Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to Make Peach Jam

The other day, my husband and I made a trip to the Farmer's Market in Jacksonville, Florida.  My husband went one way and I went the other but we were still within eye sight of each other.  I wanted to find out if the peaches were in yet while my husband had already bought 1/2 bushel of South Carolina peaches and loaded them into the car.  They were the smallest peaches I have ever seen but they tasted pretty good.

After we had our fill of peaches and cream, it was time to make jam.  I decided to make one batch without  pectin and another with pectin.  In either case, I rinsed the peaches and removed the pits while slicing and dicing the peaches.

For the batch without commercial pectin, I poured the required amount of sugar over the peaches in an enamel pot and let it stand for two hours.

In the meantime, I washed the jars and lids in hot water.

For peach jam without commercial pectin:  I used 4 lbs of peaches including the skin, 2 tbs fresh lemon juice, 3 cups of sugar, and 1/2 cup of water.  I also tossed in a small piece of a cinnamon stick.  I added the sugar, lemon juice, and water to the peaches in the pot and put it on the stove.  It is important to stir often to keep the peaches from sticking and burning.  I let it cook/boil/simmer for a good hour.  At this time, it should be thickened.  If not, keep cooking and stirring.

You can test the readiness of the jam by placing a spoonful of jam on a cold plate.  If it gels, it's ready.

For peach jam using commercial pectin:  I followed the direction on the pectin box and used 3 lbs of peaches which should equal 4 cups of finely chopped peaches.  I let the chopped peaches, 2 tbs of lemon juice, and the one box of pectin come to a full rolling boil while stirring constantly.  At this time, I quickly stirred in 5 and 1/2 cups of sugar, let it again come to a rolling boil and let it boil for one (1) minute.

When the jam has thickened, I ladle the jam into the clean jars.  I like to seal my jars with hot wax after they are filled.  This way the jam does not have to be refrigerated.  According to the pectin recipe, this should yield about 7 cups.

Using the pectin does cut down on the cooking time but it does not make any difference in the taste.  The chopped peaches show up more clearly when pectin is used and the color is lighter.

Have a peachy day!

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