It’s peach jammin’ time! First, make some biscuits, because there’s just about nothing better than fresh, warm jam on a biscuit. There’s always that little bit extra leftover that won’t fit in the last jar and you want to be ready. It’s so disappointing to me if I finish up some jam then look around and realize I don’t have any homemade bread handy. (It’s soooo good on toasted Grandmother Bread, too!!)
Look at all these peaches. Two bucketfuls! That makes a lot of jam. (I made seven half-pints and four full pints, plus I saved aside some for cobbler and pie.) I’ve been jammin’ for days now between the cutting up and the peeling and the canning. By the way, someone emailed me and asked: Why is it called canning when it’s put in glass jars?” From what I can figure out, this is because it was common at one time for the jars used in preserving to be referred to as glass cans. And as factory-preserved products were often prepared in tin cans, this perpetuated the terminology as “home” canning (vs “factory” canning) even after the “glass can” became more widely deemed a jar. Besides, “jarring” doesn’t sound quite right, does it?
I like to call it jammin’. You know, if I’m making jam. If I’m canning something else, I’m….tomatoin’. Or beanin’. Or pepperin’. (Somebody stop me.)
How to make Peach Jam:
4 cups peeled, cored, chopped peaches
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 package fruit pectin
5 cups sugar
*Makes 5-6 half-pints. This same recipe works for pears, too. If you’ve never canned before, check out my How to Can: Hot Water Bath Method!
Prepare your peaches. (You can do this a little ahead of time if you use a produce protector like Fruit Fresh, which you can buy in the canning aisle.) Get your water boiling in your canning pot, rack tucked inside. Boil lids in a small pan then remove to dry on a paper towel using tongs. While water is coming to a boil in your big pot, place chopped peaches in another large pot with the lemon juice. Add pectin and bring to a full, rolling boil. (Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to reduce foaming.) Meanwhile, get your sugar measured and ready. As soon as peaches, lemon juice, and pectin are at the boil, add sugar all at once. Return to boil and keep at the full, rolling boil for one minute. Remove from heat and ladle immediately into clean, sterilized jars. Place lids on top, screw on bands, and lower onto rack in your pot of boiling water. Cover and boil 10 minutes.
Canning looks/sounds like an ordeal, but it’s fun and easy.
Remove jars and place upright on a cutting board or rack to cool and let stand undisturbed for 24 hours. Store in a cool, dry location.
(Pictured: Peach Jam-Glazed Chicken, with salad made from my garden and my biscuits.) Don’t forget to make Biscuits Twists with peach jam! (Yum!) Aside from using jam on biscuits or toast, it’s a perfect ice cream topping, too. But that’s just the beginning. Peach jam, straight from the jar, makes a great glaze for baked chicken or pork. Or add a tablespoon or two of peach jam to hot sauce or barbeque sauce for a different and sweet flavor–again, this is especially delicious with chicken or pork. (And it’s a good way to stretch a sauce if you’re down to the end of a bottle–add some jam.) And then there’s Fruit Dip.
How to make Fruit Dip:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (regular or non-fat)
1/2 cup peach or other jam
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix cream cheese, jam, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Serve with sliced fruit, such as apples, strawberries, cherries, melon, etc. Store in the fridge. It also makes a great spread for toast or bagels.