My grandma makes the most delicious preserves on the planet. No pectin added, ever. Just with a couple ingredients from memory like she did as child with her family back in France. When I was a kid she would stay the night and in the morning there would be a crowd of small children at her legs waiting for the fresh crepes to be ready so we could slather them in her perfectly made preserves. This isn't just a fond memory of my childhood, but my childhood best friends as well. Inevitably, all of my cousins share this memory too. Mimi will forever be famous for her fruit preserves and homemade crepes.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 lemon, both skin and juice
Candy thermometer, optional
3 glass jam jars with lids
1 medium pot
1 small pot
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Place each peach in the water for 1-2 minutes, carefully remove and run under cold water as you rub the skin off with your hands. It should come off with just a rub or two. Blanch the lemon as well for one minute to remove any wax it may have from the grocery store, take out of the water, rise and set aside.
Cut the peaches into 1/4 inch slices. You need 4 cups of sliced peaches.
Rinse out the pot used to blanch the peaches. Add in the water and sugar, bringing to a medium boil for 5 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer you want the temperature of the sugar to reach about 230°F.
While the sugar is boiling, place the glass jars on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside- take special caution not to touch the lips or insides of the jars.
Stick a couple small plates in the freezer.
After the sugar has cooked for five minutes add in the sliced peaches and the juice from half of the lemon. Save the lemon skin as we will be using this later.
Bring the fruit to a high simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. At the 15 minute mark use a potato masher to mash down the peaches, then toss in the lemon skin, discarding any seeds before doing so.
Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the tops of the jars to the pot, boiling for 5 minutes. Once done, remove the lids with a pair of metal tongs, setting on the cookie sheet where the jars are sitting.
At the 28 minute mark grab a plate from the freezer and add a spoonful of preserve on it. Allow it to set for a minute in the freezer. Pull the plate out and turn it sideways, if the preserve races down the plate it still needs more cooking time. If it slowly slides down the preserve is done. It's crucial that you test this at a cooled temperature, as it will never set when it's boiling hot.
The color will be a large indicator of whether or not it is done. Once it starts turning a more golden color, start paying careful attention. If you over cook it the preserve will cool and become cement-like. If you under cook it the preserve will be a little saucy, which isn't the end of the world. It's now just perfect for pancakes and plant-based ice cream instead of toast.
Spoon the hot preserve into the sterilized jars, making sure to close the lids as tightly as possible. As they cool the jars will create an air-tight suction.
As per my grandmothers instructions, allow to rest in the cabinet for two weeks before enjoying. I placed mine directly in the fridge for eating and thought it was delicious. I did however leave my brother's jar and my boyfriend's jar in the cabinet to rest for two weeks before giving it to them. I can't say there was a noticeable difference in taste, but the ones that stayed in the cabinet for two weeks seemed to have 'set' a little more. Refrigerate once opened.
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