Monday, October 4, 2010

Relaxing Peach Lavender Jam

Happy Monday Jammers, hope you all had a great weekend. Fall is definitely here, I enjoyed canning with the windows open Sunday morning, I woke up at 5:30 am and decided to do some canning. The breeze blowing through the kitchen was light but refreshing. We enjoyed the Jaguars football game yesterday afternoon, it was perfect football weather, warm but not hot, at all. I have issues with heights (extreme issues with not so high, heights) and it took me quite a while to adjust after we were in our seats (5th row down from the VERY top). We were so appreciative of the tickets, I had won them in a raffle at work! It was a great afternoon. We also got our fall decorations up inside the house, harvest season is our favorite and my son’s birthday is actually on Halloween. I love having my kitchen witches out (I keep a few out year round but have others that go up just during the fall).

Did I mention that when I woke up Friday afternoon (I work overnights so I sleep during the morning/early afternoon) the “Canning Fairy” had come to visit? I found a brand new hot water bath canner (with a real lift out rack, not just a round flat cake rack that sits on the bottom) sitting nice and pretty on my stove, ready for my peach frenzy! Yay…no more burning my arms reaching in and out of the extremely tall pot I was using. One thing it goes to show is that you don’t really need special, fancy equipment, make use of what you already have, like I did. A jar lifter (under $5) is really about the only special tool that I would say you must have and I didn’t have anything that would be a safe substitute around my house. That same fairy had made a visit earlier last
 week, too, when I had left a note out that I needed a package of liquid pectin, I woke up, and found 4 boxes of pectin and a case of jars to boot! Woo-hoo…I LOVE my Canning Fairy…I must make sure to leave out some special treats, tokens and thank you’s around the kitchen for her.

So, on Friday night I went to town, making 2 batches of peach jam. It’s the end of the peach season and the last of them are coming in from the west coast. One batch was my regular peach and the other was a peach lavender. For the regular peach batch I had been giving some thought to something one of my online friends, Andrea, had mentioned after I made it the first time. She wanted to know how the color did, after time, since there was no ascorbic acid or lemon juice in it. Hummm, she is correct in her thought process BUT I had no way of knowing how it would look cause it is ALL GONE! My jar is empty and everyone I gifted it to has finished theirs up too. Hey, I guess this is a good thing. I do remember my Mabert ALWAYS using “Fruit Fresh” in all jams just like I remember her using the paraffin in the top of each jar, which by the way, I saw at Food Lion, next to the canning jars and paraffin. I guess they still do make it but I have yet to find any recipe that says to use it nor have I found anyone that actually claims to use it. Anyway, I did the plain peach with some Fruit Fresh this time, figuring, what the heck. It can‘t hurt, especially since there is no other citric acid in the recipe. Below is the updated recipe for my Perfectly Peachy Jam that I originally posted on 9/16/2010.

Perfectly Peachy Jam (updated)

3 lbs (about 8 or 9 medium) fresh ripe peaches
1/2 cup water
6 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Fruit Fresh or any ascorbic acid crystals

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. Stir in the Fruit Fresh, until dissolved.

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.

Now, remember, I also mentioned the properties of peaches last month and that they are a symbol of marriage? They are associated with female fertility, abundance, fruitfulness and happiness. I recommended making and gifting the peach jam to newlyweds as a housewarming gift or maybe in a comfort-food basket as a baby or wedding shower gift. The 2nd peach batch I made was a peach lavender jam. Lavender is associated with love, protection and sleep. This would only serve to strengthen the existing properties I talked about with the peach. Love for the newlyweds or the new parents, protection for the new household and it’s members and all new parents could use some good sleep when they can find the time to close their eyes for a bit. Lavender is also calming so this one is perfect as a bed-time snack on a bit of homemade bread or maybe a croissant with some herbal tea. Due to the properties of lavender, I am renaming this one my Relaxing Peach Lavender Jam.

Relaxing Peach Lavender Jam

2 tablespoons dried organic lavender flowers
1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups finely chopped peaches (about 5-6 medium)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 3oz pouch liquid pectin

Preheat canner, sterilize jars and prepare the lids. Place lavender flowers in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over flowers and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and discard flowers. Combine lavender liquid, peaches, lemon juice and sugar in a large pan. Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in pectin.

Fill hot sterilized jars with the jam, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and add the lids and rings and place jars in preheated canner. Bring canner to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Check the seal before storing. Use within 12 months.

Makes about 8 half pint jars.

Now, Let me tell you, the scent of this jam is like no other I have smelled. It is delightful and the actual lavender flavor is perfect. It is really more of a lavender essence since you don’t see the lavender but the flavor is there in perfect combination with the peaches. This is the most delicate and feminine of all of my jams to date, so I dedicated this batch to ALL the Goddesses that I know and work with and those that bless my hearth! May they bless your’s too.

Relaxing Peach Lavender on the left and Perfectly Peachy on the right

Relaxing Peach Lavender on the left and Perfectly Peachy on the right

Later in the week, I will post another recipe. I was so thrilled this morning when my two butters, apple and pumpkin, came out perfect! The pumpkin was the fastest recipe I have made so far and was ready to process within minutes. I will also talk about why I couldn’t find any pumpkin butter recipes in ANY of the library books (there are plenty on the web just not in books) that I checked out when I was researching and compiling my list of jam recipes I wanted to try. I’ll also share my solution, which is what makes this recipe so easy and quick but oh-so-DELICIOUS! Make sure to check back and if you want to be reminded of new postings to the blog then become a fan on my Facebook page (the link is on the upper right side of this page).

I am excited to find another jam to add the lavender essence to, do you have any ideas? Leave a comment if you have seen it used in jam before or if you have a good idea for one to add it to. I was thinking of maybe a Vanilla Pear Lavender? What do you think, let me know.

Get out and enjoy the weather, this week, and remember to Be Blessed and Be Sweet, till next time!



Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

They look beautiful!! Thanks for using the citric acid in the perfectly peach one - now I have a use for the giant thing of it that I bought :) If I ever get my peaches I'll be making these both!!

Vanilla is the first flavor I thought of to go with lavender. Sounds good!

Your son's birthday is the day after mine! He must be awesome, us Scorpios tend to be pretty cool LOL :)

Can't wait to see the pumpkin butter, YUM!

Anonymous said...

I usually make strawberry lavender jam but your peach lavender is terrific!