lemon juice per 1000g fruit to the container and then transfer the mixture to a heavy, wide, and non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture turns fully translucent, 15 to 25 minutes, depending upon how ripe your peaches were to begin with. (Don’t over-reduce it here, because we want a slightly loose jam for use as a filling. Once all the pieces are translucent and soft, you should be good to go.)
While the jam is still hot (at least 200˚F/94˚C), carefully ladle it into the jars, filling to within 1/4 to 1/8 inch of the rim. Using a clean, wet cloth or paper towel, wipe the rims to remove any drips.
Cover each jar tightly with a lid and band. Invert each jar for 2 minutes, then turn right-side up and allow to cool to room temperature. Check the seal on each jar by removing the band and lifting the jar up from the edges of the lid. Transfer any jars that did not seal to the fridge and store the remainder in a cool, dark spot.