In my world, the odds are that you heard of Ferran
Bittersweet was the moment when I approached that end. With some 25 pages left, the low of my high, the halt of my reading ride, the light at the end of my pleasure tunnel was nearing. It was deja-vu from other books I’ve loved. I wanted to see the end, but I didn’t want it to be over. Like the greatest show, the best vacation, the happiest moment- this book would never to be relived the same way.
Two weeks ago, I didn’t have that book to go crazy on, or any book that I couldn’t immerse in and be slightly bitter finishing. But I had peaches, 40 pounds of Ela Farm peaches and an irresistible urge to can. I dedicated a weekend to it- immersion canning. It is that time of the year- jams, preserves, sauces- and let me tell you- here, there are STILL beautiful peaches awaiting their hot jar.
No matter the fruit, my recipe is meant to say that canning is not hard. It is easy, pleasurable, and rewarding. There is some magic in allowing yourself to relive summer just by opening a jar of fragrant peaches in December. There is also the joy of sharing the pretty creations- I consider some of my Christmas shopping completed!
Peach Jam, a made-up recipe.
Ingredients: 5 pound peaches, 2 pounds sugar (you can also do less, or more, depending on how sweet you like your jam), 2 lemons, juiced. Plus a bunch of mason jars with new lids and bands.
Ask yourself- do you want the peel in your jam? There is no wrong answer, just a matter of preference. Most will say no peel, so here’s how you take it off- with a sharp knife, cut an X on the bottom of each peach. To make it easier, you can continue your knife superficial indent into the skin peach all around it.
Fill up a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place the peaches in the boiling water in batches – fewer at a time is better. The goal is to blanch or flash boil the skin without cooking the inside. To do that, the temperature of the water needs to be very hot. The fewer peaches you place in there at a time, the more likely the temperature of the water is to remain high. After 10-15 seconds of roaring boiling, remove the peaches. Allow to cool a few minutes and take off the skins.
Cut the peaches into quarters, remove the seeds and discard them. Repeat for the rest of the peaches and place them all into the heavy bottomed pot that you plan to cook your jam in. Sprinkle the sugar onto the cut up peaches. Stir well until the sugar is incorporated and becomes syrupy. Let stand for 4-6 hours.
Bring the pot with the peaches to a simmer over medium heat. Stir often for about 30 minutes. At this point, you have to ask yourself another question- what texture you prefer for your jam? Anything from quarter peaches to puree goes. I chose an in-between that I obtained by taking my trusty masher and mashing up the stewing peaches. Do what you need to do to get to your desired texture- yes, you can put it in a food processor and then return it to the pot.
Texture of the peach aside, the whole jam has to come together to a point where it is not all the way runny- if you put a drop of the liquid on a plate it doesn’t run in all directions, but rather tends to stay together in a circular shape. There are degrees of ‘doneness’ for this, but again, it is a matter of preference- if you find it to be too runny, let it stew longer.
Before you put your new creation into jars, you have to boil the jars. No, you need no special tools- I had none. I boiled a big pot of water and carefully immersed the jars into simmering water in batches. I used a thin long spatula-like kitchen utensil to help me lower the jars and remove them without scorching my hands. Boil the tops and bands as well. Fill up the jars leaving half an inch at the top. Seal the jars and find a pot big enough to fit the sealed jars with an inch of water over them. [That is, of course, if you can with no special props like I do]. Boil the water, place the sealed jars in, and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Remove and voila- you made jam!
Right around the time when I made this, I experienced one of the most positive side-effects of social media, in this case- twitter. A chef and blogger I met on twitter (find him at www.mycutsandburns.com) dropped off a beautiful piece of this foie gras torchon that I served along a bit of jam and a small taste of arugula-mint salad.
If you read or can like a maniac, we’re a match- share your stories, can your fruit.
No related posts.