If you read yesterdays post then you know we went to the farmers market and had a lovely day. One of our goals was to find some delicious fruit and try our hand at jam. We don’t eat a whole lot of fruit preserves in this house; but, when the idea of saving seasonal local fruit for the winter came into play we got inspired to give it a try.
We set out hoping to buy a surplus of something cheap that looked delicious! What we got were 8 pounds of bruised peaches for $5. Mission accomplished.
When we got home we realized we had some oranges kicking around that we had bought as hurricane survival food, so as we scoured the internet for jam recipes, we knew that we wanted to try to incorporate oranges. Unfortunately, the recipe for Peach Jam with Rosemary and Pepper was too intriguing to pass up, so we decided to make it in addition to the Orange Peach Preserves recipe we found here. We ran to the garden to harvest some rosemary. Then, we chopped the ingredients for both recipes and put them in the bowls to macerate for four hours while we mused about jelly. . .I mean jam. . .I mean. . .
If you find yourself asking about the difference between jam, jelly, preserves, and conserves you are in good company. We found the answers here at Jam World (I couldn’t be making this up!). The way I now think of it is from smoothest to chunkiest you have jelly, jam, preserves, and then conserves. Each layer up adds more chunks to the sweet mixture. Either way the concept is the same- fruit, sugar, acid, and (sometimes) pectin are heated until they thicken. Easy. Right?
NOT EASY. Especially when in typical gardenfreude fashion, we decided to do two batches of two recipes simultaneously and to can 13 jars of jam in one shot. We learned some things:
- The pressure canner takes forever to boil our water bath- it needs to start long before you want to can.
- Boiling water is hot and the jar lifter does not easily reach the jam jars in the bottom of our canner, so mugs for bailing water and an extra soup pot would help.
- Adding pectin would have given us a better set
- Jam that doesn’t set can either be re-cooked and re-canned re-named. Call it sauce.
At the end of it all we have 13 jars of delicious shelf sturdy summer peaches that we will either place on ice cream, or other dessert pursuits. I have already tried it on top of these vegan black bean brownies, and they take them from good to heavenly!