Thursday, September 1, 2011
Every summer, I wait patiently for the summer peaches to arrive at market. I slice and freeze a bunch for winter galettes, preserve halves in light syrup or make a peach butter and then there's jam. Glorious peach jam! Peaches have become one of those fruits that is nearly always available, but they are only this delicious in the month of and August in our neck of the woods. You know the ones I mean--the kind that when you first bite into them, those scrumptious juices drip down onto your chin. Those mealy, impenetrable fruits that you pay a small fortune for during the winter just can’t possibly compare.
Of all the jams and jellies I put up each summer, peach jam is right up there at the top of my list. I like to flavor mine with Amaretto and nutmeg and enjoy it served over muffins, as a filling in my torte cakes, Christmas thumbprint cookies, over biscuits or just from the spoon. Last week when I finished making my last batch, I had run out of canning jars, so had some jam left over and as I was making yet another zucchini bread also that morning, I decided to add it into my batter. What a delicious surprise!
This weekend will probably be the last week I'll be able to get fresh peaches here, so I'm going to try a habanero peach jelly. So if you want to put some summer into a jar, head off to your local farmer's market and pick up some wonderful fresh peaches before it's too late.
Amaretto Peach Jam
5 cups of peaches, unpeeled and chopped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup wildflower honey
1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 packets Certo liquid pectin
1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur
Fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to a light boil.. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat in order to soften the sealing compound.
Add peaches,sugar and honey to a large, non-reactive pot. Stir so that the peaches begin to release their juice and mingle with the sugar. Bring to a boil and add the nutmeg, lemon zest,juice and butter and let jam continue to cook for about ten minutes. If the fruit hasn’t broken down much after that time is up, use a potato masher or immersion blender to break down the chunks. Add Certo and liqueur and bring to a rolling boil for a full five minutes.
Turn off the heat under the jam, skim any foam off and fill jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 10 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter under a tea towel. This recipe makes approximately 5-6 half pint jars. Enjoy!