Saturday, August 6, 2011

Yes! We Can! Peach Jam!

Peach Jam
5 pounds fresh peaches
4 cups white sugar
juice of one lemon

Start a large pot on the stove to boil water. Rinse the peaches. 

You will need to remove the peach skins.  In order to do this easily without sacrificing any of the flesh, you can blanch the peaches in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then immediately dunk them into a bowl of ice water.

The skin should peel right off with the help of a paring knife. Slice an "X" into the bottom of the peach and this should help you to peel off the skin easily.

Slice the peaches in half and pit them. Chop the peaches coarsely and put them in a goodly sized pot and

Add Sugar!!  You also need to add the lemon juice at this time, this keeps the fruit from turning brown and adds a nice tartness.
(Some people will add pectin during this stage but fruit makes it's own pectin when cooked with sugar, so I don't think you need it. It is a binder and causes the jam to gel faster. If you have a bit of time and patience you will get jam soon enough without pectin.)

Let the peaches sit for an hour which will cause the juices to flow.

Bring to a boil on medium heat then turn to a simmer on low for the next two hours. Stir occasionally.

As the peaches cook a few of the smaller pieces will disintegrate and the syrup will thicken. The longer you cook it, the more it will reduce and the thicker the jam will be.

As the peaches get closer to done you will want to get your canning jars, lids and rings ready. You will want to wash the jars and boil to sterilize. You can find more information on canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They are a wonderful resource on canning and food preservation.

Once the jam is done and to a consistency you like, carefully pour the hot jam into the hot jars, seal with the lids and rings and process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Once your jam has been processed pull out the jars carefully and place them on a towel of cutting board. When you hear the tops "POP!" you can be pretty sure that they are sealed. If you don't hear the pop and lids still have give to them, sterilize a new lid, make sure the lip of the jar is clean and process again, otherwise use that jar first.

Refrigerate after opening.

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