Thursday, August 14, 2008

I be jamming

















I had 5 pecks of peaches from the orchard. Which is 1 bushel plus a peck, or about 49 pounds of peaches. I divided one peck in half; I gave half to a friend and the other half is what we have been eating fresh. Another half peck was put to cobbler, which is gone, has been like one day after it came out of the oven. Very good indeed. These were the most sweet and juicy peaches I've had in a long time, such a glorious treat. They made all that work of canning worth the effort. The remainder 3 and half pecks were put up. Of the nicely cooperative pitted peaches they became canned for our fruit reserve. Those will be an excellent treat come December. The not so cooperative ones became jam. I had a time with those peaches. Pits. Grrr. A lot of the peaches were easy to pit and peel which was nice. Then there were some that required serious mangling to relieve them of their pits. No worries. That's why you can your fruit first then all the bits and pieces become jam. I am looking forward to eating some of that jam. I saved a little bit and had a little snack yesterday with the girls. Oh were they pleased. Jam and crackers, such a delight. I used the recipe below for the jam. I should have used the sugar free option since these peaches were so sweet. That recipe is below.

Peach Jam
This will yield 6 (8oz.) half pints

Equipment:
Boiling water canner or a large deep stockpot with a lid, and a rack
jar lifter tongs
6 clean half pint preserving jars with lids and bands
canning funnel
ladle
wooden spoon
small spatula or bubble remover tool
large 6-8 quart saucepan
measuring cups

Ingredients:
4 cups finely chopped peaches (about 3lbs or 9 medium sized)*
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1.75 oz. box fruit pectin (I use Ball brand)
5 cups sugar

First prepare your canner, jars and lids and have them ready to go. Usually you will need to fill your canner halfway with water but sometimes you'll need more depending on your jars.** Turn heat to high Adjust your rack so that it resting on the top of the canner. You may warm up your jars by keeping them in the canner rack letting them steam. (works with smaller jars) I prefer putting them through the dishwasher right before I use them. That way they are clean, dry and hot plus it saves having to dry them off before filling. I put my lids in a small bowl and pour water from the tea kettle over them to soften up the sealing compound. Prepare your workspace by laying a kitchen towel on the counter and a trivet for your saucepan. This is where you will line up your jars and lids for filling.

In a 6 quart (or larger) saucepan, turn heat to high, combine the fruit and lemon juice. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir constantly to prevent mixture sticking to pan. Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam from surface. (I reserve the foam skimmed part in a small bowl, that makes for a nice little treat sample for afterward.) Let mixture cool slightly while you set up your jars on the towel. Set the hot saucepan on a trivet next to your work area. Place the canning funnel on the first jar and begin to ladle in the jam leaving 1/4 inch head space. Repeat until all jars are filled. Using your bubble remover tool or small spatula to run along the sides of the jar loosening up any trapped air bubbles. Center dry hot lids on jars allowing sealing compound to come in contact with the jar rim. Apply bands and adjust until fingertip tight.

Place filled jars in canner rack and gently lower into the water. (Be sure water covers tops of jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water if necessary.) Place lid on canner. Bring water to a gentle steady boil. Process jars for 10 minutes.*** Turn off heat, remove lid and let jars rest for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and set upright on towel to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Do not adjust bands as this could interfere with the sealing process. After cooling test seals by pressing the center of each lid. If lid does not flex up and down it is sealed. If a lid does not seal within 24 hours, refrigerate immediately for up to 3 weeks. Or you can reprocess using a new lid. Before storing your jam remove the bands. Wipe the jars and lids with a damp cloth. Label and store in a cool dry place for up to a year.


*I cheat here. I pit and peel the fruit and toss it in a food processor for a pulse or two to chop it up.
**For larger jars you can determine the amount of water required to fill your canner by filling your jars up with water (no need for lids) and placing them in the rack inside the canner. Begin filling canner up with water until there is enough water to cover your jars with 1-2 inches of water. Remove the rack with your water filled jars. That should be the level of water required to process your jars. Empty your jars and set aside. Place canner on stove with lid on and begin heating up the water.
***This is the amount of time at sea level. If you are in Denver you will need to process your jars for 20 minutes.

Sugar free peach jam
Ingredients:
4 cups finely chopped peaches (about 3lbs or 9 medium sized)*
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1.75 oz. box no sugar fruit pectin (I use Ball brand)

Follow the same procedures. However you may use a sugar substitute such as 1 1/2 cups Splenda. Then you will need to boil for 3 minutes.

4 comments :

Judith said...

How many peaches are in a peck? Please do share your jam recipe! I'd love to make peach jam to go with peach bread.

Sydney said...

I am so impressed! And jealous. I miss peaches like you wouldn't believe. I think that if they're twice cooked (like in reheated cobbler) I'm okay. But good lord, that jam is just beautiful! It's made me want to gorge on peaches more than anything in the six years since I developed an allergy to them. A+!!

Yvonne said...

You know, I have no idea how many peaches make a peck. I bought 1 peck more than a bushel (4=bushel)and an average bushel of peaches weighs 49 pounds. So at about 13 pounds a peck that could be somewhere between 20-40 peaches, The average I had crammed in my bags, depending on the species.

Yvonne said...

Thanks Sydney. I think it is so sad your body has rejected the lovely peach. Why not cabbage or eggplant? Maybe you have a poltergeist rather than an allergy?