Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Days Blueberry-Peach Jam

Peaches! My favorite fruit of all time! Lest you think I am one of those picky types who only likes one fruit or can't abide any vegetable besides potatoes, understand that I love almost any fruit I have ever put in my mouth, almost any vegetable too. So when I say peaches are my favorite fruit, considerable thought has gone into that statement. I'm serious now, peaches are nothing to joke about! That is why Friday was the most-wonderful-day-of-the-summer. I got my peaches. A whole bushel of round, sweet, fuzzy, perfumy delights. If you can't identify that description with peaches, you must not be acquainted with fresh-picked orchard peaches, Arkansas or Porter peaches, preferably. If you are a poor unfortunate soul who has only experienced those hard sour desecrations sold at grocery stores, well you have my sympathy. The end of July is marked by rabid consumption of peaches, any way you can imagine, I'm eating them, I can't stop, it's dangerous, my husband gets alarmed, the kids start to cry because mama is eating all the peaches, I just can't help myself! Yesterday the canning started, now there are 17 quart jars sitting on my counter, half for me and half for Joe's grandparents. They are almost as bad as me about it, they fight over them and hide them from each other. Really, it's just embarrassing! I ended up with 4 cups of peaches left over so I decided to make a batch of jam. If you have 4 cups of any fruit, you too can make jam. Now the jam was looking a bit blah in the pan and I remembered there were fresh blueberries languishing in the fridgidare and so I did this:
See the peach part is great and all but it was kind of boring. Don't tell the peaches I said that, but sorry it was. If you've never made jam before, it's easy as can be. Basically, you boil fruit with pectin (all grocery stores carry powdered or liquid pectin. I use powdered) and an insane amount of sugar, follow the directions on the box and you have jam. You can mix types of fruit as long as you have about 4 cups total. Every time, I am unsure of what a "full boil" means. This is a full boil:
No matter how much you stir, it doesn't stop boiling. It is mesmerizing to watch but a bit scary, especially if you have little ones around. Now, my dad's cousin spilled hot jam on her foot so my mom always makes you put on your shoes if you are jam-making at her house. Even at my house I hear her voice telling me to put on my shoes. Yes ma'am, I'll put on my shoes. You will notice the difference in the color of the two photos above. That is from the blueberries bursting and turning it pink. Boring color be gone!!
Here is the jam on the hot jars. After you ladle it in, you wipe the tops of the jars and put on lids and rings. These are found in the store by the pectin and canning supplies. So, here's the scoop. Boil some jars for 10 minutes (you can buy these new, find them at yard sales and thrift stores, or inherit them from someone who doesn't can anymore. I got mine off of Freecycle.). Put your fruit in a wide and deep pan with the pectin, bring this to a boil then add the sugar, bring to a full rolling boil (see above) and boil for 1 minute. Set the pan off the heat for a few minutes to stop boiling and skim off as much of the foam as you can. Put it in a small bowl. Give it to me if I am there or if I am not, eat it yourself or bestow it on a worthy child. My mom always gave us spoons to taste the foam, we must have been worthy children. Ha! Anyway, Ladle it into your hot sterilized jars, wipe the tops, put on the lids and rings. Then put them back in the pan you boiled the jars in and boil for 10 minutes. Set out on a pretty towel to cool and admire!


Kristin said...

You are awesome! How do you get it all done?

Ron Hollis said...

Mom got some peaches today, oh boy, oh boy!