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Orange and Cinnamon Peach Preserves

2 Sep

So far, I am immensely enjoying my school year Sunday routine.  I might not be able to stick with it, but the last two weeks have been great.  The pain of studying is much less to bear when interspersed with cooking delicious treats you know you’ll enjoy the week to come.  This past Sunday, I created the basil and watermelon cocktail (for after my reading was finished, of course!), cooked up the green bean and caramelized onion casserole, and canned this gorgeous, fragrant, easy-as-it-gets orange and cinnamon peach preserve.  Reading about Constitutional Law seems much less weighty when you do it with the intoxicating aromas of peaches, cinnamon and sugar wafting through your office.

Making preserves and canning seems intimidating at first, but in truth it’s an incredibly easy process.  Though I don’t always combine the two, knowing we will inevitably polish off whatever canned goodies I produce before their expiration in the refrigerator, I’m glad I’m no longer afraid of the process.  All the more so because these peach preserves were unbelievably delicious.  If we get more peaches, I plan to can them so I can have some of this summer-y sweetness on hand once things cool off around here.  The flavor of the peach was extremely pronounced, highlighted by the spice of the cinnamon and complementary flavor of the orange.  Zak says it’s his favorite addition to his breakfast oatmeal ever, and slathering it on a thick slice of soft bread in the morning.

Orange and Cinnamon Peach Preserves

5 large peaches, washed, peeled, and pitted (about 4 1/2 cups)

1 lemon, juiced

1 orange, juiced

2 cups sugar

1 cinnamon stick

Place a small plate in the freezer.

Place all ingredients in a large glass bowl and let stand at room temperature one hour.

Transfer ingredients to a large stainless steel or enamel pot.

Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a full boil.  Boil for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.  Once it appears the mixture is close to the gel point, stir constantly.  To check if the mixture has reached the gel point, place about a tablespoon on the cold plate you placed in our freezer earlier.  If you can run your finger through the middle without it folding in on itself, it is at the proper consistency.

If there is any foam on the top of the mixture, skim it off and discard.

Storage inside of refrigerator:  Run jar through dishwasher or place in a 200º oven for 10 minutes.  Ladle the sauce into the jar and seal shut.  Let cool to room temperature and then transfer to refrigerator.  Enjoy.

Storage outside of refrigerator:  Place empty jars on a metal rack or metal collander in a large pot.  Fill pot with warm water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low in order to keep jars hot and ready for canning.  Pour boiling water over both lids and rings.  Ladle the sauce into the jar and seal shut.  Transfer the jar to the hot water bath.  Water must be about an inch over the top of the jar.  Raise heat and boil vigorously for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from water and let cool.  Once opened, lid should make a “pop” noise if it was properly sealed.

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