Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Jams: Peach and Rosemary, Strawberry-Kiwi-Ginger

Jams and jellies are easier to make than you think. And, in the dead of winter, they are incredibly wonderful to have on hand. They make wonderful Christmas gifts and, trust me, people will be grateful.

Canning really is not difficult. Be sure your kitchen is clean and have everything in order and ready to go. I always keep a sink of sudsy warm water with a cap or two of bleach added for wiping things up during the process.

I keep my jars in a warm water bath until ready to use. The same for the bands and lids. Have clean towels ready to place the filled jars on after they come out of the water bath. It pays to invest in a canning pot, funnel and tongs.

These are two of my favorite jams. So many store-bought jams are now made with corn syrup. It’s cheaper than sugar, but just not the same. Ironically, the sugar is healthier for you.

Peach and Rosemary Jam

My peach display at the grocery store.

One thing I miss about living in Michigan is the incredible fresh fruit and vegetables. People don't realize it, but southwest Michigan along the lakeshore produces some of the most sought-after peaches: Redhavens, which were developed by Michigan State University. Redhavens were the first red-skinned, commercial peach variety and it is now the most widely planted, freestone peach variety in the world!

Here at the grocery store, I often put out as many as seven boxes of yellow peaches in one day! And while I live in the South now, the California peaches we are getting are just incredible. 

When I first made this jam and gave it to friends, they all returned with "RECIPE, PLEASE!" 

The addition of lime (not lemon) and rosemary give a subtle balance to the peaches for a wonderfully nuanced jam. Try to use fresh rosemary as opposed to supermarket rosemary. The fresher it is, the less the needles will fall off during cooking. Also, fresh has more oil. Sometimes, I put the cut pieces of peaches in the fridge the night before with a sprig of rosemary that I have lightly crushed with a rolling pin before proceeding with the recipe.

Slathered over a fresh-buttered biscuit in the dead of winter? Oh, yea!

  • At least six 1/2-pint jars ... depends on peaches
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 (1.75-ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
  • 5 cups sugar

Bring first five ingredients to a full rolling boil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Add sugar to peach mixture and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Remove and discard rosemary sprigs. Skim off any foam.

Pour hot mixture immediately into hot, sterilized jars, fill to 1/4 inch from top. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rims with clean cloth. Cover at once with metal lids and screw bands.

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Strawberry-Kiwi-Ginger Jam

Strawberry-Kiwi-Ginger jam on toasted, homemade bread. Oh,
the joys of simple pleasures!

Strawberries are now available year round. Just amazing when you think about it. If I don't have peak-of-the-season fresh berries, I purchase organic strawberries--which are unusually incredible. Even the green ones are good!

  • About six 1/2-pint jars
  • 3 cups crushed strawberries
  • 3 kiwi, peeled. Diced or smashed.
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
  • 1 (3 oz.) package pectin
  • 5 cups sugar

Combine strawberries, kiwi, lemon juice, ginger and pectin in a large saucepan. Bring to a full boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar and return to a full rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred down), stirring constantly.

Boil hard for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove. Place upside down on several thicknesses of dishtowels. When cool enough to handle, place right-side up.

Store in a cool, dry place.

This is unusually good spooned over sliced bananas!