What a week, and it is not even over yet. The first week of school is always filled with so much apprehension, excitement, homework (and I am not talking about for the kids – am I the only one that has mountains of forms to fill out?), that I am glad when it is over. One more day, I can do it!
So – this is the jam I was talking about. The jam that changed my life. See, the other week as I was making the third batch of jam this summer, my husband asked what I was planning to do with all these jars that are starting to fill the pantry. I told him some of my ideas, and then he looked at me and said, “You better start eating.” I continued to put the stickers on my tops, and said, “But I don’t like jam.” I confessed, and he just started laughing. I know – I have no idea why I am obsessed with making jam, when I don’t even like the stuff? Now, it is not that I hate it, but I certainly don’t crave it (unlike pickles, which I cannot get enough of). I did love the blueberry jam I made, but that was definitely a new experience for me, and at that point it didn’t change my life. If I was going to eat jam, that would definitely be what I choose – but for the most part, I don’t choose jam.
That was before I made this jam. I saw this in the Food in Jars book, and it looked like all the jam I make – delicious, but not for me – for jam lovers. This jam comes from a different planet. I could eat it with a spoon, it is that good. I just made my daughter’s peanut butter sandwich for lunch tomorrow (after she requested it with the Peach Jam), and I licked the knife dry. Who am I? Needless to say, where do you think I am going to be first thing on Saturday morning? Back at the farmer’s market buying more peaches – and I suggest you do the same. This is the best jam I have ever had, hands down. I might just need to move to Georgia…
- 10 cups of peaches, peeled and chopped
- 6 cups of sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 2 packets (1 box) liquid pectin
Fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to temperature. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat (but do not boil) in order to soften the sealing compound.
Add peaches and sugar to a large, non-reactive pot. Stir so that the peaches begin to release their juice and mingle with the sugar. Bring to a boil and add cinnamon, seeds from the vanilla bean, lemon zest and juice and let jam continue to cook for about fifteen minutes. If the fruit hasn’t broken down much after that time is up, use a potato masher or immersion blender (taking care not to burn yourself with hot jam) to break down the chunks. Add pectin and bring to a rolling boil for a full five minutes.
Turn off the heat under the jam and fill jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 10 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter. When the jars are cooled, check the seal by pressing on the top of the jar. If there’s no movement, the jar has sealed. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place.
Makes 6-7 pints (yield varies depending on width of pot, cooking length and juiciness of fruit).
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