Thursday, December 1, 2011

Peach Jam

Peaches are fairly sweet, so use a peach to sugar ratio of 1:3/4 and cook until it's done how you want it.

57% Peaches
43% Sugar (raw and/or white)

  1. Peel and chop peaches into pieces that are relatively the same size. (This is so it cooks consistently.)
  2. Weigh peach pieces.
  3. Weigh out sugar into a separate bowl.*
  4. Slowly heat peach pieces in large saucepan. They will get very juicy. Bring to boil.
  5. Stir thoroughly to avoid sticking on the bottom. ("Stir it, and don't be silly," Granny says.)
  6. Boil until the peaches start to thicken a little as some juice evaporates.
  7. Add sugar, half a cup at a time so the peaches don't cool down too much. Keep stirring.
  8. Prepare jars between adding sugar. **
  9. After all sugar has been added it will take half an hour to an hour or longer. The jam will go clearer and less lumpy and start to thicken. Keep stirring to avoid sticking to the bottom.
  10. Remove the froth from top of jam if you want. (Nothing wrong with froth, it just can look funny at the top of the jar.)
  11. Test the jam until it's as thick as you want it. ***
  12. Turn stove off.
  13. Using a teatowel, remove a hot jar from the oven. Spoon jam into jar until a few millimetres from top of jar. Wipe up any drips from around top of jar (it won't seal properly if there's jam in the seal).
  14. Loosely put lid on jar. Set aside.
  15. Fill remaining jars.
  16. After about half an hour, screw the lids on tightly. Jar lids should pop in and seal properly in the next hour or so.

* How much sugar? You want 3/4 the amount of sugar as you have peaches. (eg, 2kg of peach pieces, 1.5kg of sugar).

** How to prepare jars? You want jars and lids clean, hot and completely dry before you put jam into them, so wash, rinse and dry completely with a teatowel. Then place in the oven on trays on about 100˚C until you're ready to put the jam in. If the jars aren't hot, they will crack when the hot jam hit them suddenly.

"Why do the jars have to be completely dry?" I asked Granny.
"That's too silly to answer. It's just common sense. If you've got any common sense, that is," came the reply.

***How to test the jam? When the jam with all its sugar has been boiling for more than half an hour or it starts to thicken a little, take a teaspoon of jam to test. Put a small amount of jam onto a cool plate in the freezer for 5 minutes or so. Once cooled down completely, tip the plate up - if the jam runs too much it's not done yet, so keep boiling and test again soon. If the jam sticks well and wrinkles or is at a consistency that you like your jam, it's ready to put in to jars. You can make your jam as runny or thick as you want it.

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