This jam is so heavenly I could eat it right off the spoon. I first found the gooey goodness on the shelves at TJMaxx for $6.99 a jar (regularly $10.00!). I already owned Sarabeth's Bakery cookbook and recognized the name on the lovely label. The discounted jam came home with me because we were having out of town guests. We didn't just like this jam, we loved it beyond description. Imagine my delight when I found the recipe was included in her cookbook.
I have never canned before. As in, never seen it done by someone else much less attempted it myself. When I thought of canning I imagined bubbling pots of splattering fruit goo, steamy kitchens and exploding glass canisters cracking upon immersion into their bath.
One day while shopping at WalMart I came upon an entire section of canning items. These adorable jars whispered my name and next thing I knew I was committing. I would be making jam before the summer ended.
A few additional supplies turned out to be so valuable. I highly recommend getting tongs, a funnel, and the magnetic stick used to lift sterile lids from hot water.
I also loved using my immersion blender. Most jam recipes suggest mashing the fruit but we prefer jams without large chunks of fruit so blending is my solution.
The powdered pectin is for a basic strawberry jam recipe I tried first (and will post later). The strawberry peach version uses no pectin whatsoever which makes for a runnier but still perfect jam.
You'll need a large deep pot for boiling the jars as well as processing the finished product.
Use a separate pot to sterilize the lids and screw tops. Take the screw tops out but leave the lids to soak and soften the sealing edge.
For this recipe the peaches first take a jacuzzi and then an icy cold shower.
This makes for easy peeling later.
I wish you could smell these beauties. Their juices were like syrup all over my hands.
It made me fantasize about canning spiced peaches as well.
The whole process was much easier than I thought it would be. It does take a while though so I recommend a good four hour block of time for your first attempt. Giving away these adorable little jars has been so rewarding that I have plans for salsa, tomato sauce and more varieties of jelly in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!
STRAWBERRY PEACH JAM
makes 10 half-pints (my version made 15)
(only slightly adapted from the original recipe by Sarabeth Levine)
4 pounds ripe peaches (I used nearly 6 pounds)
7 cups granulated sugar, divided
8 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used pure, organic bottled)
1 Tbsp. butter (my addition)
(these are my own directions - check her beautiful cookbook for Mrs. Levine's own instructions)
1. Put large canning pot of water on to boil. When boiling, add half-pint jars and boil 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow jars to sit in hot water until needed. Simmer lids in a separate pan then turn off heat and allow to sit until needed but remove screw tops to dry towel.
2. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch peaches in batches for 60 seconds then transfer to an ice bath.
3. Peel and slice peaches into a large non-reactive pot. (I use a Dutch oven.)
4. Add 3 1/2 cups sugar to peaches and bring to a boil.
5. Puree peaches and sugar with immersion blender while cooking for about ten minutes over medium heat.
6. Add strawberries, remaining 3 1/2 cups sugar and lemon juice.
7. Return to a boil, stirring often, then puree until all is smooth and well blended.
8. Cook for forty minutes, stirring often so as not to burn on the bottom. Occasionally skim foam from top.
9. Remove jars from hot water (I placed mine onto a cooling rack over a cookie sheet to catch drips) then turn heat to high to return canning pot water to a boil for processing.
10. Using funnel, pour jam into sterile jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space. (I just stop pouring when jam reaches bottom edge of the funnel.)
11. Wipe rims with damp paper towel.
12. Top jars with lids and screw on the covers.
13. Using tongs, place jars of jam into boiling water and allow to boil gently for 10 minutes.
14. Remove with tongs to cool on thick towels so jars don't crack on cooler counter top.
15. You will hear popping as the jam cools. That is the lovely sound of the jars sealing.
16. After jars have cooled, tighten screw tops and store on the shelf for one year.
17. Refrigerate once opened.