September 19, 2012 § 3 Comments
Where did the summer go? Somehow it’s week 13 of the CSA, and everyone is going back to school, and this afternoon I actually put on a sweater and made a mug of tea. I don’t like it. (Well, I love tea, but it’s the principle of the thing.) So I am holding on to summer as long as I can, and I hereby declare it is not fall… it’s harvest season.
Peach Sage Jam
scaled-down (three half-pint yield) and adapted from the Peach Rosemary Jam recipe from Mes Confitures, courtesy of the Star Tribune
3 pounds peaches = 2.25 pounds peeled and pitted –> 2 pounds total, 1.5 pounds peeled and pitted
4 cups sugar –> 2 2/3 cups
2 T lemon juice –> 1 T plus 1 t
a large sprig of sage
- Wash and peel the peaches… Supposedly you can score the peels, dip them in boiling water for a minute, then in cold water, and then they “slide right off.” I wimped out and used my vegetable peeler, which was just fine for this few peaches.
- Chop the peaches into 1/4 inch cubes.
- Bring the peaches, lemon juice, and sugar just to a simmer over medium heat.
- Pour into a ceramic or glass bowl, and add the sage sprig.
- Macerate for four hours at room temperature or till tomorrow in the fridge.
- Drain and reserve the liquid from the solids. Bring the liquid to a boil then continue boiling until a candy thermometer registers 221 degrees. It will thicken and the color will deepen. Skim intermittently.
- Add back the solids (I took out the sage at this point, but keep it in longer for even stronger flavor.) Bring back to a boil for about five minutes, and then start testing the set using the chilled plate test (a channel dragged through a cooled drop of jam should not run back together).
- Ladle into jars with 1/4 inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes.
Peachy Simple Syrup
And because I can’t let a good thing go to waste, I used the leftover peach peels and pits to make a peachy simple syrup – apparently industrious canners used them for peach peel and pit jelly back in the day. I did it pretty much the same way I made my sage flower simple syrup (which is half way to sage flower jelly).
- Take all those beautiful peels (and less-beautiful pits) and add water to cover.
- Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Add a splash of lemon juice – maybe about half a teaspoon of lemon juice per cup of water (this is very approximate).
- Let steep for about half an hour.
- Strain through a strainer, cheesecloth, teabag, or whatever you’ve got. Squeeze to get all the juices out.
- Measure out your volume of water, and add an equal volume of sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Keep in the fridge, or water bath process for 10 minutes. It’s that simple!
Hmm… peachy simple syrup, Amaretto, and vanilla seltzer, anyone? That is officially called “The Science Nerd” because I came up with it when I remembered that they actually use compounds derived from peach or cherry pits to make natural almond flavoring… This one is just a Peachy Martini:
(Sorry about the blurry picture – and that was pre-martini! – but I had to show off my “new” cocktail set: set of probably-’70s cocktail glasses I adopted from my parents’ basement, and an early 1950s shaker I was obsessing about on eBay)
Anybody out there made peach peel and pit jelly? Anybody not even bother to peel their peaches and live to tell the tale? Anybody with more jamming experience than me know how to keep the fruit from floating to the top?