This summer has seen a lot of firsts: first race run, first time learning how to ride (and then buying) a motorcycle, and first time making and canning jam.
I had dabbled with canning tomatoes, but had never ventured into jamming territory. I had always heard how tricky and messing canning jam was, and I seriously think that those people are doing it wrong- it has been easy AND liberating. Putting up some small-batch jam with whatever I find at the farmer’s market is now one of my favorites ways to start a weekend!
Although there’s a lotta flavor going on in these preserves, this is a pretty straightforward recipe and a good “starter” if you’re unfamiliar to making preserves and jams.
I’m not sure of the subtle nuances between jams and preserves, but I left mine a little looser than your typical jam. However, I did take an immersion blender to the pot to smooth it out a bit, so it’s not quite a “preserve,” either. Either way, it’s delicious on toast and I’m thinking that it’s going to be a killer pastry filling and ice cream topping this winter!
3 pounds of ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup bourbon (or a bit more if you like!)
Place a small plate in the freezer. In a Dutch oven or preserving pan, combine peaches, sugar, and water. Stir, cover pan, and set on burner set at low for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, split and scrape clean your vanilla bean. Add the vanilla bean seeds and entire pod to the pan. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat and keep at a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to “pulse,” and pulverize about half of the fruit.
Put pan back on medium and stir in lemon juice. Return preserves to a simmer, stirring frequently now. As the mixture thickens and coats your spoon, pour in the bourbon. Bring it back up to a simmer and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes. Once the preserves have thickened up again, use a spoon to put a small amount on the plate in the freezer and return it to the freezer for one minute. This is the freezer test- you can do this multiple times. If the preserves aren’t as thick as you’d like, keep simmering and stirring. When it’s as thick as you want, remove from heat.
Store in clean jars in the fridge or process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
You can add up to 1/2 cup of any kind of liqueur, according to Helene at Tartelette. If I recall, she also suggested Grand Marnier?
The original yield was 6 to 8 cups, but I got 5 cups (1 cup to each half-pint jar) plus a bit extra to dab on toast. I assume my yield was a bit lower because of the pureeing.