Friday, September 24, 2010

Peach jams and sauces

top: Spice Pear Jam, Peach Butter.
Bottom: Peach-Plum Jam, Peach Cobbler Sauce, Pear Jam
The first peach recipe I tried was peach butter. I have made a lot of apple butter, and it always goes pretty quickly. I forgot that I start out with applesauce from steam juicing: most of the water is already gone. Not so when starting with fresh peaches.

So what I thought was going to be a one hour process took nearly five. I ended up complaining quite a bit near the end, as I'd brought the canning kettle to a boil at least three times already and the butter was still not ready. We were going to go out for an early lunch, and that time had passed. And so I stopped. I didn't quit--I came back after lunch to finish. But boy was I frustrated! Luckily, the butter came out delicious. Unfortunately, two of the five jars didn't seal. I gave one to my coworker, whose partner loved my apple butter. He  thought it was fantastic!

Spiced Peach Butter from Ball Blue Book

  • 18 medium peaches
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp each ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
Chop peaches. Cook until soft, adding only enough water to prevent sticking (I used the recommended 1/2 cup, which was too much). Puree (blender, food mill, or sieve). Measure 2 quarts pulp. Combine with sugar in a large pot, preferably heavy bottomed (I used my stockpot). I had three quarts so I used 6 cups of sugar. Cook until thick enough to round up on a spoon. It doesn't happen forever, but when it does, you'll know it. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. This can take hours, so don't stand at the stove the whole time.

Ladle into hot jars, 1/4" headspace, 10 minutes boiling water bath. About 4-6 pints.

Original recipe says to blanch and peel the peaches. I never peel my fruit if I can help it.

Peach-Plum Jam
I made a couple batches of this before finding the best recipe (below). But at this point, I can't find the recipe back. I'm not sure if it's in one of my books or online. It's good. I think. I'm starting to forget with all the jams I've made. I do know the one we like the least, so I'm pretty sure this was a good one. Now to find the recipe back....

Then I found the best peach recipe: Peach Cobbler Jam. Mine didn't get very jammy, and might firm up as time goes by. But that's okay: It's the most fabulous peach cobbler sauce. We can't wait to eat it on ice cream or brownies this winter. I made two batches...and then ran out of peaches to our disappointment. Can't wait for next year! I might skip the pectin and intentionally make a sauce. As you'll see shortly, I can make any fruit sauce!

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