The most understated fruit in the entire world is the Iowa peach. Fresh from the tree, picked at the peak of ripeness, there is nothing else like it. The fuzzy skin, the juicy soft flesh that pulls away from the pit so easily, the fragrance......... ahhhh pure summer bliss !!
But they don't stick around long. And you have to fight the birds and deer off because they too are fruit fans. But if you're lucky enough to have a peach tree, or a friend with a peach tree, you've got a wonderful resource !!
The home canning fanatic in me immediately thought peach jam was the best way to preserve this summer gem.
Homemade Peach Jam from the Ball Blue Book
4 cups chopped or mashed peaches
1/4 cup lemon juice (bottled, never fresh)
7 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin.
Before starting the jam, wash jars, lids and rings. Hold the jars in large pot of boiling water. Hold lids in small saucepan of hot but not boiling water. Set rings aside. Fill and bring to boil the water bath canner.
When the water bath canner is nearly boiling, begin cooking the jam.
Combine the peaches, sugar and lemon juice in large pot. Bring to boil stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Add pouch of liquid pectin, return to boil and boil hard one minute. Skim foam if desired.
Remove jars from hot water and fill with hot jam, fix lids on top and seal with rings only to finger tight. Place on rack in water bath canner, lower into boiling water. Start timing when water returns to boil. Process 10 minutes. Lift rack from water and let jars rest 5 minutes, remove with jar lifter and set on towel-lined surface and allow to cool undisturbed. Do not retighten rings or push down on lids. You will hear the "ping" as the jars seal. When cool, remove rings and check for good seal. If not seals, you can reprocess or keep in fridge and use within 3-4 weeks.
40 jars later........my counter was completely covered, but the smile on my face and happiness in getting them all done were worth all the hard work !!