How to Use Peaches

Peach Jam

Image by Carmyarmyofme via Flickr

When considering how to use peaches, some people immediately think of peach pie or peach cobbler.

I think of home canned peaches. This is a practice of preserving peaches for the winter months, quite out of style in this day and age.

But I remember when my mother canned peaches.We would buy a crate or a bushel of peaches and spend all day peeling and canning.

I’m hot just thinking about all the additional heat required to blanch the peaches, sterilize the jars in boiling water, and then place the jars of food in a kettle for canning. There they were covered with boiling water and processed, or allowed to boil again, the required number of minutes. This is to prevent the food from spoiling.

Did we remember the time spent in their preparation when we ate them in the winter? Probably not. They were mighty tasty, though, when served as “sauce” or in other dishes. Do you know anyone who continues this practice of home canning peaches?

Other than this quick flash-back to an earlier time, I want to share 2 things today about peaches: how to easily remove the skin from peaches and how to make an easy peach jam.

How to blanch or scald peaches to easily remove their skin.

This should only be done by an adult: With a slotted spoon, lower  peaches into hot, boiling water for approximately 1 minute or until skins begin to loosen. Then cool peaches quickly by plunging them into icy water. The skins should slip off easily.

Here is a recipe for Easy Peach Jam I make every summer in memory of my dear neighbor who gave me the recipe. The recipe can be doubled or even tripled.

2 peaches
1 orange with peeling
1 cup sugar

First prepare the fruit. Adult needs to scald peaches to remove the skins. When making jam with children, they can skin the peaches when cool, cut into quarters and remove pit. Wash the orange and cut into smaller pieces (orange is not peeled). Add fruits to a food processor and chop until of desired consistency.

Measure 1 cup fruit pulp and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan (or equivalent amounts if doubling or tripling). Bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly to break up fruit and to prevent scorching.

Remove from stove. Cool and refrigerate. The next day, spoon into jars with covers. Freeze. Use within 6 months.

Actually, this should be labeled a peach “marmalade”. Jams, marmalades, conserves and fruit butters are basically alike. Their individual characteristics depend on the kind of fruit, the way it is prepared, and the method of cooking. Jams are made of crushed fruits, mixed with sugar and boiled rapidly until thick. Marmalades are made from  a combination of fruits, including a citrus fruit. (In this recipe, it is the orange). Conserves often include raisins and nut meats with the fruit and sugar. Fruit butters have the fruit pulp pressed through a sieve and slowly cooked with sugar and spices until thick enough to spread. An example of this is apple butter.

No matter what these spreads are called, they are a delectable treat when served on toast in the morning.

Lee Jackson
Home and Family Living Writer

Lee invites you to go here and check out her cookbooks for sale on this site. You will find lots of end-of-summer recipes here.

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