Peach Conserve (photo by hzaida)

Peach Conserve (photo by hzaida)

This recipe hails from New Brunswick, Canada and has been passed down from generation to generation.  My inlaws spend their summer in North Conway, New Hampshire and always pick up peaches before returning home to Florida.  On their way home, Maggie and DB stopped in Virginia for a short visit bearing gifts.  Every year like her mother (Annie Love Allan) Maggie prepares peach conserve.  This year she helped me make a batch. 

Heather & Maggie

Heather & Maggie

Maggie and I want to you know that this recipe is for anyone and you shouldn’t be afraid of the term ‘jarring’.  May sound complex but honestly anyone can prepare and jar this lovely jam that can be enjoyed all year.

Before we get started I would like to discuss a couple terms and hopefully answer any questions you may have.  Conserve is a jam made of fruit that is stewed in sugar.  Sugar serves as the preserving agent and explains why this recipe does not call for pectin but does call for a high amount of sugar.

Are you ready to jar a batch of peach conserve?  First, let’s get started by sanitizing our jars.  This is a very important step when jarring.  Place clean jars into a large stockpot of simmering water.  Leave the jars in this simmering water while we prepare the jam. 

We need to prepare our peaches.  To make peeling the peaches easier we are first going to blanch the peaches.  Blanching is a cooking term that means to briefly submerge in scalding water then immediately into ice cold water to stop the cooking process.  Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a simmer (slow rumble).  Place your peaches in the stockpot of scalding water for 3 – 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water and ice.  Once you see the peach’s skin begin to tear remove from scalding water and place in ice bath.  Once the peaches are cool enough to handle, peel and slice each peach discarding the pit.

Place sliced peaches in a food processor or blender.  Working in batches if necessary, puree the peaches, cherries and orange including the orange peel.  To make pureeing peachconserve (1 of 4)the orange easier, first cut into quarters.  When pureeing the cherries, don’t overdo it, it is nice to have some tiny red pieces in your jam. 

Measure your pureed fruit and place in a large stockpot.  For each cup of pureed fruit, add 1 cup of sugar.  For this particular batch, we measured 8 cups of fruit meaning we added 8 cups of sugar.  8 cups of sugar may seem high but this is pertinent to preserving your jam.  Stir your fruit and sugar together and place a pat of butter on top.  This pat of butter will help eliminate some of the foam that you will start to see once your fruit begins to simmer.

peachconserve (2 of 4)Bring your fruit to a simmer and continue to simmer for 1 hour.  Every once in awhile check on your fruit and make sure it is not boiling over.  Give it a quick stir and remove any foam that may have collected on top.  Do this by taking a large spoon and skimming the top and discarding.

After 30 minutes has passed, you can now add your bands and lids to the stockpot of simmering water holding your jars.

Your fruit has simmered for 1 hour, it is now time to jar your jam.  Carefully remove one jar at a time from the simmering water.  I used tongs to remove and hold the jar while filling each jar with jam.  Fill each jar almost to the top and set aside.  Once you have filled the last jar, carefully place the lids on top and secure with bands.  Wipe down each jar, removing any goop that may be on the sides. You will start hearing your jars begin to pop.  This sound is a good sign indicating each jar has been sterilized and successfully preserved.  Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Peach Conserve
Servings: 9 – 11 jars

12 half pint (8 ounce) mason jars with bands and lids*
*you can reuse jars and bands but lids must be new
14 peaches
1 10 ounce jar of maraschino cherries (no stems)
1 orange, remove ends and quarter
lots of sugar
pat of butter

1. Fill large stockpot with water and bring to a simmer. 
2. Place jars in stockpot and simmer while preparing jam.
3. Blanch peaches by placing peaches in simmering water for a few minutes then into an ice bath.
4. Peel and slice peaches, discarding pit.
5. Using a food processor or blender, puree sliced peaches, cherries and orange (including peel).
6. Measure the pureed fruit and place in large stock pot.
7. For each cup of pureed fruit add 1 cup of sugar, stir together.
8. Add a pat of butter to your fruit mixture.
9. Bring fruit to a simmer and continue to simmer for 1 hour.
10. Ocasionally stir your fruit and remove any foam that has collected on top of your fruit.  Also be careful not to allow your fruit to boil over.
11. At the 30 minute mark, add your bands and lids to the stockpot of simmering water that is holding your jars.
12. Carefully remove your jars from the simmering water, and spoon in fruit.
13. Place the lids on top and secure the bands.
14. Wipe down each jar.

Enjoy! From my kitchen to yours.

Peach Conserve (photo by hzaida)

Peach Conserve (photo by hzaida)