I made and canned peach jam last week. My kitchen is still recovering from the mess I made. I’m finding little globs of stickiness everywhere.
I got the peaches at the Nashville Farmer’s Market downtown. I have to say that I was not overly impressed. I went mainly for peaches and beans. The peaches were not bad, but they were no Georgia peaches. As for the beans, I was searching for speckled limas and partridge heads, but all of the bins were marked only “pole beans.” When I asked which types of pole beans were in the bins, I received blank stares and shoulder shrugs. Ok then.
So, needless to say, my trip to the farmer’s market was not terribly fruitful. Ha.
When I got home, I assembled all of the things I would need to make jam. I’d never made anything except freezer jam before so this canning thing was a first. I had purchased the few necessary items for canning several years back but had yet to give it a go.
Have I mentioned I’m very on top of things?
First order of business: figure out how to can.
I thought I would have someone teach me how to can. Turns out no one in my family really cans anymore so I was left to my own devices. I have a book on canning so I started my adventure with a little bit of light reading.
My peaches weren’t super ripe yet so I set them out on a plate and put that plate on my deck. Normally, I would have put them in a paper bag on my deck, but I was fresh out of paper bags. Thankfully, Gus was there to keep an eye on the peaches for me.
While the peaches were ripening (in my mind, at least), I pulled out my canner and the jars. The jars went into the Jacuzzi and then the jar lids into another pot to be sterilized. I assembled my jar clamps, some tongs, a baking sheet to rest the jars on as I filled them, a funnel, pectin, lemons, sugar, the recipes, and some courage.
With the jars and lids heating up, I peeled and chopped up the peaches and then poured them into the pot with the lemon juice. Then I stirred in the pectin.
And finally, I stirred in the sugar. FIVE cups of it. After realizing what goes into jam, I’m not sure I want to eat jam.
But my guess is that I will eat it and enjoy it thoroughly, forgetting how many cups of sugar I’m inhaling on a biscuit.
There’s a lot of stirring that goes on at this stage until the mixture comes to a hard boil. After about 1 minute of this, you turn it off and it’s ready to be jarred!
I didn’t get a picture of the transferring of the jam to the jars using the funnel. It’s a very messy job and should be done fairly quickly to make sure everything stays hot. My camera would be covered in goop and my jam would have been cold if I had tried to document that part. Maybe I’ll hire an assistant next time.
After I got all of the jam transferred to the hot jars that I pulled out of the water bath with my jar clamps (it took me a minute or 10 to get the hang of these), I fished out the jar tops from the other pot using regular tongs and placed them on the jars. Then I put on the screw tops (but just until I met resistance!). It’s important that these aren’t too tight. Something about making sure the jars seal properly. Kind of critical.
Then it was bath time again! I put the lid on the canner and brought the water up to a simmer and let it go for 10 minutes to ensure that the jars sealed. At this point the canning process wass almost complete.
Then, I just took the jars out (expertly with my jar clamps pictured here) and rested them on a baking sheet on the counter, covered with a tea towel. I left them there for 24 hours as they finished sealing, indicated by a popping sound. Every 30 minutes or so, one of the jars would pop and Gus and Scarlett would nearly jump out of their skins. I guess they’ve never canned anything before. Gus has only experienced the un-canning of his salmon morsels.
Although I was somewhat skeptical of my handywork, all of my jars sealed tightly. Those lids don’t budge. I screwed the tops on all the way and then triumphantly labeled and photographed my jars. I need to give most of them away because I certainly don’t need to eat all of that jam myself unless I want to be in dentures by the time I’m 30.
Pleased with myself, I went back into the kitchen to get a snack. I lost my appetite when I realized what a mess I had made in the canning process. And then I was not so pleased with myself.
That jam better be pretty darn good.
Y’all come back,
YUM! Whenever I’m in the US I pig out on peach jam as it isn’t the normal thing to make peach jam here (in Oz). Don’t know why–peaches just aren’t that good here, I think. Wish I could sample the gorgeous fruits of your labor… :p
I wish I could send you some. I have more than I know what to do with!
I have always wanted to learn how to can! Unfortunately no one in my family does it either…you made it seem much less intimidating than it has looked in the past though! (Except for the mess at the end, of course! My least favorite part of cooking :P)
you can do it! It’s worth the mess at the end 🙂
Good for you! I’ve always wanted to try canning. Just a tip that I’m remembering from my food safety class in college: if the jar/can bloats and/or the food has a strange smell (or obviously taste) when opened then beware of botulism. It can actually kill you, so just a word of caution. (Sorry, didn’t mean to party poop the whole canning experience for you.)
Yes, that’s very important. I appreciate you reminding me to be careful!
Hi Sugarlump! Great looking jam. I am glad you tried canning. It can be intimidating at first but actually you don’t have to follow all the rules to get some good results ;0) I will be canning for the next few weeks, up to a month actually! I hate the mess as well though. The other day you posted a picture of a piece from your food processor. That is an arm to hold up the blades that slice vegetables or shred cheese.
ahhh! Thank you! I had no clue what that was when I first pulled it out of the box 🙂
Good for you it looks fantastic.
Pingback: Spicy Peach Jam | A Jew Broad Cooks
Oh! Peaches are yummy! Good choice.
Yes, they’re my favorite!
Thanks for stopping by my blog recently! My grandma used to always make us peach jam, so that jam gives me all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings. We once made blackberry jam when we lived in western Washington, and the one thing I definitely remember is the colossal mess afterward. Amazing jam, amazing mess. Looks yummy!! Enjoy!
Thanks! Yes, it is quite a mess, but worth it in the end. Come back and visit!
Love that pop of the can! Best sound in the world after a long afternoon of stickiness. P.S. Pomona’s Pectin requires less sugar but is still very tasty!
Thanks for visiting and liking my post Sunset.
You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by. Come back and visit!
Wow i would love to try out canning….thanks for the inspiration! BTW how did you find my blog? Curiousty killed the cat right!
I always find new blogs on my reader by searching different topics I’m interested in. It’s amazing how much is out there!
That jam certainly will be damn good, it even looks that way. And thinking about sugar: imagine how much they put in industry-jam, since sugar is much cheaper than fruit, and now the industri even have artificial sweeteners that are cheaper than sugar. I make my own jam too, mainly with wild berries, and mainly for the freezer..
I’m totally with you on making my own food when possible. It’s time-consuming, but well worth knowing what you’re eating and it certainly tastes much better!
Thanks for coming to visit my blog. I liked reading your adventure with peach jam. The only jam I have ever made was cherry jam with my cousin’s help. It was quite messy because each cherry had to be pitted! Did I say it was the pits? [bad pun!] I realize now that making jam, like lopetban, a Hakka Jamaican steamed bun, has to be a communal project. You need more than one hand to stir the pot–and pit the cherries.
You’re right! It’s definitely easier as a group effort. I may recruit some family members to help me next year. Thanks for visiting my blog!
Great story on canning. I understand!!
Great job. It’s blackberry time here now, I’m feeling inspired! Thanks for visiting my blog.
Ooooh my favorite! My great aunt used to make the best blackberry jam. Enjoy!