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.
*Unpeeled plums or nectarines may be substituted.
Nectarine-Ginger Preserves: Substitute unpeeled nectarines for peaches. Stir 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger into nectarine mixture in Step Try It With: Sweet potato biscuits, blueberry pancakes, or praline ice cream.
Balsamic-Plum Preserves: Substitute balsamic vinegar for lemon juice and unpeeled plums for peaches. Stir 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil into warm preserves. Try It With: Smoked turkey, pulled pork, fried green tomatoes, or warm baked brie.
Peach-Pepper Preserves: Substitute fresh lime juice for lemon juice. Stir 1 minced jalapeño pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped, into peach mixture in Step Try It With: Coconut fried shrimp, chicken quesadillas, or ham and fontina panini.
Tomato-Peach Preserves: Reduce peaches to 2 1/4 cups. Stir 2 1/4 cups seeded and diced plum tomatoes into peach mixture in Step Increase second microwave time to 12 to 16 minutes or until thickened. Stir 1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper into warm preserves. Try It With: Goat cheese crostini, grilled flank steak, or turkey burgers.
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