Friday, September 24, 2010
I absolutely love peaches. Eat them fresh, eat them frozen, sprinkled with cinnamon, it's all good to me. So, when my grocery store was selling peaches for less than 50 cents a pound, well, I couldn't resist. I went and bought 12 pounds of peaches. No, I wasn't buying them for anyone else to eat, there's only me. No, I wasn't crazy. It's just that I love a good deal and I do eat a lot of fruit. Still, that was an awful lot of peaches. What could I do with them all?
How about making some Peach Jam? Sound like a good idea? It did to me. Now, I had never made jam before in my life, but there's a first time for everything. The recipe that I found didn't require a lot of ingredients, but it is a bit time consuming. First you need to skin the peaches by blanching them in hot water and shocking them in cold water. Then, the skins are "supposed to" come right off. Well, mine came half off and the other half stuck stubbornly on the fruit. In hindsight, I guess my water may not have been hot enough, or I didn't blanch them long enough. Either way, I ended up just skinning the rest off with a knife.
Then, I cut up my peaches, added a little lemon juice, and set them to cook on the stove. It took a little longer than the recipe stated for my peaches to break down, but soon I was adding my sugar and waiting for it to gel. Ten minutes later, and I had this beautiful bowl of jam to show for all my hard work.
Yum. It's like a bowl of golden sunshine. I added a little cinnamon to mine to give it a little kick. Now, what should I do with all this sweetness?
Maybe eat it on toast. Yeah, that sounds good. I think that's what I'll do. The last of summer never tasted so good.
Peach Jam (adapted from Mix, Mix . . . Stir, Stir)
1 lb. fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. sugar
Place a small plate in the refrigerator to have chilled for testing the set of the jam.
Place the peaches and lemon juice in a 3 qt. heavy-bottom sauce pan. Over medium-low heat, let the peaches cook for about 15 min. to become very soft and release their juices. Stir frequently to prevent burning and lower the heat if necessary. As the peaches soften, mash them with the back of a spoon.
Once the peaches have broken down and cooked for 15 min., reduce the heat and stir in the sugar. After the sugar is completely dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the jam to a boil for 5 min.
Place a small dollop of jam on the chilled plate and put it in the refrigerator for a minute or two. To check for setting, push one edge of the jam toward the center of the dollop. If the surface wrinkles, the jam is set and can be removed from the heat. If not, continue to cook and re-test every few minutes. Transfer the jam to a clean jar and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy within 1-2 weeks.
Makes 1 cup