Many people have quite a romantic idea of jam cooking: a neatly dressed lady with a red dotted apron who is super organized. That picture is lovely but that’s really not me. Don´t get me wrong, I like to cook jam and I do it several times a year. However, I have to admit I rather look a bit confused than neat.
And actually, most of the time it is more of a spontaneous project. Kind of like this: I recognize on a Tuesday that the peach season will be over soon. So, I run to the farmer’s market on Wednesday morning before my shift and try to find as many of these wonderful stone fruits as I can get. In the evening, after I’ve finished work and training, I drive home with tons of peaches (figuratively) and place them in the middle of the kitchen. On the next day, I put them into the fridge, worried that they will be foul before I can use them. Of course, my plan is to cook the jam in the evening but I have to admit, I usually don’t do that.
On Saturday, finally, the peaches are due. After I have asked myself extensively why I rushed myself on Wednesday instead of buying the peaches stressfree on the first day of the weekend, I start my jam action.
As I’ve already mentioned, there is no visual connection between me and the romantic image of the neat jam-lady. I am generally not a super chic type. My preferred style for the kitchen is my favorite, ripped jeans, a blue-and-white striped shirt and a hairstyle that does not even deserve the name messy bun. My somewhat casual appearance, however, deceives: I am a very organized chef. I am so organized that I put away cutting boards and knives, although my co-chefs have only interrupted their activity, and have not finished it. That drives my husband nuts all the time. Excuse me my dear, I’m trying to improve myself.
In spite of my spontaneity, my rush and my clothes, I manage to produce a bunch of jars full of sweet fruit spread every year. It really is a lot of fun and home-made jam is always a great gift for friends. So, do not hesitate to try my recipe for a wonderful peach jam yourself. Everybody can do it, whether you’re a chaos-chef, an organizing addict or a lastminute decision maker. And the best thing is, you’ll have the storage full of delicious jam that will put a bit of summer on the table all year round.
- 2,5 lb fresh, ripe peaches, unpeeled
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 8 tsp fruit pectin
- 1 lemon
- 5 - 6 glass canning jars (8 oz)
- Step 1 Start with the sterilizing process of the jam jars. This is super important, otherwise everything will turn bad quickly and you have gone through all the trouble for nothing. Take a large pot and place the jars and lids in it. Fill in enough water to cover the glasses completely. Put it on very high heat and as soon as it starts boiling give it 10 more minutes. After that, take out the jars with a kitchen tong (Caution: hot!). Let them dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Step 2 In the meantime, you can measure the sugar. Take one cup and mix it with the fruit pectin. Peel and cut the peaches in small cubes (about 0,5” x 0,5”). Squeeze the lemon and mix the juice with the peach cubes in a large, high pot. The lemon juice prevents the jam from oxidizing, which in return keeps the colors neat, and the acid balances the flavors which makes the taste pleasant.
- Step 3 Add the sugar-pectin mixture to the peaches, put it onto the stove and boil it. It’s important to use a high pot because the hot jam actually splashes. Please be really careful! Add the remaining sugar and let it boil again for about 5 minutes.
- Step 4 Take the jam from the stove and mix it. That is optional. I don’t like any solid pieces in my jam so that’s why I put the freshly cooked jam in a blender. If you don’t mind pieces or if you even like them, leave the jam the way it is. Once you’ve mixed it, put it back and boil it a bit longer.
- Step 5 Now things are getting serious. You have to perform what I would call the jelly test. I’m not sure if that’s the right word (or even an actual word, but hey). In Germany we say “Gelierprobe” and jelly test might be a nice translation for that. The goal is to check if your jam has the right jam-like consistency. So, here’s how you do that test: Take a plate, preferably a cold one and put some jam on it. If the jam is ready it’ll jelly in about 20 to 30 seconds. If the jam is still too liquid just boil the whole thing a bit further and repeat the jelly test until the result is pleasing.
- Step 6 If you are satisfied with taste and texture, fill the jam in the prepared jars and close them immediately. The jars should rest on the lid for about 5 minutes and then cool down in a completely upright position.
- Step 7 To pimp the jars design some pretty labels (labeling is very useful, pretty is very optional) and store your lovely home-made jam in the dark. If you just can’t resist to harvest the fruits of your work go ahead and eat it directly or give it to friends and enjoy the smile on their face. After all, isn’t happiness doubled when shared?