So I decided to do the battle of the jams. I have been going through my new cookbook “Food in Jars” and I found a lovely peach jam that I really wanted to try. My mother just gave me a whole bunch of ripe peaches from her last excursion to the fruit stand, and I think I have enough to do both types of jams that I have recipes for.
1) Freezer Jam
My mothers grandmother got this freezer jam recipe from a neighbor in New Kensington, which is on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. Both my parents grew up there. We mostly use it to make strawberry jam. Many people have told me that her jam could be used as a currency in lieu of cash, and I’m pretty sure this jam is what got me on my in-laws good side the first time I went there for dinner. I brought a jar of the jam with me, and my now father-in-law sent it back to my now husband a week later with a note that said “Needs refilled.” I’ve also had friends who were shocked when their toddler licked the jam off his plate, but I also noticed his father do it later when he thought no one was looking! In any event, I am going to compare these two jams and see what happens!
I grew up with my mother’s freezer jam, and I had never canned jam before getting my new book.
Now- this recipe is very sweet. Most people don’t realize how much sugar goes into it. For the strawberries, this seems to work. However, I just tried it with peaches and I think that I need to increase the amount of fruit. My husband has also requested that I increase the amount of pectin so that it can be thicker.
5 cups sugar
3 cups fruit (peaches in this case, same amount for strawberries) cut and squished
1/3 cup Pectin (Dutch Gel)
7/8 Cup of water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Mix the fruit & sugar together and let sit for 20 minutes, stirring 3 times.
Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring water and lemon juice to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in Pectin. Pour Pectin mixture into fruit mixture and refrigerate overnight. Freeze! (We use peanut butter jars.)
I will post the results tomorrow!
2) Peach Jam!!
This is the recipe I followed when I canned my jam. I did alter it in one way, which was to add a pinch of the spice Mace while I was mixing up the peaches. While it tasted really awesome, it put me in mind more of peach pie filling with the spices. I was really hoping for a more simple, solid peach flavor for those dreary winter days. It had a great consistency compared to my freezer jam attempt.
1) For the freezer jam, next time I believe I am going to add more fruit, increase the lemon juice, and see how that affects the taste and consistency. The recipe seems fine for strawberries, but feels like it could use less sugar/more fruit for peaches.
2) For the canned jam recipe- I think I will try the authors suggestion of vanilla next, or maybe omit the spices entirely!