Obsession can lead one to out of the ordinary pursuits. At least, it can lead me. My quaint obsession with last Summer’s peaches (although you wouldn’t know Autumn has kicked in in Southern California, as I sit in 90 degrees heat) led me to buy an inordinate amount of yellow and white varieties from my usual Farmer’s Market stand. The man behind the scale, who, by now, knows me well, asked me what I was planning to make.
“Jam”, I replied.
He seemed extremely delighted. “Nobody makes jam anymore” he quipped
Last time I made jam was when I couldn’t keep up with the output of my tangerine tree and, naively, thought to put them to good use by making marmalade. That was nearly 10 years ago and the memory of peeling and de-seeding pounds and pounds of tangerine has kept me from going at it again. I made quick jams now and then at work but, as a rule, I refuse to spend my time canning anything – too time consuming and, anyway, I see no need to have tomatoes in the middle of January and I detest pickles. It might be that I couldn’t think of any more peach recipes and jam was the last frontier – or, maybe, I just wanted to keep on enjoying that taste for a little while longer.
I ended up with three jars that can be consumed in a matter of weeks, the time this jam will be good for. It’s possibly the best jam I have had since my mother’s plum jam when I was 12. But, then again, I started with outstanding raw ingredients. If you are into canning, just double or triple the quantity. Sugar amounts can vary depending on fruit’s sweetness.
3 pounds (1.5 kg) Peaches, ripe
2 3/4 C (550 g) Sugar
- Peel and roughly cut the peaches. Combine them with the sugar, zest from the whole lemon and lemon juice. Let rest for an hour or so.
- Place everything in a large sauce pan and let simmer until the peaches have completely broken down and the jam is thick. To test whether it’s done, drop a spoonful on a plate, tilt it slightly and, if it the jam doesn’t run, it’s ready. It will take about a couple of hours.
- If you like your jam smooth, cool slightly and use a hand blender to get rid of the larger chunks.
- Spoon into three jars and get the bread out.