Just peachy



On Wednesday I went to visit a friend up in Machynlleth to give her some surplus plants and to visit the weekly market. It’s about 35 miles, so it’s not somewhere that I visit very often, but the market has loads of stalls and is very popular. It was a hot day, so I didn’t spend as much time browsing as might have done, but I did visit the ‘Fresh and Local’ stall to buy some produce from local small producers and I had a wander round to see if I would be tempted. Of course I was, and bought some lemongrass plants, plus a big tray of peaches.

I love peaches, but don’t buy them often because they are so expensive. However, buying a tray of 24 made them quite affordable. They were a little under-ripe, but since none of them were bruised I was happy to wait for them to ripen up. They have been sitting in the kitchen since then, and the aroma has been pervading the air a little more each day.

Simmering the jars for an hour sterilises everything so that the contents will remain good for a year.

Simmering the jars for an hour sterilises everything so that the contents will remain good for a year.

By this morning more than half of them were ripe enough to use, so (despite the hot weather) I decided to embark on a bit of bottling (or canning as it’s called in the US). Following the guidance of the River Cottage handbook on preserves, I skinned the ripe fruit, cut it up and placed it in sterilised preserving jars (I use Kilner jars) and  covered it with syrup. I then immersed the jars in water in my preserving pan, which I brought to simmering point (about 90C) and kept at that temperature for an hour.

Cooling down - the tops of Kilner jars are designed to form an air-tight seal as they cool

Cooling down – the tops of Kilner jars are designed to form an air-tight seal as they cool

They are now cooling and will remain undisturbed for 24 hours. They should be able to last for up to a year (although I’m sure we’ll eat them well before that). So, in the depths of winter, we will be able to remind ourselves of this lovely sunny day with a bowl of preserved peaches… delicious!

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  1. Linda

     /  July 13, 2013

    I don’t feel very confident about bottling. I have it lodged in my mind that you must be able to pick up the kilner jar by the lid (once it has cooled, of course) and that is the test to show the seal is good enough to ensure that the bottled produce won’t harbour horrible bugs, particularly chlostridium botulinum. I do not seem to have the knack of reliably bottling in a way that passes this test, so I often end up after all the hassle of bottling, with fruit that gets put into the freezer or has to be eaten far more quickly than I wanted. Am I being a wuss? Is there a technique I haven’t mastered? I know that botulism is more likely from bottled vegetables than bottled fruit, but the association is an obstacle to me planning in bottling sessions. Especially as I have jars of bottled fruit that are just sitting in the back of the cupboard because I am worried about eating them…..


    • I only bottle things that I am confident about, i.e. acidic things. I have very successfully bottled apple and rhubarb, but this is the first time with peaches for me. I am very careful about the sterilisation, though. I do, however, also freeze lots of things.
      Go on – have a go and eat within a year to be sure!


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