Apparently it’s peach season.
Unlike strawberries, or squash, or tomatoes, or cantaloupe, or asparagus, or potatoes, or pumpkin, or even apples – which I vividly remember planting and weeding and picking as a child – I never had much to do with peaches. So when I wandered into the produce section at the grocery store last week I was surprised to find a great big prominent endcap display of the things, priced cheap. They were so cheap that I felt, a little guiltily, that I ought to buy some and do something useful with them.
Now, I have a confession to make. I don’t like peaches. Not fresh ones, anyway. Something about the smell of them just puts me off. Baked peaches are all right, though, and I thought I would make a pie. So, I stood there between the apples and the mangoes, called my mother, and asked how many peaches I’d need for a pie. (By the way, being able to do that is something that I hope I won’t take for granted for a very long time. I missed being able to call mom from the grocery store those years in Japan.)
While mom was looking it up for me (you need somewhere between 6 to 8 peaches for a pie, it seems) she talked about other peach recipes she was flipping past. Peachaberry cobbler. Peach-and-pineapple preserves. And spiced peaches.
I love spiced peaches.
I don’t often have spiced peaches – in the past we’ve usually made them with canned peaches and some spices – but I love them. Suddenly that fuzzy pile of nose-tickling peaches represented a whole lot of something delicious. I bought…well, I bought a lot of peaches.
Almost as soon as I got them home, I started peeling and chopping them for jam. I wanted to see if I could modify my bread machine berry jam recipe to work for the peaches.
After chasing off a little someone who couldn’t keep his fingers off the strange fuzzy fruit, of course.
Anyway, what I’m saying is, I pretty much improvised a jam recipe and it totally worked.
As you can see, it’s very chunky – more like what I think of as ‘preserves’ than a real jam. It’s also delicious, and I’d recommend it for spreading on things like biscuits and rolls and pancakes instead of the inside of a PBJ. (Although I can personally verify that this is also delicious.) You know you want the recipe.
Bread Machine Spiced Peach Preserves
- 1 lb peaches (weigh after peeling and pitting: about 4 medium peaches)
- 1 c sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tbsp low-sugar pectin (for soft jam – for very firm jam increase to 3 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Wash and prepare your peaches. (I know properly I should have blanched them, but it’s hot and I didn’t feel like playing with boiling water. I just peeled and pitted them, then sliced them and smashed them as best I could. If you want more like real jam, you might put your peaches through a food processor.)
- In bread pan, combine all ingredients.
- Set bread maker to ‘jam’ cycle; start.
- Allow your jam to cool before transferring to a clean container; store in the fridge (3 months) or the freezer (1 year).
Makes about two cups.
We ate some of ours over vanilla ice cream before it even had a chance to cool down.
This won’t be the last peach experiment, either! Watch this space!