This section is from the book "Preserving And Pickling", by Mary M. Wright. Also available from Amazon: Preserving and Pickling: Two Hundred Recipes for Preserves, Jellies, Jams, Marmalades, Pickles, Relishes and Other Good Things.
The secret of making good preserves is to keep the fruit as whole and as clear as possible. The syrup should be rather thick before the fruit is added, and then the fruit simmered very slowly in this until clear and transparent ; then it should be lifted carefully with a strainer into the glasses or jars. The syrup should be boiled to the consistency of jelly before being poured over the fruit
Use large yellow peaches for these preserves, peel, and quarter. If you wish the skins may be removed by pouring boiling water over them. Place the peaches in a preserving kettle and to each pound of fruit use three-fourths of a pound of sugar. Let them stand overnight, then in the morning pour off the syrup, and boil to a thick honey. Add the fruit and simmer slowly until transparent, then lift with strainer into glasses or jars, and seal.
Use good large tart apples for preserves, peel, core and quarter. To each pound of fruit add one pound of sugar and one cupful of water. Place the water and sugar in a preserving kettle with the juice and yellow rind of one or two oranges or lemons, and a stick of cinnamon. Boil to a syrup; then add the apples and cook slowly until transparent. The apples should be ripe and tender, but as whole as possible. Fill into glasses or jars and seal.
Use the large red currants for this preserve. Arrange in alternate layers in a preserving kettle with sugar, using a pound of sugar for each pound of fruit. Let stand several hours, then pour off the juice, and boil to a thick syrup; then add the currants, and cook several minutes longer, or until the syrup jellies when tested. Fill into glasses or jars, and seal.
To a quart of currant juice prepared as for jelly add two quarts of red currants, two pounds of raisins chopped and seeded, the juice and grated rind of a half dozen oranges, and six pounds of sugar. Boil until thick, stirring constantly. Put into glasses and seal.
To each seven pounds of preserved fruit use seven pounds of sugar, and the juice of one-half dozen oranges. Place the apricots and sugar together in a kettle and let stand overnight. In the morning drain off the syrup, and add the orange juice, and the grated rind of two of the oranges; and also a few of the blanched kernels of the stone, and bring to a boil; then add the fruit and simmer until the fruit is clear. Remove the fruit, and place in jars. Boil the syrup down until thick, and pour over.
Excellent cherry preserves can be made by taking the cherries after they have been soaked, and cover them with sugar, using equal parts of sugar and cherries. Let stand several hours; strain off the juice into a preserving kettle. Bring to a boil, then add the cherries and cook five minutes. Fill the cherries into preserve jars, boil the syrup until it is thick and ready to jelly, then pour over the fruit.