Peach Cinnamon Preserves

Peach Cinnamon Preserves

About 6 lbs. fresh, tree-ripened peaches

3 cups granulated sugar

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick

Peel and slice peaches to measure about 10 or 11 cups of fruit (the fruit should be sliced into chunks about 1/4-inch thick, and about 1 inch wide; but some can be larger, some smaller). Toss the fruit with the sugar, cover with plastic wrap (to help prevent browning of the top layer) and let stand for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. It would be all right to let the fruit stand overnight in the refrigerator.

Wash 7 half-pint jars; keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

Place a large colander in a large, non-aluminum skillet or wide-mouthed pan. Pour the fruit and juice through the colander and let it drain for 20 minutes. Remove the fruit to a bowl. Add the cinnamon stick, then measure the depth of the juice collected in the pan by standing a chopstick in the juice and marking its surface with a pencil.

Bring the juice to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat enough to keep the juice boiling fairly rapidly (the surface will appear foamy with small bubbles covering the entire surface). Boil until the juice is reduced by half. This will take about 20 minutes. To test the amount of reduction, place the chopstick in the pan and see where the surface hits in relation to your original pencil marking. By this time, the juice has become a light, slightly glistening syrup.

Add the fruit and any additional juice that has accumulated and continue cooking until the peaches begin to take on a translucent, caramelized look around the edges, and the syrup is quite thick. This will take about 15 minutes. There’s a great deal of splattering toward the end, so protect your hands and arms to avoid tiny burns.

Remove the mixture from the heat. Remove the cinnamon stick. Ladle the hot jam into one hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet).

Yields 6 or 7 half-pints.

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