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28 August 2013 @ 09:35 am
the jamming of peaches  

So Mom made a batch of peach jam a few weeks ago, and to our interest, it turned out exactly as the peach jam I’d made years ago did: super, super stiff, almost crystallized. She thought it needed a couple more peaches, and since I love peach jam with an unholy passion and peaches are available right now, I got some and yesterday made a batch with two more peaches than Mom had used.

It’s unbelievably pretty and very tasty, but still surprisingly stiff. Not as stiff as Mom’s or as the batch I’d made back when, but stiffer than I consider ideal for jam.

We had a discussion about this, in which I mentioned that although it’d been years since I made jam, it reaaaaaalllllllllly seemed to me that the recipes had changed since I last made it. Mom thought they had too, so probably they have. We suspect they’ve added sugar, perhaps in order to sell their low-sugar pectin more effectively. Anyway, so I think I’ll make another batch and reduce the sugar by a bit, even though they give dire warnings about messing with the recipe. I mean, we’ve already messed with it. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

freyaw: ROUSfreyaw on August 28th, 2013 12:48 pm (UTC)
... I've never used commercial pectin. What differences are there between jams with and without it? Other than it taking less long to make :D

(My mother's stonefruit jam minus the commercial pectin goes like this:
* 4 parts stonefruit, chopped
* 4 parts sugar
* 1-2 lemons, the juice (and optionally the peel) thereof
* 1 part water

Stew the stonefruit with the water and lemon bits until it's glop. Take it off the heat, stir in the sugar, and put it back on to cook down on a low heat until it becomes jam. Near the end, stir obsessively with a long handled spoon held in a hand on which is a glove which protects against hot spatters of sugar, whilst reading a book with the other hand. At some point remove the lemon peel, if you added it. Dip it out into sterilised jars using a small gravy jug)

Edited at 2013-08-28 12:48 pm (UTC)
spiffikinsspiffikins on August 29th, 2013 02:13 am (UTC)
this sounds eminently doable...but do you put the filled jars into a water bath at all?
freyaw: abyssfreyaw on August 29th, 2013 02:25 am (UTC)
I've always sterilised my (recycled, washed in dishwasher on the hottest setting) jars by baking them in the oven (low heat for a decent period of time). They seal as they and their contents cool down on the wooden cutting board (not plastic, it melts, learned that the hard way...)

There's sufficient sugar and acid in the recipe that the jam itself doesn't need extra sterilising, unless you're being extra careful.
spiffikinsspiffikins on August 29th, 2013 03:37 am (UTC)
This is very exciting to hear - I'm definitely going to have to look into doing up some jam - I have made strawberry and cherry freezer jam, but I have a limited amount of space in my freezer :)

I don't have a big enough canning pot to do water bath canning, and I have a ceramic flat top stove, and have read horror stories of people attempting canning on these stoves, so I've been afraid to try!
freyaw: reptile clusterfreyaw on August 29th, 2013 04:51 am (UTC)
The thing with doing stonefruit this way is that it is very easy to overcook it in the final stages, or have it get stuck to the pot. That's how you get apricot jam that is brown instead of orange :(

I'm planning to experiment with doing it in my crockpot when summer comes around. We got a gas stovetop to replace the old electric one, and it makes me sad (or rather, the cold spot in the middle of the burner does).
6_penny on August 28th, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the fruit this summer is a bit drier -so you need to add more liquid per volume of sugar?
Herefoxherefox on August 28th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
I never really use a recipe for jam and I almost always cut down the sugar to the bare minimum because I like the taste of the fruit to come through and not the super sweet glop that you can usually get in the store. As long as it gels properly it should store fine although jam rarely lasts in my apartment long enough to have a chance to go bad...no storing it for years anyway!
The Angel of Vengeanceesmerel on August 28th, 2013 04:20 pm (UTC)
And if it doesn't set, OHNOES you have peach syrup!