I think I love peaches almost as much as I love strawberries. Last summer Timothy also discovered a passion for peaches, so much much so that he grabbed one out of Simon’s hand and started eating it whole. I was terrified of him choking so I had always cut up his fruit, including grapes, into little pieces. He was so adamant that he be allowed to eat the peach that he was brought to tears when we took it away. We realized that he wouldn’t be able to bite off large pieces so we gave it back to him and then I photographed the carnage he wrought on the peach and his shirt. It was pretty awesome and he was so happy with the mess.
I have discovered yet another amazing source for local food here in Waterloo Region. Mary Jane and Jan Petter pick up fruit from Palantine Fruit and Roses in Niagara and through their online ordering system (ThePetters.com), you just put place your order and pick it up on the specified day. I ordered a full box of peaches which was quite ambitious of me. I plan on ordering another one soon though since we are almost done the first box.
I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about this jam. Worry number one was that the loose leaf tea would be bitter. Worry number two was that the tea would discolour the jam by making it murky brown. Worry number three was that I put too much sugar in the jam. All three were dispelled when I tasted the finished product. This recipe was inspired by one that I saw on Bonappetit.com for a rather poncy titled jam - Lord Grey’s Peach Preserves. A little pretentious sounding since they just threw in some tea bags to jam but Bon Appetit isn’t exactly known for being a down-to-earth recipe magazine. Regardless of the fancy-pants aspect of this jam, it was a good idea so I ran with it. I used good quality loose leaf tea purchased from my favourite tea shop in Barrie, Hamley’s Tea and Coffee.
I peeled the peaches for this recipe which turned out to be pretty easy. Just cut an X in the bottom of the peach (not stem side), plunge it into boiling water for about a minute or until you see the skin where you cut the X start to come away slightly. Remove it from the boiling water and put it in an ice water bath; this will stop the cooking immediately and you should be able to peel the skin of very easily. The peaches were pretty slimy after I peeled the skin off so be careful cutting them up. I tried to cut them in half to take the pit out but they were too slippery so I just cut around the pit. I chopped my peaches but if you want a less chunky jam then you could put them in the food processor so that you get smaller bits.
I reduced the amount of sugar suggested in the Bon Appetit recipe and substituted some honey for some sugar as well. I am still a coward regarding making jam without pectin so I used Certo (Sure-Jell in the U.S.) as usual. This recipe made 5 half pint (250 ml) jars.
- 7 cups peeled, chopped fresh peaches (approx. nine medium peaches)
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup honey
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp loose leaf Earl Grey Tea
- 1 pkg crystalized pectin
- Wash and sterilize jars, lids, and tools. Keep the jars warm so they are ready for the hot jam. Boil the lids only 5-10 minutes just before you are ready to use them so that the seal part is soft.
- Peel and chop the peaches.
- Pour the measured, chopped peaches into a large heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot along with the sugar, honey, lemon juice and pectin.
- Bring it to a boil and then add the loose leaf tea.
- The jam will heat on the stove for almost 30 minutes – boiling for close to 20 minutes. When the jam has been heating on the stove for 30 minutes, ladle it into sterilized mason jars.
- Wipe the rims of the jars if you splattered a bit and place the heated lids on the jars. Put the rings on the jars and tighten – but do not too tight.
- Process in a canning pot with a rack in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Remove from boiling water after 10 minutes and place them on a cooling rack. Leave them alone for 24 hours. After that, press the centre of the lids to check to make sure it sealed. If the jars are sealed, store them in a cool, dry place. If they did not seal then pop them in the fridge and enjoy them sooner rather than later.
August 11, 2011