Thursday, August 14, 2008

In a Jam!

My second Jam is in the making!! As I said, my newest addiction is the making of Jams. I would say other preserves but as of yet, its been just the one jam and the one being made now. So while it comes to a boil, why not start the blog, another perk to moving my computer into my kitchen!! Figuring I should make space in my freezer I opted for another Peach jam. This one is Strawberry Peach Jam. I have to say my favorite of all jams would have to be good ole strawberry. As plain as it is, I remember eating my grandma's strawberry freezer jam one summer and loving it. Now I prefer to spice it up, so was excited to find a mixed jam of 2 fantastic flavors. It's like being able to have summer all the time, I am not a summer fan really, hate that heat and stickiness...but I love the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in abundance during that time. So luckily there were still some berries at a local grocery store, and they looked pretty good too, I was quite surprised. And since today was my only day off, for yet another set of days, I thought it would be a good time to make another batch and see if I can get better at it. As good as the first one was, and as proud as I was, I know it wasn't perfect in anyway. How else to perfect what we do than to keep doing it??
The other nifty thing about this recipe is I realized that there is no added pectin in it, so its all based on the natural pectin of the fruit. I am quite excited to see how it comes out, and see if I can pull off the canner better. It also is using some brown sugar which sounds wonderfully rich to me. Water is started early, in hopes of it boiling on time and me not waiting for it ha-ha.

Strawberry Peach Jam
2 Quarts fresh strawberries, just ripe
4 cups fresh peaches (about 1 lb.)
1 lemon, juice of
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or use 1 stick and discard after)

1. Wash and hull the strawberries, then cut each in quarters.
2. Wash peaches. To peel, dunk them into boiling water, leave for 30 seconds to one minute, then immediately plunge into ice water. When peaches are cool enough to handle, remove the fuzz. Cut peaches in half and remove pit, then slice the fruit.
3. Place the strawberries and peaches into a large pot. Stir in the lemon juice. Heat the fruit over medium heat until it begins to soften ( about 10 min)
4. Mash the softened fruit and add the sugars. (If using cinnamon stick, add now.) Bring the mixture to a boil and let it continue to cook until thick, about 25-30 min.) or until it reaches 221F on candy thermometer. (of course I have no idea where mine is so gonna use the plate method..fingers crossed!) Watch your jam carefully to prevent scorching, stirring often. If you're worried or think you can smell the mixture starting to burn, turn the heat down and cook slowly until the jam tests done. Testing can be done by dipping a spoonful of the hot jam onto a china or glass plate that has been kept in the freezer. Give the jam on the plate a moment or so to cool and then see if it's gelling to your satisfaction.
5. When the jam is ready, stir in the cinnamon (unless you used the stick) and remove the pot from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then skimm off all the foam. (this will be new for me too...)
6. Ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Wipe the rims clean and adjust lids.
7. Process in a hot batch for 5 minutes. Cool completely, check seals and label. Store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.

**what I love at the moment..the smell of peaches, strawberries and cinnamon...(another reason I was excited to use the recipe..cinnamon sticks YAY!!)..the sound of my canner starting to simmer and classic 80's playing...its a great day me thinks..
So ..OMG!! I just finished putting the lids on the most amazing jam, I love it, and its just the tastes I have had from the plate test!! its freaking awesome!!
The cinnamon is just a hint and the flavors melded together great, have to get the water back up to a boil and in they go, WOOHOO!!!
Man, I could not be more prouder, I was worried but excited, and seeing and tasting it (even warm he-he) I just can't wait to make more flavors and expand the possibilities.. the Holidays this year will be wonderful!!