Stretch summer into chilly days by preserving the last of the farmer’s market peaches in this rich jam. The dark caramel base and rosemary add earthy, malty flavors perfect for the fall.
Canning is one of those kitchen projects that’s a bit intimidating. With worries about the equipment, temperatures, amounts of thickener and the actual process, it’s no wonder that canning has such a fraughtful reputation. However, preserving homemade jams, pickles, fruits and vegetables is fairly easy and a wonderful way to enjoy your produce all year round. It’s a good idea to start with small batches(between 3-5 pounds of product) and to make sure you have all the proper tools ahead of time. You’ll need jars with lids and screw bands and a boiling water canner, which you can make by placing a rack on the bottom of a large pot. Make sure your pot is large enough to allow the jars to be covered by one-inch of water.
The last of California’s peaches are still available at a few farmers markets. This jam turns the summer fruit into a fall favorite by adding dark caramel and nutty rosemary. Be careful, as the rosemary flavor can get quite strong, so taste the jam as you make it and remove the sprigs as you prefer.
Rosemary Peach Jam, (makes 4-0.5l jars)
2 quarts of peaches, washed, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/8 inch pieces
7 cups of sugar
50g of pectin
2 springs of rosemary
boiling water canner or pot with rack
tongs or canning tongs
thick dish towel
1. Fill a large, heavy duty pot with water and place over medium-high heat to boil.
2. Place a second large, heavy duty pot over medium heat and heat for several minutes. Combine 1 cup of sugar with the pectin, mixing completely. Scale out a second cup of sugar and sprinkle enough into the pot to cover the bottom in a thin layer. Allow sugar to melt and turn a golden color and sprinkle more sugar into the syrup. Continue to add sugar, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and being careful not to let the sugar burn. When the entire cup of sugar is in the pot, cook the caramel syrup to a dark, amber color. Add the rosemary sprigs, fruit, and last five cups of sugar. This may cause the caramel to harden slightly, but it will melt back down.
3. As you cook the fruit and sugar, mash the peaches against the bottom and sides of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and slowly rain in, or sprinkle in, the pectin/sugar mixture. Remove the rosemary, and continue cooking(and mashing), bringing the jam back up to a boil. Allow to boil for five minutes, then turn off heat and let the jam sit while you prepare your jars.
4. Heat the oven to 250 Farenheit. Remove the lids from jars and place the jars in the boiling water for five minutes. Remove carefully with tongs and place on sheet tray. Place the lids and funnel in the boiling water and boil for five minutes, then remove and place on tray. Place tray in the oven to dry and keep the jars warm. This step can be done ahead of time or during the jam making process.
5. Remove half of the water from the pot and place the rack on the bottom or place the water in the boiling water canner. Carefully remove jars from the oven and, using the funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful not to overfill. Fill to just under the rim.
6. Gently screw on the lids, making sure they are secure but not too tight. Place the jars inside the pot on the rack so they are not touching. Carefully fill the pot with more water so the jars are covered by one inch of water. Do not pour water directly on top of jars, but on the sides.
7. Bring the water back up to a boil. When boiling, cover the pot and start a five minute timer. Place a towel on the sheet tray. After five minutes, use the tongs to remove the jars individually and place them on the towel-lined sheet tray. Do not allow the jars to touch. If the jars have been properly canned, the seal on the lid will be sucked in slightly and will not bounce back when pressed. If the lid is not sealed, return the jar to the canner, repeating the above process.
8. Allow the jars to cool completely at room temperature before moving. When cool, store jam in a cool, dark place. Wrap with ribbon and mark with tags for gifts or enjoy the jam on buttered toast.