Just Peachy

It’s peach season, when the payoff for hot days is the sweetness of the fuzzy fruit. As I walked into work today, I could smell the peaches in the produce department from across the store, telling me that it’s time to make jam.

My favorite creation from last year was Peach Vanilla Bean Jam. It was an interpretation of a recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and another from Smells Like Home. I’ll include the recipe for my jam as well as including the measurements for a smaller batch.

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam
Makes 18 pints (or 4+ pints)

15 pounds peaches, blanched, skinned, and pitted (3 pounds)

1 ¼ cups lemon juice (1/4 cup)

2 packages Pomona’s Universal Pectin (1/2 package)

6 vanilla beans, cut open (1-2 beans)

20 cups evaporated cane sugar (4 cups)

Sterilize jars in boiling water, 10 minutes for sea level. Add a minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level. For instance, we live at 3600 Ft., so I sterilized the jars for 14 minutes.

Place peaches in a food processor and mix until peaches are crushed or crush by hand.  Put crushed peaches in a very large pot, add lemon juice and pectin, and stir well. Place on high heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a full boil. Add vanilla pods. Add sugar and heat again to a full boil, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute more, remove from heat, skim if needed, remove vanilla pods, and spoon jam into hot jars using a ladle and wide mouth funnel. Leave ¼ inch of headspace.

Screw on both pieces of the lid and process in a boiling water canner. Process for five minutes at sea level to 1,000 Ft., ten minutes for 1,001 to 6,000 Ft., and 15 minutes above 6,000 Ft.

Remove jars using a pair of canning tongs. Place jars on a towel on the counter and let sit until cool. As jam cools, the sound of the lids sealing will occur, and it sounds so cool!

This jam is a dream for anyone with a sweet tooth. It’s amazing on vanilla ice cream as well as on English muffins, pancakes, or anywhere else you can imagine jam hanging out. It’s also pretty awesome spooned straight from the jar. This creation was also the most popular Christmas gift I’ve ever given out. After doling out jars to friends and family, we were lucky that we had one left for us.

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