Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Peach Jam

Talking to people about food, I have realised that regardless to where you are from, Peach Jam tends to be one of those childhood summer memories that have the power to make you happy all year round. My nana used to make this in humongous saucepans (were they that massive or was it just me who was little?) which would boil for what seemed like ages in the kitchen, hot as a furnace in the August sun. She then poured it into really tiny jars, because she made enough to actually keep this though winter (as opposed to eat it all in about a week, which is what I do) and an open jar of peach jam is not good for more than a week. This is a simplified, modernised version which still retain the peach slices to give it a touch of comforting memories.

14 fresh, ripe peaches. I like to do 7 yellow and 7 white.
2 oranges – I use blood oranges
2 lemons
2 limes
7 cups of pectinated sugar
optional: 1 cup of caramelised blueberries or raspberries

Slice 4 or 5 peaches (with their beautiful skin still on, make sure you wash it thoroughly) into thin, regular slices. Put the rest of the pulp in the food processor and blitz it until it’s a deliciously sweet, sunset coloured cream.
Put all the peaches in a big bowl and add the sugar and the juices of all the oranges, limes and lemons. Cover and leave to rest overnight in the fridge.
In the morning, transfer the mixture in a saucepan and let simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours (the heat should be low and you should use an anti-stick pan if you have it because the jam tends to stick), until most of the juice is gone. I know this is a long time (if your peaches are particularly watery it will take up to 3 hours), but you don’t really need to do anything in the meantime, aside from stirring every now and then. 
For a revolutionary kick, you can now fold in the shop-bought caramelised blueberries or raspberries to make an instant Melba preserve.

Once it’s ready, pour into your sterilised jars trying to distribute the caramelised slices equally. If you want to keep this for the winter, make sure you seal them properly and use gum rings and parchments paper discs (all of this can found in the supermarket).

This jam is fantastic on toast, with a little peanut butter and white bread. You can also use it in cooking, for example by adding a couple of spoonfuls to your apples when baking an apple crumble, or as the perfect filling in a rich chocolate cake.
The jars are beautiful and make nice gifts as well as fantastic kitchen decorations. I once found a white-and-yellow chequered ribbon which alone made these little pots into true objects d’art.

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