I was so happy with our little peach tree this year! It is only 3 years old, and usually only makes a couple of peaches per year. But not this year... We picked 77 peaches! I could hardly believe it. Mind you, they weren't the biggest peaches in the world, but they were sweet, and oh so delicious.
We ate several of them straight off the tree. And of course, I just had to make a peach cobbler. But I was still left with quite a few peaches that needed to be put up. I thought about canning them in a light syrup, for use in future peach cobblers... but then I thought, "Why not make something a little more spectacular? Something that you couldn't just run out and buy at the store." If you know me, you know that I love a spicy sweet flavor combination... and so began this recipe.
Most jelly type recipes call for an excessive amount of sugar. Diabetes runs in our family, so I try to watch our intake of sweets. The recipe for peaches that is listed in the Sure Jell package calls for 7 cups of sugar for every 4 cups of peaches! SEVEN - Yea, I don't think so! Anyway - as you can see, I cut that down quite a bit, but it still tastes plenty sweet. I could not imagine if I had used the amount of sugar that they wanted! Now, your peaches may not be as naturally sweet as the ones that I used. Taste it as your cooking, and you'll know if you want to add any additional sugar.
For you seasoned canners that may be wondering... The preserves set up beautifully, even with the reduced amount of sugar - Not too firm though, just the perfect consistency for spreading. And they tasted wonderful! They had just the right amount of sweet (without being too overpowering), and that little touch of heat rounded the flavor off very well. The only thing that I would possibly change, is to maybe use a couple more jalapenos in my next batch. I only used two this time, which gives it just a very subtle hint of jalapeno flavor here and there. I think we might like it to be a little more prominent, but it's your choice.
- 8 cups fresh peaches - peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
- 4 Tbs Lemon Juice
- 2 - 4 Jalapenos, seeds removed and minced (depending on your desired level of heat)
- 4 cups Sugar
- 2 (1.75 oz) boxes Fruit Pectin, like Sure Jell
Wash and sterilize 5 pint jars, lids, and rings. (I like to sterilize mine by placing them in an oven set to 225 degrees for at least 10 minutes. Once the time is up, I can just turn the oven off & leave the jars there until I am ready to use them.)
Prepare your peaches, by peeling them and removing the fruit from the pit. Chop the fruit into large chunks, and sit it to the side. (There are multiple ways to peel a peach. Personally, I have not had much luck with the boiling water method. I usually just grab my potato peeler and have at it. LOL)
Remove the seeds from the jalapenos. (It is okay to leave the veins, but you don't want the seeds floating around in your finished product.) Cut the rest into very small (minced) pieces.
Prepare a water bath canner by filling it a little over half way with plain water and setting the rack in the loading position. Bring it up to a boil.
Also start a smaller pot of water with your lids and rings in it. Just leave them simmering until you are ready to place the lids on your jars.
Into a large saucepan (at least 5 quart), combine the cut peaches, lemon juice, minced jalapeno, and sugar.
Heat over medium high heat until the peaches become tender. (The amount of time will vary, depending on the texture of your peaches to start with.) Once they soften, use a stick blender to chop everything up, but not too much. You still want to have bits of fruit in your preserves. (If you don't have a stick blender, you will need to chop everything up a lot smaller in the beginning)
Add in the packets of fruit pectin, and increase the temperature. Bring it to a rolling boil for one to two minutes. Skim off any foam that forms. Turn off the heat and quickly ladle into your prepared jars, just up to the neck of the jar.
Wipe the rims, and attach a warmed lid and ring to each jar securely by hand. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Place the jars into a hot water bath canner and process for 10 minutes. Make sure that the water level covers the jars by a couple of inches. Once the time is up, remove them to a dish towel on the counter to cool and seal. You will hear popping sounds as they seal.
After they are completely cooled, check the seal by pressing your finger in the center of the lid. If it springs back up, it did not seal properly. You'll need to refrigerate and use that jar first.
Makes 5 Pint Jars
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