Photo by Robb Walsh
The Kitchen Table, a cookbook by Brennan’s of Houston chef Randy Evans, has a lot of local recipes in it, including Texas peach and fig preserves. Whole Foods has Texas peaches and fresh figs on hand right now, and so do some of the farmers’ markets. But they won’t be around much longer. Labor Day is the traditional end of the Texas peach season. Figs are usually gone by mid-September. If you put up some preserves over Labor Day weekend, you can enjoy the flavor of Texas peaches and figs all year long.
Texas Peach Preserves (from The Kitchen Table)
Makes 5 pints
One of my fondest childhood summertime memories is eating peaches from the roadside stand in Fairfield, Texas. We would buy a 25-pound case and eat it during our visit … on the way home, we’d buy two more cases— one for eating and the other for cooking. I am lucky enough to be able to use these same peaches from Cooper Farms from Memorial Day until Labor Day. - Chef Randy Evans
4½ pounds Texas peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced (4½ cups) 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 package powdered pectin 7 cups sugar
Place the peaches, lemon juice and pectin in a high-sided nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Boil for 1 minute (the boil should be a hard boil that will not stir down). Add the sugar and return to a hard rolling boil for 1 minute. (This will allow for the pectin and sugar to come to their full jelling abilities.) Skim the foam. Will keep in the refrigerator for a week. To preserve, follow canning procedures below,
Makes 6 pints
This recipe is a produces a rich thick jam which is great spread over warm biscuits or toast. If you like a more savory jam add a large julienned 1015 onion to the recipe along with the figs while they are in the sugar. It will give you an extra cup or so of jam.
5 pounds peeled & quartered figs 5 pounds sugar 1 orange sliced 1 sweet onion (optional)
Combine ingredients and let marinate for 3 hours. Every hour stir mixture to help dissolve the sugar and create more juice. In a high sided non-reactive pot bring ingredients to a hard rolling boil for 25 minutes, stirring to keep the figs from sticking to the bottom of the pot. I wear gloves while using a long handle wooden spoon to keep the bubbling sugar from burning my hands. Skim any foam that may have formed. Will keep in the refrigerator for a week. To preserve, follow canning procedures below,
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Remember to always practice proper sanitizing procedures spelled out in the instructions that come with the canning jars.
Pour hot juice mixture into properly sanitized hot jars, leaving a quarter-inch headspace (use a funnel to help keep the jelly off rim of jar). Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place sanitized lid on jar and then the band; screw band down finger-tight. Process the jars in a boiling-water canner, making certain that the water is at least 1 inch above the jars, for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and place on a towel-lined surface; cool. Let stand overnight. Check for proper seal by depressing on the lid. If lid pops, refrigerate and use as soon as possible. Label those that sealed properly and store in a cool, dark place.
– Robb Walsh