Monday, September 3, 2012

We're Jammin'

One of the cruel twists of mother nature is  making fresh fruit plentiful and cheap when the weather is the hottest and jam making must occur!  However, for the past few years summer jam and pickle making have become a part of my summer vacation.  We head up north to spend time with my BF and her family, the men go fishing for a few days while Al and I concoct jam recipes, process fruit, and bond.  We recruit her daughter Evalyn to help and we always learn something new about one another (this year it was a classic, but some things must be kept private).  It is my favorite part of summer and I wouldn't trade it for anything, not even a trip to somewhere tropical.
Besties since college!  
The jammin' crew!

Al and I tend to be a little free handed with our jam making.  We toss around ideas and just go for it.  Sometimes it turns out and sometimes we make sauce instead of jam :)  We try to organize ourselves and make plans, but we inevitably have to make 10 trips to the grocery store, 5 trips to the hardware store for jars, and occasionally end up  on a never ending search for flowering dill (we never did find any this year).  In the past we have made Bite Me Blueberry Plum Jam , which involves homegrown plums, jalapenos, and cherries. Twisted Blueberry Plum , a new take on blueberry, plum jam that has grapefruit in it.  Sadly this year her plum tree didn't produce much, so we hard to turn to another stone fruit, peaches!

We asked Al's husband to bring us home some peaches (he has connections) before he left on the annual fishing odyssey.  Alison and I came home to 1 large crate and 2 small crates of peaches.  A total of 168 pounds!  Al figured that he was trying to keep us out of busy and out of trouble with all of those peaches.  Twelve work hours later, we peeled, sliced, and packaged 84 lbs. of peaches.  We were sick of peaches!  Now we had to figure out what to do with them all.  First, we decided to replicate a chutney we had made a few years back, but with peaches instead of apricots.  Then we wanted to come up with something similar to our Bite Me jam, so we came up with Sassy Peach, which has jalapenos.  Finally, we made some plain old peach jam and blueberry peach sauce (stupid liquid pectin).
The bounty~

Some turned out, some didn't... we learned a LOT and were pretty frustrated at the end.  Here is the lesson I will share with you.  Use only low sugar pectin and recipes!  Liquid pectin sucks and regular jam recipes end up tasting like sugar and not fruit!

Can't wait until next summer, when we can do it again!

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