I only eat peaches in July and August. Those rock-hard tiny little yellow bullets of no flavour you get in stores the whole rest of the year? Those aren’t peaches. Peaches come from the Okanagan, and they are bigger than my two fists pressed together, and did you know that your brain is about the size of your two fists pressed together? I like my peaches as big as my brain, sopping and sloppy and juicy and sticky all over the place. And they taste like candy.
Peaches are my favourite fruit.
I was an infant in the Okanagan, and my mom told me that my first taste of solid food was a peach picked fresh from the backyard mushed up and thrust upon my tongue. And every time I bite into a peach, the taste surprises me, as if it is the first time I’ve ever tasted one, because I always kind of forget that peaches are peaches and not that strange fruit that comes in cans or those terrible little abominations available at Safeway in December.
Okanagan peaches have arrived, and this week I bought too many. Apricots too, but that’s another post. So we were elbows deep in sticky, and it was great, but a few of them had turned on me, started to get a bit smishy, and some of them were just not soft enough for me to get ravenous with. I salvaged a couple toward the end, sliced them and drizzled them with cream.
As for the rest, I turned them into jam.
Because it’s not as hard to do as you think, and because canning lets you enjoy peaches beyond August. And also, it’s trendy.
(six one-cup-size jars)
- 4 cups chopped peaches
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 package original, plain, regular old pectin
- 5 cups granulated sugar
You’re supposed to finely chop your peaches. I finely chopped most of the peaches, leaving a few larger bits in the mix, because I like it when there’s the odd chunk I can chew in jam. Once again, I followed the Procedure for Shorter Time Processing when it came to prepping the jars, because it worked and I don’t think there’s any reason to screw with a system that works.
Put your peaches, lemon, and pectin in a large pot over high heat, stirring frequently until it comes to a rolling boil.
Dump in the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Bring it back up to a boil, and then, when it’s boiling so aggressively you can’t quell it with a bit of stirring, set the timer for one minute, and stir constantly. Remove from heat and fill your jars. Process as usual.
Then, wait. The most satisfying sound in the world is the “pop” of the jar lids as they seal themselves shut. I had seven jars, because mine were slightly smaller than 250mL/1 cup, so once I’d heard seven little pops, all was right with the world. And then I napped. And it was good.
Let ’em sit for 24 hours undisturbed. It may take up to two weeks for jam to set, did you know that? If it sets right away, then feel free to eat it tomorrow, on a warm, buttered piece of fresh bread. Marvellous.
I’ll bet you take to the Internet to start looking at condos in Kelowna almost immediately after you’re done.