Friday, June 29, 2012

Peach Jam All Summer Long – June 30, 2012

To me, a girl raised in Alabama, summer’s arrival is announced the first time you eat a peach while the juice runs down your arm.  There were some beautiful peaches at the Lexington Farmer’s Market last week, so I was dying to make jam.  The big lesson I learned during this cooking experience was that peach jam is best made with just ripe peaches, not those that are starting to get too soft.  The sweet tartness of these peaches made the best jam I’ve ever made.  The smaller lesson I learned is that these firmer peaches didn’t mix as well into the jam, so if I were doing it again (definitely will next summer), I’d turn the jars upside down and back as they cool to mix in the peach chunks more.  I also need to give thanks to my niece, Ella, who is already a great cook and helped me made this batch of jam.  It’s much more fun to can with a friend!

I don’t really need to give you the recipe because it’s in the box of Sure-Jell pectin you buy at the grocery, but in order to make sure you have all the ingredients, here you go:

8 cups peeled and chopped peaches (about 6 pounds)
4 T. lemon juice
2 boxes Sure-Jell Pectin
11 cups of sugar
6 pint jars (or ½ pint jars)

Wash and dry jars and lids.  Peel, pit and chop peaches.  This is easier if you boil a pot of water and drop the peaches in after cutting and x on the bottom of the peach.  Once briefly boiled, the skin will come off easily.

Place fruit with lemon juice and pectin in heavy pot on stove and bring to boil.  Stir in sugar and keep boiling while stirring for one minute.  Skim off any foam and spoon into jars leaving ½ inch from the top.  Cover with lids and wipe jars.  Seal jars by boiling 10 minutes.  Remove and allow jars to cool.

I also learned a great new way to use peach and other preserves from my friend Anne.  I am not a big bread eater so I rarely eat fruit for lunch.  I also know I should be eating more low fat yogurt for my health.  Anne makes her own fruit in the yogurt breakfast by mixing some jam into plain Greek yogurt.  I tried it with the peach jam and it was delicious!

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