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How to Make Peach Jam - For Fresh Use, Canning, or Freezing
Step One - Wash and Drain the Peaches
Peach Jam, To Drive the Cold Winter Away
Of course, there are many wonderful things you can do with peaches. But if you have a whole tree full, or have bought a large box and are satiated on fresh peaches eaten out of hand, peach cobbler, peach pie, and peaches and cream, a wise step would be making jam...especially if your peaches are beginning to get soft.
Besides, there is nothing quite like peaches for serving with breakfast at the start of a mid-winter day. They are almost as good as sunshine for bringing smiles.
Equipment and Ingredients for Making Peach Jam
The equipment list is short:
- A boiling waterbath or steam canner
- Canning jars (any size), with appropriate lids
- Jar lifter
- Tongs, or magnetic lid lifter
- Kettle or sauce pot, for cooking down jam
- Ladle or large spoon, for filling jars with jam
- Canning funnel, especially if using regular-mouth (versus wide-mouth) style jars. A canning funnel has a wide mouth which fits just inside the rims of canning jars.
The ingredients list is even shorter:
- Peaches (1 quart finely chopped peaches makes about 4 pint jars of jam, or 8 half-pints)
- Sugar or other sweetener, to taste (some recipes call for almost twice as much sugar as peaches, but I think this is exorbitant)
- Lemon juice, if desired
- Spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, or allspice, if you like (tie whole spices up in a little mesh or cloth bag before putting into cooking jam)
- Pectin (optional) - 1 pouch per quart of peaches
Technically, what I made in these pictures is peach butter, which is a bit simpler than peach jam, but is ever so good on toast, or stirred into homemade yogurt, or eaten from the jar...
The reason my peaches made "butter" instead of "jam" is because I used nothing more than peaches, sugar, and a hint of spices. It is a less thick product, with a full flavor.
Step Two - Blanch the Peaches and Slip the Skins
Step Three - Cook Down the Peaches Into Jam
Whether to Freeze or to Can Your Peach Jam
At this point, you can choose to freeze your jam in freezer boxes (a quick, painless method), or you can proceed to put it up in jars. If you freeze your jam, be sure to label it clearly with the contents and date, as many frozen things look alike.
I choose jars, because, whether through hunting or private sale, our meat comes to us on the hoof, and our freezers very often are full of it. All that is required to store properly processed jars of jam is a cool shelf.
Step Four - Prepare Your Jars and Equipment
Step Five - Fill the Jars and Process in a Boiling Waterbath Canner
In Case You Have Peaches Left Over, After Making Jam
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