Friday, September 6, 2013
GGFF: Peach-Vanilla Bean Jam
You guys. You.Guys. YOU. GUYS. This is a revelation. I'm officially a convert. I made homemade jam, and I canned it, and it took waaaaaay longer than I thought it would, but it was also easier than I thought it would be, and ohmygoshittastessodamngoodiwillnotsharewithanyofyousorrynotsorry.
I know I can get a bit....ahem....over-dramatic at times, but this is totally for your own good. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you. I don't know anything about science and I know very little about food prep and safety beyond, "Don't use the same knife you just used to cut your raw chicken to now cut your lettuce in half, unless you like food poisoning." But once I got over my initial fears and gave it a shot, I'm basically hooked.
It's great for my husband that all my addictions have to do with food.
Now that my first steps into canning are behind me, I feel a lot more confident about the whole process. I can definitely see this being a fun project for me on weekends, especially when I start thinking about Christmas gifts and such. This particular jam is a great way to store up some of those summer peaches and have a little fun at the same time. It's the perfect blend of fruit and vanilla. See those little black specks in the jar? Those are vanilla beans that for some reason clumped together during the canning process. Whatever. I'll stir it up before we enjoy it. If clumped vanilla is my biggest problem, I'm calling it a win.
Peach-Vanilla Bean Jam
(As seen on Cook Like A Champion & Smells Like Home, originally from Tartelette)
3 lbs. ripe peaches, peeled*, pitted, and roughly chopped
3 1/2 c. sugar
1-2 vanilla beans, halved, seeded, and scraped
Juice of 1 lemon
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients (including the vanilla bean pods and seeds!) over medium heat. As the sugar melts, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat down to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 90 minutes, until fruit has caramelized and is dark orange in color. Remove the vanilla pods.
While jam is cooking down, prepare a water bath canner.**
In a large canning pot, sterilize your jars in barely simmering water, 180* F, for at least 10 minutes. In a smaller pan, sterilize your jar lids (just the flat lids, no rings) in barely simmering water at 180* F., for a minimum of 10 minutes.
When your jam has cooked down and your jars and lids are ready, one by one, remove jars and lids from water. Fill jars, leaving 1/4 in. head space at the top of the jars. Place on the lids and seal with the rings. Wipe the exterior clean with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and return to jar rack in canning pot. Continue filling jars until all the jam has been added to sterilized jars.
Raise heat to high, lower the rack into the hot water, and put the lid on your pot. Bring to a rolling boil and boil the jars for 10-15 minutes.*** One by one, remove jars from the pot and move to a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface. You should hear a "ping" or a pop shortly after removing the jars from the water; this means your lids are forming a seal on the jar. Wipe the exterior clean if necessary and then DO NOT TOUCH THEM FOR 12-24 HOURS AFTER CANNING. Go watch a movie or something.
After 12-24 hours (I did 24, juuuuuuust to be safe), check your jars. Remove the ring and press down on the lid. If it cannot be flexed and doesn't give to pressure, a proper seal has formed and your jars have been safely preserved. To double-check, remove the ring from your jar and try to slide your fingernail under the jar lid. If you can move it or slide your finger inside AT ALL, your jars have not safely been preserved and should be eaten within a few days.
If you have a proper seal, congrats! Woo hoo! Happy dance! Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.