Just Peachy Jam

makes 2 1/2 pints

Music Pairing: Jammin’ by Bob Marley

I must confess, I skip the hot water method when making this jam, and simply turn my jars upside down after filling and tightening the tops. The heat from the hot jam is enough to create an airtight seal (that popping sound is music to my ears), and the amount of sugar is enough to keep it safe, too. That is how my friend’s French mother has been making her jam for years, and so far no one has perished. Once opened, though, it does need to be stored in the fridge to keep it from spoiling. If you prefer to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s”, please do go ahead and process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

2 1/2 pounds (1 1/8 kilos) very ripe peaches (about 9 peaches), peeled, pitted & chopped

2 pounds (1 kilo) granulated natural cane sugar

Freshly juice of 1 plump lemon

Place a small dish in the freezer. You will need this to test the jam for doneness.

Add the peaches, sugar and lemon juice to a deep stock pot. It’ll look lost in the pot, but you’ll need the space when it comes to a boil, trust me.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, over high heat. Use a wide spoon to skim the foam from the top. Don’t skip this step, or you’ll end up with a cloudy jam. It’s worth the extra minute or two of your time, I promise.

Once you’re done skimming the foam off, reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer (with bubbles constantly popping to the surface). Let the jam continue to cook until reduced by half, and thickened enough that it generously coats the back of a wooden spoon. At this point, you can start testing your jam for doneness. Remove the dish from the freezer, and drizzle a small amount on the plate. Tilt the plate sideways, and if it holds in place without being too runny, then it’s ready. The consistency will still be thin. Don’t worry it will thicken, and set up into a gel, as it cools.

Spoon the hot jam into clean, sterilized jars. Let cool completely before using.

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