I’m enjoying preserving at the moment. Having a little bit of free time helps. My youngest child has just started school and so I’ve gone from 15 child free hours a week, in which to cram in work, chores and a bit of blogging, to a wonderful 32.5 hours a week. Oh the luxury. I can type that guilt free as, at the moment, he’s loving being a school boy. Wooohoo!
Of course I should really find a ‘real’ job and have vaguely started looking but in the meantime I have been putting things in jars.
A friend (well actually two different friends) of mine have peach trees, and over the past couple of weeks the fruit has begun to ripen. There’s no way they can use all the fruit so I have become a very grateful beneficiary. Some of the fruit have become peach and plum jam (the plums were from my parent’s tree), some has become peach and chilli sauce, and some peach chutney but the best fruit I saved for bottling.
My kids love bottled peaches, they will a whole jar in a single sitting, which quite frankly is pretty gross to watch. Because they eat so many at once I want to limit the sugar a bit so I preserve them in either a super light sugar syrup, 1 cup sugar to 2 litres of water or occasionally in plain water. I used sugar syrup for these as they were ever so slightly under ripe.
I never peel the peaches I am preserving. I find the process too time consuming and I don’t think the minimal textural difference warrants it. I also find that some peaches hold their shape better if you leave the skin on. If you really want skin free peaches it generally comes off pretty easily when you take them out of the bottle.
These are freestone peaches, I love the colour and texture of the flesh where the stone has been – very pretty.
I bottle all my fruit in Fowlers bottles. I bought a kit on eBay a couple of years ago and have really enjoyed using it.
You just put the fruit in jars, top with water, sugar syrup, or brine depending on what you are preserving, put the rubber sealing rings and lids on, clip them in place and into the water bath they go. They emerge after an hour or two (there is a guide that explains the appropriate temperature and preserving time for each fruit or vegetable) ready for the shelf and the occasional proud glance.
Now I just have to keep the kids away from them, at least until the fresh peach season is over.