We be jammin’…with peaches

Peach season in Southern Ontario is met with mixed emotions for me.  As a kid, it marked the month of August and the upcoming Winona Peach Festival, which was fun, but also meant the end of summer.  As an adult, although I know the summer won’t last here forever, I do enjoy the changing of the seasons and try to embrace the best out of each one.  Peaches are definitely high up on the list of favourites for the summer.

Ever since our summer at Pie Bird Farm Sanctuary, where we attended a jam making weekend, I have used the same recipe to make peach jam.

Although the process can seem a little intimidated at first, it is quite easy.  Make sure you have a block of time to dedicate to making your jam without interruption and you will end up with some beautiful, fresh peach jam that will last you the winter.

This recipe can be used for just about any type of fruit and can be found in the package of the Sugar free Pectin box.  There is no artificial sweetener in this Pectin.  You can use some something to sweeten your jam but we just used unsweetened apple juice.

Before getting the fruit cooking, I get my canning pot going because it takes a while to get all that water boiling.  Get out your jars and lids to ensure they are clean.  Put the lids and rings in a smaller pot of boiling water and leave on simmer.  I sterilize my jars by putting them lying down in a 150F oven for about 10-15 minutes.  In fact, I keep them in there while my peaches are cooking.  This will heat them up as well for when the hot peaches go into the jars.  Peel and dice your peaches as well.  This recipe makes about 4, 250ml jars of jam.

Instructions:

4 cups of peeled and diced peaches

1 cup of apple juice or white grape juice

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 package of sugar free pectin

In a large pot, put the peaches in on medium heat.  Pour in the apple or white grape juice and lemon juice.  Cook until fruit is soft and able to mash.  Mash the peaches to the point that you like them.  Some people like a more chunkier jam.  Once mashed, pour in pectin and continue to cook until starts to thicken.

I have a handy-dandy funnel for my jam jars that is well worth the purchase at your local grocery store or hardware store.  They are not expensive and saves you a lot of aggravation.  Ladle the prepared peaches into the jars and fill to about 1/4″ or 0.5 cm from the top of the jar.  Make sure there isn’t any jam on the outside of the jar and put the lids and rings on them.  Hand tighten. Put the jars into the boiling water of the canning pot.  Making sure there is at least 1″ or 2.5 cm of water covering the jar lids.  Put the lid to the canning pot on and let them boil for 10-15 minutes.  Take out using jar tongs (also another good purchase) and let cool in an upright position for at least 24 hours.  Check the jar seals and make sure the centres are pressed down.  Label. Store and enjoy fresh jam for the fall and winter.  Personally, peach jam is one of our favourites and last year I tried a couple of mangos mixed in and that made a nice addition to the peach flavour.  Of course strawberry, raspberry, apricot, or blackberries all make great jams too.  With the abundance of fresh seasonal fruit here, the possibilities are endless.

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