Thursday, September 16, 2010

Perfectly Peachy!

Welcome back Jammers!  Glad to have you all back around the hearth.  The hearth is the heart and center of your home, aka, your kitchen.  It's your private space where you create and receive nourishment and fulfillment and these days lots of folks are making an art of it.  Modern dishes are being infused with all sorts of ideas and feelings as these artists create their "masterpieces".  The artist's tools are found in your cupboards and drawers (utensils) and your medium is found in your pantry or fridge (food and spices) and your passions are what you season your foods with (emotions). 

In my attempt to bring you up-to-date, here is the recipe for for the second batch I put up that first day back on August 15.  This one is my favorite, so came out perfect!  It is a basic peach jam and remember, I said I did two kinds that day?  One with added pectin and one without?  Well, this is the one without and I LOVE the consistency.  Now as far as the properties of peaches, did you know that a peach is a symbol of marriage?  They can also be associated with female fertility, abundance, fruitfulness and happiness.  Now what comes to your mind when you think about each of those things?  What my mind's eye visions is a pregnant newlywed Goddess, so when you make this you can envision all those thing I listed above and focus on them as you make this jam, which I lovingly rename Perfectly Peachy Jam.  It would be perfect to make this batch and plan to share it over the next year with any newlyweds as a housewarming gift or maybe in a comfort-food basket as a baby or wedding shower gift.  Enjoy!

Perfectly Peachy Jam

3 lbs (about 8 or 9 medium) fresh ripe peaches
1/2 cup water
6 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
Preheat canner and prepare jars and lids.  To prepare peaches, dip the whole peach into a medium saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds then plunge it into a large bowl of ice water.  The skins should now just slip right off.  Remove the pits and chop the peaches into small bits and then crush them, one cup at a time, with a handheld potato masher.

Combine the peaches and water in a tall, heavy, saucepan and boil for 10 minutes.  Add the sugar and return to a slow boil, until the sugar dissolves and then boil rapidly, until thick, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Make sure to not let it scorch.  Test for doneness, which is 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Remove pan from heat and quickly skim off any foam from the top.  Ladle the jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and add the lids and rings, turning the rings until just finger-tight.  Place the jars in the preheated canner and bring canner to a full rolling boil.  Process jars for 10 minutes (adjusting according to your altitude, if necessary) then remove canner from heat.  Let canner sit for 5 minutes, then, carefully remove hot jars from water with a jar lifter and place them on a towel on the counter and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours.  Check the seals before storing and use within 12 months.

Makes about 6 - 7 half pint jars.

My batch is gone, the last jar taken by the neighbor from across the street who rang the doorbell just last week and handed back the empty jar and asked for a refill!  This neighbor and his wife are on the list for a jar of each batch I make...they are great neighbors.  He is a recreational pilot that is building a plane and has taken my almost 12 year old son under his wing (no pun intended) and is helping him earn his merit badge for Boy Scouts in aviation.  So far my son has been up in his plane once and discovered that he LOVES it...he even got to hold the controls for a bit.  I loved standing outside in the driveway while they circled overhead and he said flying down the beach and out over the ocean was incredible.  We are so blessed to have neighbors like them, it is truly an opportunity we would never be able to give our son otherwise!  Of course these neighbors will be getting as many goodies as they can use.

Next time, I will post how my Carrot Cake Jam came out and how a fellow Scout's mom found a great use for it....stay tuned.  Until next time, Be Blessed and Be Sweet!

1 comment:

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

WEE HA! I'm getting a bunch of peaches from a friend and plan on jamming them. No pectin in this one, eh? Cool!! Do you have any problem with the peaches darkening over time due to oxidation w/o additional citric acid being added? Just wondering, I got some today (citric acid) for the peaches but if I don't need it then I won't use it :)