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Peach Jam

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Peach Jam
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Makes: 1 servings adjust
Making and canning your own Apricot, Peach, Plum or Nectarine jam it is so easy. I'll discuss apricots below, but you can substitute peaches, plums or nectarines! This example shows you how to make jam from stone fruits! The yield from this recipe is about 10 eight-ounce jars (which is the same as 5 pints). You can make any one, or mix fruit. Some people seem to like apricot-pineapple or peach-pineapple combinations, also. (crush the pineapple)

Directions

Ingredients

  • 3 12 pounds Peach

Step 1

Step 1 - Pick the Apricots! (or buy them already picked) It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones! You may use frozen Apricots (those without syrup or added sugar); which is especially useful if you want to make some jam in December to give away at Christmas
 

Step 2

Step 2 - How much fruit? Jam can ONLY be made in rather small batches - about 6 cups at a time - like the directions on the pectin say, DO NOT increase the recipes or the jam won't "set" (jell, thicken). It takes about 8 cups of raw, unprepared Apricots per batch.
 

Step 3

Step 3 - Wash the jars and lids Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used. NOTE: If unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 5 more minutes. However, since this additional processing can result in a poor set (runny jam), it’s better to sanitize the jars. Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam. Lids: put the lids into a pan of boiling water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids. I just leave them in there, with the heat on very low, until I need them!
 

Step 4

Step 4 -Wash the fruit and sort! I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in a colander of plain cold water. Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy fruit. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the fruit as they float. With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy fruit get caught in your fingers. Then just drain off the water!
 

Step 5

Step 5 - Peeling the Apricots Peaches, plums and nectarines should be peeled, as their skins are thick or fuzzy. Apricots have such thin skins, you really don't need to peel them. For those you want to peel, here's a great trick that works with many fruits and vegetables with skins (like tomatoes): just dip the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl or pot of cold water and ice. The skins will easily slide off now!
 

Step 6

Step 6 - Cut up the apricots Cut out any brown spots and mushy areas. Cut the apricots in half, or quarters or slices, as you prefer! Remove pits!

Ingredients

  • 14 cup Lemon Juice

Step 7

Step 7 - Prevent the fruit from darkening! Now, to keep the fruit from turning brown, when you get a bowlful, sprinkle 1/4 cup lemon juice or Fruit-Fresh (which is just a mix of citric acid and vitamin C, perfectly natural). Then stir the apricots to make sure all the surfaces have been coated.
 

Step 8

Step 8 - Measure out the sweetener Depending upon which type of jam you're making (sugar, no-sugar, Splenda, mix of sugar and Splenda or fruit juice) you will need to use a different amount of sugar and type of pectin. The precise measurements are found in directions inside each and every box of pectin sold (every brand, Ball, Kerr, Mrs. Wages, etc. has directions inside).Type of jam Type of pectin to buy Sweetener regular no-sugar or regular 7 cups of sugar low sugar no-sugar 4.5 cups of sugar lower sugar no-sugar 2 cups sugar and 2 cups of Splenda no sugar no-sugar 4 cups of Splenda natural no-sugar 3 cups fruit juice (grape, peach, apple or mixed)

Ingredients

  • 14 cup Sugar
  • 1 package No-Sugar Pectin

Step 9

Step 9 - Mix the dry pectin with about 1/4 cup of sugar or other sweetener Keep this separate from the rest of the sugar. If you are not using sugar, you'll just have to stir more vigorously to prevent the pectin from clumping. Notes about pectin: I usually add about 20% more pectin (just open another pack and add a little) or else the jam is runnier than I like. With a little practice, you'll find out exactly how much pectin to get the thickness you like.
 

Step 10

Step 10 - Mix the Apricots with the pectin and cook to a full boil Stir the pectin into the Apricots and put the mix in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning). It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get it to a full boil (the kind that can not be stirred away).

Ingredients

  • 4 14 cups Sugar

Step 11

Step 11 - Add the remaining sugar and bring to a boil When the berry-pectin mix has reached a full boil, add the rest of the sugar (about 4 cups of sugar per 6 cup batch of Apricots) or other sweetener, and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
 

Step 12

Step 12 - Testing for "jell" (thickness) I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jam is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/s to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.
 

Step 13

Step 13 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put them into the boiling water canner! This is where the jar tongs and lid lifter come in really handy!
 

Step 14

Step 14 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 5 minutes. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them. The directions inside every box of pectin will tell you exactly. The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative. Clemson University says you only need to process them for 5 minutes. I usually hedge my bets and start pulling them out after 7 minutes, and the last jars were probably in for 10. I rarely have a jar spoil, so it must work. Note: Some people don't even boil the jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them, but putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage! To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the jam and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!
 

Step 15

Step 15 - Remove and cool the jars - Done! Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months. But after about 6 to 8 months, they get darker in color and start to get runny. They still are safe to eat, but the flavor and texture aren't as good. So eat them in the first 6 months after you prepare them!
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