Peach jelly is a delightful and versatile spread that you can enjoy on toast, biscuits, or even as a glaze for meats. Making your own peach jelly at home is surprisingly easy and requires just a few simple ingredients. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step recipe and instructions on how to make peach jelly from scratch.
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To begin, you will need fresh peaches, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice. The peaches should be ripe but not overripe, as overly ripe fruit can result in a less firm jelly. By following the recipe, you can create a delicious and satisfying peach jelly that is perfect for spreading on your favorite baked goods or incorporating into your cooking. So gather your ingredients and let’s get started on making some homemade peach jelly!
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Choosing the Right Peaches
When it comes to making peach jelly, choosing the right peaches is crucial. Here are some tips to help you select the best peaches for your jelly:
- Look for ripe peaches: Ripe peaches are sweet, juicy, and perfect for making jelly. They should be soft to the touch and give slightly when you press them.
- Choose freestone peaches: Freestone peaches are easier to work with than clingstone peaches because the flesh separates easily from the pit. This makes them ideal for making jelly.
- Consider organic peaches: Organic peaches are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which means they are better for the environment and may be healthier for you.
- Opt for summer peaches: Summer peaches are in season from June to August and are known for their sweet and juicy flavor. They are perfect for making peach jelly.
- Don’t be afraid of conventional peaches: Conventional peaches are grown using conventional farming methods and may be less expensive than organic peaches. They are still a good option for making jelly.
- Choose medium-sized peaches: Medium-sized peaches are easier to work with than large peaches and are less likely to have a lot of waste.
Preparing the Peaches
To make peach jelly, the first step is to prepare the peaches. Cut 3 pounds of fresh peaches (about 9 medium peaches) in half and remove the pit by gently twisting the two halves in opposite directions. Chop the peaches into small pieces. It’s not necessary to peel the peaches.
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Creating the Peach Juice
To make peach jelly, the first step is to create the peach juice. You can do this by boiling pitted peaches in water until they become soft and tender.
Add the chopped peaches to a large saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the mixture cook for 20 minutes or until the peaches are fully cooked.
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Next, strain the mixture through a jelly bag or cheesecloth to separate the peach juice from the pulp. Let the juice strain for at least 2 hours, you can even leave it overnight. Resist the urge to squeeze the jelly bag to get any last juice out or you will end up with peach pulp in your juice, which will make your jelly appear cloudy.
For a smoother juice, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. This will help remove any remaining pulp that may have made it through the jelly bag or cheesecloth.
Once you strain the juice, you can make the peach jelly. Keep in mind that the amount of juice produced may vary depending on the ripeness and size of the peaches used.
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Peach Jelly Recipe
- 3 cups peach juice
- 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
- 1 box pectin (5 tbsp. powdered pectin*)
- 5 cup sugar
*Note: If you’re going to be making a lot of jam or jelly, consider buying pectin in bulk from Amazon. It’s a lot less expensive, and you’ll never run out of pectin in the middle of jam or jelly making!
Making the Jelly
To make peach jelly, the first step is to gather all the necessary ingredients. This includes sugar, pectin, bottled lemon juice, and of course, peach juice. It is important to note that there are different types of pectin available, such as fruit pectin, powdered pectin, and Pomona’s pectin. Each type has different instructions for use, so be sure to follow the package directions carefully.
Measure the peach juice that you collected from the jelly bag. You need 3 cups of peach juice to prepare this recipe. Add a little water if you need to for exactly 3 cups.
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Pour the 3 c. peach juice into a large stock pot. Stir in the lemon juice and whisk in the pectin. Once the mixture has reached a rolling boil, the sugar should be added gradually, stirring constantly. It is important to use the exact amount of sugar specified in the peach jelly recipe to ensure that the jelly sets properly. Bring the mixture to a full boil again that can’t be stirred down. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.
During the boiling process, foam may form on the surface of the mixture. To remove the foam, you can add a pinch of butter and stir it in. This will help to dissolve the foam and prevent it from re-forming. Skim off any remaining foam with a metal spoon.
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Canning the Jelly
After the peach jelly has been cooked and prepared, it is time to can the jelly. This process involves filling jars with the jelly and processing them in a water bath canner to ensure a proper seal.
First, prepare the jars, lids, and rings by washing them in hot soapy water and rinsing them thoroughly. You can also run them through a quick rinse in your dishwasher to sterilize them. Canning jars or jelly jars with a two-piece lid are recommended for canning as they are designed to create a proper seal. Make sure to inspect the jars for any cracks or chips before use.
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Fill the jars with the hot peach jelly, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace at the top. You can easily measure the headspace with this inexpensive canning funnel. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean, damp cloth to ensure there is no jelly or debris on the rim that could prevent a proper seal.
Place the lid on the jar and screw the band on until it is fingertip-tight. Do not overtighten the band as this can prevent air from escaping during processing.
Place the filled jars in a water bath canner, making sure they are covered with at least 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and process for 10 minutes.
Once processed, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel to cool. As the jars cool, you will hear a popping sound as the seal is created. Check the seals after 24 hours by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it does not pop back, the seal is good.
Label the jars with the date and contents and store them in a cool, dry place. Canned peach jelly can last up to a year if stored properly.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best peaches to use for jelly?
The best peaches for jelly are those that are ripe but still firm. Freestone peaches are the best choice because they are easier to pit. Avoid using overripe peaches as they may not set properly.
Can you use peach pits to make jelly?
No, you should not use peach pits to make jelly. They contain small amounts of cyanide, which can be toxic if ingested in large quantities.
Can you leave the skin on peaches for jam?
Yes, you can leave the skin on peaches for jam. However, the skin can affect the texture and color of the jam. If you prefer a smoother texture and a more uniform color, it is recommended to peel the peaches before making jam.
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What is the difference between peach preserves and peach jam?
Peach preserves are made with whole or sliced fruit and a large amount of sugar. The fruit is cooked until it is soft and the sugar has thickened into a syrup. Peach jam, on the other hand, is made with mashed or pureed fruit and a smaller amount of sugar. It is cooked until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
How do you make peach jelly using Sure Jell?
To make peach jelly using Sure Jell, you will need peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and Sure Jell. Follow the instructions on the Sure Jell package for making peach jelly.
What is the best recipe for small batch peach preserves?
A simple recipe for small batch peach preserves involves peaches, sugar, and lemon juice. Combine the ingredients in a pot and cook until the mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. The exact recipe may vary depending on the desired sweetness and texture.
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