Tuesday, August 21, 2012


 After spending 2 weeks in the mid-west eating restaurant food I am so glad to be home; today I headed down to Specialty Produce and picked up fresh vegetables, and decided it was time to make some jam.  Everyone, it seems, is making jam this summer, and I didn't want to be left behind.  I'd planned on making peach, but when I got to SP, I bought an entire flat of blackberries, and a box of peacotums (a hybrid peach/apricot/plum) from Fitzgerald farms.  Fitzgerald farms has some of the most awesome stone fruit I've ever tasted, and I think this jam will be amazing!

I began with the blackberries, and cooked them down with sugar, and Meyer lemon juice from our lemon tree.  I did add pectin, since it does help jam set up and I got the most gorgeous jewel-like jam in the course of 30 minutes.  I did cook them in a water bath to preserve them, and I will probably be giving them away to friends.
Crush the berries with a potato masher, or run in the food processor
Remove the foam that forms on the top of the bubbling jam.

The peacotums need to be peeled, so I started on them next.

 Once peeled, they need to be pitted and chopped; some are so ripe that they literally fall apart.

Bring to a boil, add sugar and the juice of one lemon---I used about 3 cups for 10 cups of fruit
I added about 2 tablespoons of vanilla paste as an experiment

Once the jam has reached 220 degrees on a candy thermometer it is set
Once put into sterilized jars, add to a boiling water bath--this is my pressure cooker with the steamer basket inserted--you need 2 inches of water above the rim of the jars

If you are canning the jam, you want the lids to be flat, not rounded when they are removed from the water bath.  They may actually make a  pop when the jar is taken out of the boiling water.  Cool to room temperature and store in a cool dark place, like a pantry. If you are at the farmer's market this weekend, or at Specialty Produce, think about making your own jam; there are lots of great websites with recipes and techniques, this is very satisfying work and the end result is great gifts from your kitchen. 

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