Thursday, September 09, 2010

Yvonne's Plumeach Jam

Yesterday I avoided mopping my floors by making jam. It was also something that needed to get done and was so much more fun than mopping. I have been pondering the whole need and want to make jam with the fact that at 38 weeks pregnant doing much of anything seems to require plenty of motivation. I began with making my standard peach jam which is always a family favorite. I do find that peach jam to be so very delightful. Then I went on with making the plum-peach variety. This is a new one for me. One without a recipe just made as I know with what I know. By the way it turned out wonderful. Leah took one taste and said "It's tastes just like summer in a jar!" I agree. Now if you happen to live nearby, or I happen to know where you live you might just get a taste of this fantastic jam. If you are not one of those people then go get some peaches and plums and get on with it. You're wasting time not mopping your floors.


Yvonne's Plumeach 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
6-8 clean half pint (8oz. size) 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:
2 cups finely chopped peaches (about 1.5-2lbs or 4 medium sized)*
2 cups finely chopped Italian prune plums (about 1.5lbs or 15 medium sized)
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. butter (not required but helps reduce foaming)
1/2 cup water
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. When using jam jars you will need to fill your canner pot halfway with water. If your jars are larger or smaller you will need to adjust the water level based on your jars.** There should be about 1-2 inches of water covering the tops of your jars. Place canner filled with water on your stove and turn heat to high, cover with the lid. Once the water is boiling you can place your rack into the canner. Adjust your rack so that it resting on the top of the canner, they are made to hang from the rim with room for you to put the lid on top too. 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. Then I fill up the rack on the counter so that I can lower it into the water all together. 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, lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and water. Simmer mixture for about five minutes. Gradually stir in pectin, keep stirring until pectin dissolves. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir constantly to prevent mixture sticking to pan. The mixture will be thick and prone to sticking to the bottom of your pan. Add half the measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve, add the rest and stir to dissolve. Once the sugar is added it will become more liquidy and dark pinkish purple in color. Return jam 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. Carefully remove jars from canner and set upright on a 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.

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