Sunday, August 30, 2009

Peachy

I did it and it was just peachy!

After several days of procrastinating while the peaches I picked from our wedding present tree grew increasingly fragrant on the counter, I finally got to work and made the jam I'd been dreaming about ever since taking the jam making class with June Taylor.

The peaches were easy to prepare; all I did was wash them, gently scrub off the fuzz under running water, cut them around the middle, pop out the pit (mine are freestone peaches) and cut the halves into small pieces. I didn't peel the peaches, on June's advice, and I think she was right. The skin all but dissolves in the cooking and what's left has a nice little tang and texture that the sweet body of the jam lacks, like a very subtle version of the zest in marmalade.

I made this first batch just plain, with a little organic sugar (about 5 parts peaches to 1 part sugar by weight) and some lemon juice from my own lemons, so I know everything in the jar is clean. In a nutshell, all you do is mix in the sugar and leave it to macerate with the fruit for a few hours (or overnight if you like). Once the sugar is fully dissolved and the juice is extracted from the fruit, you boil the fruit in a heavy-bottomed pan until it is a thickened consistency, then add the lemon juice and ladle the jam into clean jars (carefully - this stuff is HOT) and put on the lids. Each of these steps has nuances that are best learned from a seasoned jam maker, but it really isn't complicated.

I experimented with re-using some lids and some of them didn't seal - another time, I'd just use new lids; it's too much trouble to make not to have the lids seal.


Next time, since this was a success, I plan to use some spices or herbs. I think wild fennel would add a lot of rich flavor and tarragon sounds good to me, too. My friend Nancy, who got to taste the first jar, suggested adding cloves and said that her grandmother added orange juice; I was thinking about allspice, so we're in the same ballpark, and I like the idea of a tad of additional acidity from the OJ as well as another layer of flavor.

I'm a good procrastinator but now I have the courage to try again soon with some riffs on this peachy experiment.

8 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, August 30, 2009  
Blogger Greg said...

Hot work but the result looks spectacular.

Sunday, August 30, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I love your blog, I usually look every day. Thanks.

Second, I never reuse lids although my mom says you can. And moms usually now what is best, but I made a batch of strawberry one year and 3 didn't seal. I didn't notice it and was very disappointed when they were the last 3 jars.

So for the extra couple of bucks you know they will last.

Amy

Sunday, August 30, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I am ready to do a taste test anytime! It's a difficult job....
I like the simplicity of your approach. When dealing with fruit, I personally think that simpler is better because it allows the flavor of the fruit to shine though.

Sunday, August 30, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Wedding peach jam, lovely.

Sunday, August 30, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, it warmed the cockles of My Beloved's heart (and I did it on a cool day).

Amy, thanks so much for the compliment. Glad to know you are out there reading and enjoying. Have you a blog of your own? Send a link - it would be fun to read yours, too.

Nancy, duly noted. Will call you after the next batch.

Morgan, the tree was a wedding present to MB and me. Is that a great gift, or what?

Monday, August 31, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I love your restraint in the use of sugar!! Wow, what a lovely batch.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, I learned to use far less sugar in the class I took from June Taylor. The fruit flavor is amazing when not drowned in sugar.

Thursday, September 10, 2009  

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