Raise your hand if you're with me in thinking that a holiday should be declared on the day that fresh peaches come into season. They are so alluring with their sweet juiciness and heady aroma that they must be purchased in quantities as great as can be managed, and turned into as many delicious dishes as possible. Peach pies, crisps, crumbles, and cobblers are definitely in my future, but I began my peach season cooking with this incredibly delicious Peach-Pepper Preserves.
It's funny how I ended up with this recipe. Mr. O-P had gone to the doctor for a checkup and found an old (August 2011) issue of Southern Living magazine in the waiting area. He found a recipe that he knew would interest me, so he announced that he was taking this issue home, adding that they really should get some new, current issues. As it turned out, the recipe that he thought I'd like didn't interest me at all, but this one really did. I made it over the weekend and, oh momma, is it good!
I am in love with the microwave preparation, although no way did I have a 4-quart microwave safe dish in which to use. I ended up using a 2-quart Pyrex measuring bowl and adding about ten additional minutes to the cooking time. It bubbled over a tiny bit, but not enough to cause any worry. I watched it as it started to reach the top of the dish, and then would pause the microwave and give it a stir.
I wanted some major kick, so left some jalapeno seeds in instead of removing them. For me, this was just perfect. The peaches were fresh from the farm, and I'm sure this made a big difference in the taste because the peach taste was strong, as I'd hoped it would be.
Sensational on corn bread, an amazing substitute for sweet and sour sauce (so whip out your wontons and get dipping!), you should also pair it with coconut fried shrimp, chicken quesadillas, or ham and fontina panini.
4-1/2 cups peeled and diced peaches (about 2-1/2 lb.)
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 (1.75-oz.) package powdered fruit pectin
Stir together all ingredients in a 4-qt. microwave-safe glass bowl.
Microwave at HIGH 8 minutes (mixture will boil). Stir mixture, and microwave at HIGH 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened. (You're going for the viscosity of pancake syrup here. The mixture will thicken to soft-set preserves after it cools and chills.) Cool mixture completely (about 2 hours). Serve immediately, or cover and chill preserves in an airtight container until ready to serve. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
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