More canning! Okay still no canning. This recipe makes only one large jar of jam and I guarantee you’ll want to eat it up immediately. So far, I’ve used it as a spread for veggie burgers and english muffins, as a base for salad dressing and syrup, and–judge me if you like–I’ve eaten it right out of the jar with an over-sized spoon. It’s that good (or maybe I just really love peaches).
Remember my yooper aunt who doesn’t cook? She does make jam. That is to say 1) it’s definitely worth it and 2) you can do it too! There are two ways to make this jam. My favorite way requires a teensy bit of patience–you need to let the fruit sit with some sugar overnight. The other way, however, allows you to have your jam right away. What’s the difference? You can wait to cook the peaches with the sugar–or not. Letting the peaches sit out overnight with the sugar imparts a more rich flavor and gives you a shorter cooking time (which I think makes the jam taste “fresher”); still, the choice is yours.
If you choose to cook the jam right away, add 1/8 cup water to the peaches and boil. Crush the peaches with a potato masher. When boiling, add the sugar and lemon juice, Cook until gelled.
You’ll also need a scale for this recipe–the way to make jam–any kind of fruit jam–is to get equal parts sugar and fruit (in terms of weight). So, you weigh the fruit, then weigh the peaches and apricots (once they are de-stoned).
- 2 lbs peaches and apricots (the ratio is up to you; you can skin them if you like, but I prefer to leave the skins on)
- 2 lbs sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Quarter peaches and apricots and place in a large heavy-bottomed, stainless steel saucepan with 2 lbs sugar and lemon juice; let sit overnight (8-12 hours).
- Over medium heat, bring peach mixture to a boil.
- Cook until gelled.*
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes; then move to jar of your choice.
*You have a couple of options when trying to figure out whether your jam has gelled. If you have a candy thermometer, you can cook until mixture reaches 220F.
If not, put a plate in the freezer (for at least 10 minutes); when you want to check for the gel stage, drop a bit onto the plate. This method is demonstrated here: Plating Method
If you turn the plate and the jam doesn’t drip down the plate, you’re good. There’s also the “sheeting” method: using a wooden spoon, dip into the mixture, then pull it out so that it’s parallel to the floor. When two drops join to make one drop before dropping, you’re good to go.