Flower-filled meadows, bird songs, fruit-laden trees, and salubrious clime is what summer is all about in our hills. Hills are heaven in summers. While the plains are reeling in the scorching heat, we still manage to get a shower or two almost every week. The green slopes are dotted with yellows, pinks and whites.
The orchards are in fruition and early June to mid-June is the time for plucking the fruit. Peaches are bountiful this year. Red juicy and pulpy peaches are a treat. One can never have enough of the peaches.
Himalayan Peaches are very juicy and flavourful. We make Peach Jam and preserve every year. I follow my dad’s recipe for the Peach Jam where I pressure cook the fruit.
This year, besides jam, we made Peach Preserve also. Preserve has pieces of fruit and is chunky in texture. Sometimes you almost chew the fruit. We keep the sugar on the lower side. If you prefer a sweet preserve, add one cup of sugar for every cup of chopped peaches.
It is a pleasure to enjoy the peachy deliciousness once the fruits are over. Peach preserve is delicious and an excellent way of using the overabundance of produce.
Peach Preserve | Himalayan Peach Preserve
- 1 kg ripe peaches
- Juice of two lemons
- Wash the peaches. Remove dirt and fuzz.
- It the peaches are firm, use a paring knife to remove the skin.
- If the peaches are ripe and soft, then boil water in a large pot. When it comes to a low rolling boil, drop peaches and let them stay in hot water for two minutes.
- Take ice cold water in another deep bowl. Transfer the peaches to this bowl.
- Peel the skin. The skin will slip off easily. Or with a knife grab a piece of the skin and peel it away.
- Remove the seeds and chop into small pieces and transfer to the steel wok in which you intend to cook the jam.
- Drizzle lemon juice and toss the pieces to coat them all with lemon juice.
- Measure the chopped peaches with measuring cups.
- For every one cup of chopped peaches add ¾ cup of sugar or more depending on the sweetness of the fruit.
- Stir and let it sit for 2-3 hours.
- Keep a steel plate in the freezer.
- Cook the mixture on medium flame stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced considerably and become thick and jelly-like.
- At this point, cook on low flame and stir more frequently to prevent scorching at the bottom.
- Soon the preserve will begin to coat the ladle thickly. To test for the doneness, drop a teaspoon of preserve onto the cold plate. Tilt the plate. If it runs slowly it is done. You may also drop some jam on the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate. If it doesn't try to run back together, it is done. If it is runny, it needs to be cooked for some more time.
- While the jam cools, sterilise the bottles. Place the washed and dried bottles with the lids in the baking tray of the oven. Set the temperature to 140 degrees and set the timer to 10 minutes. Remove the bottles and their lids from the oven. (more on sterilising jars here )
- Ladle hot jam into the hot jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Secure the lids tightly.