Meet my summer love: the paraguayo.
We met two years ago, and my love borders on the obsessive. It’s apparently called a “doughnut peach” or a “Saturn peach” in English (or a “squashed peach” as I affectionately called it until I learned its real name).
I feel compelled to buy a bag at least once a week during the summer because I know come fall, I will go through withdrawal when they disappear from the markets.
But this year I’m planning to enjoy a little bit of summer in the middle of December. I made a small batch of simple paraguayo preserves and canned them for a rainy day.
Recipes I used for inspiration:
A few notes:
- I used paraguayos because they’re my current fave. But regular peaches would follow this same approach.
- Brian and I have experimented with different kinds of homemade preserves over the last few years, including cherry and fig, but we usually add a lot less sugar than is called for in traditional jams. Sugar helps jams gel and act as a preservative, but the 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit is too sweet for my taste. We haven’t had any issues with our jams going bad before we open them (but we generally eat them within a few months anyway).
- This summer we’ve been adding pectin to our jam to give it a bit more gel without adding a ton more sugar; it’s still on the softer, preserve-like side, but I like that consistency. We couldn’t find any packaged pectin at our neighborhood grocery store, so Brian made some with this recipe; basically by boiling down tart green apples, water and lemon juice, then straining out the solids. We canned a few jars of it and froze an ice cube tray of it as well to use later.
- This is a loose recipe because our process is pretty low-key and unscientific; cook, taste, add a bit of pectin and sugar, see how it coats a spoon, adjust.
- To can the preserves using heat-processing: Ladle preserves into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼ inch space at the top. Poke a chopstick around between the food and the inside of the jar to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth. Screw on a hot, sterilized lid until you get medium resistance. Place the filled jars on a canning rack in a pot full of hot water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a full boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and let jars sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars with jar-lifting tongs and let them cool on a towel for 24 hours. You’ll hear the jars pop as they seal; the next day, check the jars (a sealed lid will be concave and won’t move when you press down.)
- If you don’t have canning equipment, you could make a smaller batch of this recipe and eat it within a few days (or freeze half).
- 2 kg (about 4.5 lbs.) very ripe fruit (yields about 7 cups of chopped fruit)
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup homemade liquid pectin or 1 package commercial pectin
- ¾ cup sugar
- Water (optional)
- Use your fingers (and a sharp paring knife to help, if needed) to peel fruit.
- Remove cores and roughly chop, cutting off any bruised pieces. Set fruit aside, coating with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Put fruit, pectin and sugar in a large pot (adding a little water if the mixture looks too dry), breaking the pieces of fruit up with a potato masher.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Cook down until it reaches the consistency you like (anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour – because I keep the heat on the conservative side and use very little sugar, I end up with a longer cook time, closer to 1.5 to 2 hours).
- Add more pectin and sugar if necessary.