What might you find at the farmer’s markets these days? OMG. Anything and pretty much everything I love to eat. Berries, peaches, beautiful purple beans, leeks, tomatoes in all shapes and varities, lettuce greens, beets, purple/orange/red carrots…..etc, etc, etc. I love the way my fridge and counters are stocked these days!
The produce we are going to focus on today? Peaches! Last year I began canning fruits and vegetables in season to use later in the winter when I begin to grow tired of the squash that I am (sorta) craving right now. So last week I got out all my equipment, poured a nice glass of wine, put on a movie and began my very exciting Friday evening in of canning! Canned peach halves, pickled heirloom carrots and vanilla bean-peach jam.
Jam is one of those things that people have seemed to push to the side-purchased only in grape and strawberry flavors from the grocery store (ew). I am here to convince you to join me in my jam quest! It is so delicious spread over some warmed gluten free flatbread (conveniently you can get my recipe here), it is delicious warmed and poured over some vanilla gelato, and it makes such a lovely gift! And just an fyi- if you have made jam before you will notice this recipe does not include pectin. That is because I prefer a runny jam to a gelled jam-be forewarned! If you want this thicker you can boil it down until it reduces even further.
Now, if you are scared of the “canning” process that is ok. You can work up to it so in time you too can have a stocked pantry for winter (hells yeah!). In the meantime, if you want to skip that step all together, make a refrigerator jam! From my experience these jams stay just fine in the fridge for 7-8 months, obviously just look for fuzzy stuff toward the latter months in case the knives you’ve been putting in the jar weren’t clean. To make the refrigerator version of this simply pour the cooked jam into the jars, cool 4-5 hours on the counter, seal up and pop in the fridge.
Now, it’s nearing the end of peach season so make sure to get to your farmer’s markets early this weekend and scoop up some of these sweet beauties to make your own vanilla bean-peach jam. Trust me, it is well worth the time.
- 5 lbs. ripe peaches
- 5 cups organic cane sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and slit down each middle 2/3 the way through
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 10 1-cup canning jars with new lids, run through the dishwasher (yes, you must use new lids and you must wash them first!)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Wash the peaches and remove any bruises. Cut an shallow x in the bottom of them (this will be where you grasp to pull off the skin).
- Place a large bowl of ice water next to the pot.
- Gently lower the peaches into the pot of boiling water, leave in for 30 seconds and remove to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
- Remove peaches to a cutting board and peel the skin off, starting at the x in the bottom. **please note, if your peaches aren’t easily peeling it is because they aren’t ripe enough. It is very important to use ripe peaches!
- Cut the peeled peaches in half and remove the pit then cut them into 1” chunks and place in another pot (to be cooked in). Pour the sugar over the top, gently stir, add the slit vanilla bean halves and allow to rest one hour.
- Place another pot with water on the stove and bring to a boil.
- After one hour place the pot with the peaches on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil, stirring regularly, for about 35-45 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup. **I use a large serving fork or potato masher to help the peaches break down even more.
- Meanwhile, place the glass jars and lids into the other pot with boiling water and sterilize for about 5-6 minutes.
- Move jam pot off the heat and add the lemon juice, stir to mix in. Ladle the jam (a jamming funnel is enormously helpful here!) into the sterilized and still warm glass jars, leaving about ¼ inch of space at the neck. Seal with the lids.