Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ginger Peach Preserves Recipe


I am happy to be a "canbassador" for SweetPreservation.com, a community site of the Northwest cherry growers and soft fruit growers of Washington state. They sent me a big box of juicy, sweet, ripe Country Sweet peaches which I agreed to preserve, of course. A post from Dorie Greenspan on Facebook about ginger, peach vanilla jam inspired me to create preserves with the same flavor combination. 

The difference between preserves and jam is sugar. Jam uses a lot of it and preserves use less. I like the flexibility of preserves. You can use preserves in place of jam but you can also use preserves in recipes or as a dessert topping. It's particularly good mixed with plain yogurt. The ginger and vanilla complement the tangy sweet flavor of peaches. I used a combination of fresh ginger and candied ginger, something I found in a ginger peach jam recipe. The ginger is very subtle, you just get a hint of it towards the end of each bite. 

SweetPreservation is a good starting point for canning and preserving. It offers how-to and safety basics, downloadable labels, gift ideas, instructions for throwing an at-home canning party as well as the health benefits of canning. Just so you know, I don't have a canner, funnel or jar lifter. I used a big pot that holds 12 half pint jars, a small plastic scoop instead of a funnel and regular tongs instead of a jar lifter. So give canning a try! You don't need special equipment (or mad DIY skills).

More peach preserving ideas at Punk Domestics


Since we're on the subject of peaches, and how you should make the most of them while you can, I highly recommend, The Perfect Peach by Marcy Nikiko and David "Mas" Masumoto, a great book of recipes and stories. 

It's the book for peach lovers, since the Masumoto family lives and breathes peaches and has explored every way and shape of using them.  I've been inspired by the soups, salsas and salads already this season and I know you will be too. 






Ginger Peach Preserves with Vanilla
Makes 12 half pint jars, plus a little more, so fill another jar to keep in the fridge

Ingredients

12 cups peeled, pitted and chopped peaches
1/4 cup minced candied ginger
1 Tablespoon microplaned fresh ginger
2 large vanilla beans or more if small or skinny
2 1/2 cups sugar or more to taste
1/3 cup no/low sugar needed pectin

Instructions

Set up your space for canning. I put out towels and paper towels for cleaning and drying the lids and tops of the jars. Sterilize the jars and lids and put a spoon in the freezer.  Put the peaches and any juice in a large pot (at least 5 quarts) Slice open the vanilla beans, strip out the seeds and add the seeds and pods to the pot along with the ginger. Bring to a boil then simmer and stir for about 10 minutes until the peaches are soft. Remove the pods. 

Whisk the pectin into a cup of sugar. Add the sugar and pectin and bring the preserves back to a boil. Taste it for sweetness and add more sugar as needed. Dip your frozen spoon into the preserves. Run your finger through it, if the path stays clear the preserves are done.

Fill each jar to the first thread so that there is 1/4 - 1/2 inch head room. Clean and dry the rim, place a dry top on and secure with a ring. Process (boil) the jars for 10 minutes then remove them and let them sit undisturbed until completely cool, 12 hours minimum. Test to make sure they are properly sealed and you are good to go. 

Enjoy!