Monday, September 15, 2008
last taste of summer
When someone leaves a jar of homemade peach jam on your doorstep, you know it's going to be a good day.
I was just starting to feel a little sad about the end of summer (although I'll gladly take the beautiful cooler weather we've been having) and saying goodbye to the colorful produce-laden farmers market. I know it's wrong, but I just can't motivate myself to go in the fall when there's just apples and turnips. It's so depressing and blah. Bad locavore! Bad!
And then—jam! Summer in a jar. Peaches always look all rosy and juicy from the outside, but I've had some mealy, nasty ones this season. But this jam was the essence of perfectly ripe peaches—sweet but not syrupy, with big chunks of fruit throughout. If I were a less impuslve person, I would have tucked the jar away in our cupboard and saved it for the middle of winter, when farmers market peaches seem impossibly far away. But life's short and I wanted an English muffin.
So, before all the peaches are gone until next summer, without further ado, here is my lovely neighbor Caledonia's recipe:
Caledonia's peach jam
Caledonia says her original jam recipe called for gelatin, but she didn't use it when making an earlier batch, so she skipped it again this time. Some serving suggestions: on toast (duh), on a cheese plate, to top Greek yogurt, and with pork chops.
(Makes about 4 medium-size jars)
4 large cups peeled, de-pitted, chopped peaches
Juice of 1 lemon
5 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
4 medium-size canning jars with lids
Put peaches into a large pot and add the sugar, lemon juice, and butter. Bring to a boil and stir frequently. Let boil for about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Bring another large pot of water to boil. Wash the jars and lids with soap, then sterilize them in the boiling water for five minutes. (You can do them in batches if your pot is small.) Remove from the water with tongs and set aside on a clean dishtowl, but keep the water boiling. When the jars are cool enough to touch, fill them with the jam, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top. Put the lids on tightly. Re-boil for five more minutes in the pot of water. Carefully remove the jars and let them cool before storing in the refrigerator.