I know that this post has been delayed, but with my summer break coinciding with the height of the harvest, I have been busy!
As mentioned here, I have thoroughly enjoyed the peach harvest this past year. My mother used to can apple and peach jelly and would freeze strawberry preserves. When I asked my mom recently, she mentioned that she had a hard time ensuring that the peach jelly fully set up (I remember this, it would like peach-flavored syrup). I did some research and found Pomona’s Universal Pectin which is made from citrus peels. Pomona’s uses both pectin and calcium water (included in the kit) to help firm up your jam or jelly. Pomona’s allows users to make jams with little or no sugar (i.e. a variety of alternative sweeteners such as Splenda, fructose, sucanat, xylitol and stevia can be used).
I purchased local honey at the farmer’s market for my peaches. A recipe guide was provided with the pectin. Since this was my first venture into the world of jam-making I followed it pretty closely.
Peel, pit, chop and mash the peaches. (I only mashed some of the peaches. I wanted some larger pieces of fruit.) I doubled the recipe, so I had 8 cups of peaches. In a pan I added 1/2 c of lime juice to the peaches and 8 t of prepared calcium water from the packet. This mixture was stirred well and brought to a boil. Meanwhile, 1 1/2 c of honey was mixed in a separate bowl with 6 t of the pectin powder. Once the fruit was boiling, I added the honey mixture and stirred vigorously for at least 2 minutes. I returned the fruit to a boil, added a sprinkling of cinnamon, and removed the fruit from the heat.
I prepared jelly jars by washing them and keeping them warm while making the jam. I also warmed up the lids in hot water. When the jam was ready, I filled the jars to ~1/4 of an inch from the top. I ensured that the rims were clean before attaching the lids and rings. All the recipes provided by Pomona’s boil in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remember to always allow the jars to fully cool and ensure that they are all sealed. Any jars that are not sealed offer an excuse to eat immediately!
All of my jars sealed completely, so I was forced to clean out the pot for my snack. Sometimes cooking is such hard work! I ended up with ten jars when I was done. At first, I thought the jam was a little runny still, but I think I was too impatient. I have now opened the first jar and I appear to have a completely thickened jam that goes really well with whole wheat flax bread in the morning. As Rachel mentioned on the phone the other day, it would also be fantastic on pancakes.
On to the next adventure. Tomorrow I will tell you about my marinated roasted red peppers that were canned this past weekend. My next project is still not clear. I am debating between making a trip to an apple orchard to then create apple butter or using my plentiful butternut squash to try my hand at squash butter. Thoughts and opinions?