Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Reduced Sugar Cooked Peach Jam

My friends Danny and Claudia were kind and generous to share a huge bucket of peaches they raise at Rose Hill Farm. I got all of them peeled, pitted and chopped for several different uses. I'm seeing peach cobbler and fried pies in our future in addition to some delicious peach jam.

Because jam and jelly making is such a quick process, I don't have step-by-step pictures for all I'll be posting over the next several days. However, I will break down the steps from the Sure-Jell pectin I use. This year I found some reduced sugar (pink box) pectin (we are still behaving with our food choices) and the instruction brochure layout had been revised to make sense. By that I mean the directions were on the same side of the sheet unlike the regular version. I have always had success using their product and when it comes to canning, I'm looking for easy, safe and consistent results. Who wants to spend a lot of time and have poor results?

I cannot stress enough how careful you need to be. The mixture will be very hot and you are dealing with boiling water. Be sure you don't have any kiddos underfoot when you are doing this.

Sterilize your jars (I do mine in the dishwasher or you can do this in a pot of boiling water), lids and rings (I boil these in a pan of water on the stove).

Get out your canning tongs to pull the jars from the pot; canning funnel and the magnetized tool to pull your lids and rings from the hot water and a clean cloth to wipe the jars down prior to sealing them.
I set my canner on the stove and set the rack in the pot raised for easy access and fill with water so that when the jars/rack are submerged, the jars will have one to two inches of water above them. (You can always add more boiling water if needed) I put the lid on the pot and turn the heat on high.
I use my food processor and pulse until I get the right consistency. Measure out, with a dry measuring cup (not liquid), 4-1/2 cups of chopped peaches.

In another bowl, measure three cups of sugar (regular, not artificial) and set to the side.

From the 3 cups of sugar, pull out 1/4 cup, put in another small bowl and mix the box of Sure-Jell with it. Set to the side.

Measure 2  Tbsp. of lemon juice and set aside in another small bowl.

In a large pot, on high, add the peaches and stir in the sugar/Sure-Jell mixture. Stir constantly. Add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to reduce foaming. Bring this mixture to a boil.

Add in the remaining sugar. Bring it back to a full boil and let it cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Remove any foam with a spooon. This will be very hot! Put the excess foam in one of your used bowls to discard later.

Using a ladle, pour up the mixture into the jars through your canning funnel and leave 1/4" head space. Wipe the jar top and sides before placing a lid and ring on them.

Space the filled jars around the raised up rack. When all jars are filled, carefully lower the rack into the water. Add additional boiling water, if needed, so that the jars are adequately covered. Put the lid back on the pot, bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. (Jelly is 5 minutes, Jam is 10 minutes)

When that time is up, turn off heat and carefully remove the pot from the stove eye. When removing the lid (with a pot holder), be careful of the steam that will be released!! I remove my lid with it pointed away from my face.

Fold up a towel on your counter.

With my canning tongs, I carefully move my jars to the towel to cool. If any of the jars didn't seal, be sure to refrigerate and consume first. If you don't hear equal "pings" for the quantity of jars processed and the lid springs back when you poke the middle of the jar, it didn't seal correctly. 24 hours later, I move them to the box my jars came in, mark the date on them and store them.

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