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Peach Jam

Don’t you just love the smell of peach cobbler?  Every summer I look forward to making peach jam and other peach recipes.  Today my daughter, Kenzey & I, canned 15 pints of yummy peach jam.  All of our children (Mandi, Mitzi, Lacey, Kacey, and Kenzey) have helped me make peach jam, at some time.  They are all fantastic cooks!

Ok, I have to say this first! A few years ago, as a high school Family & Consumer Science Teacher (formerly called Home Ec.) often when I turned students loose in the school kitchens for a cooking lab with recipes and ingredients, many would just start dumping the ingredients all together.  Then wonder why their concoction didn’t turn out right.  Then I would say, “Oh Good Heavens, haven’t you ever followed a recipe, made cookies, brownies or anything?”  “Well sure,” they would say, “and I just dump everything together and it turns out fine.” Or they would say, “We don’t really cook at my house,” or “my mama won’t let me in the kitchen.”  Then what would follow was a “hands-on” demonstration and discussion about how the most important part of the recipe is actually the directions, the part that is below the ingredients.  After all, most of us can round up some delicious ingredients and throw them together and that’s ok for simple things, like making brownies from brownie mix.  But, most recipe directions (especially jams and jellies) have to be followed exactly.  If you don’t follow the directions for jams and jellies (almost exactly) “Honey, you gone have you some sweet peach syrup instead of jam.”

I also realized that all of us probably need some step by step pictures or photos of the recipe being made, not just the end product. So, I’ll always try to include photos with recipes.  Here are some steps to making your own peach jam and makin’ your home smell like peach heaven:

Ingredients for Peach Jam          Items Needed
4 cups finely chopped peaches            5-pint jars with lids and bands
2 T fresh lemon juice
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 box of Sure Jell
1/2 t. butter or margarine

Now the important part!  Peel and cut up the peaches, then set them aside.  Put 5 pint jars in hot water in your sink.  Put 5 flat lids in small pan of water and let boil. Turn on simmer when they have boiled for a couple of minutes.  Put the 5 bands or rings on the handle of the pan that contains the lids (so you will have them handy).  Measure 5 1/2 cups of sugar and set aside.  Measure out 4 cups of chopped peaches (you can chop them in the blender just a little (DON’T PUREE!) or put them right in a 6-8 qt. sauce pot on medium heat. Then crush them with a potato masher. (This is what I usually do, cause we like our jam kind of chunky).

Stir in lemon juice when peaches are crushed properly.

Stir in box of Sure Jell and add 1/2 teaspoon of butter, (this keeps your mixture from foaming up).  Bring mixture to a full rolling boil  (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when it is stirred) on high heat stirring constantly.

Stir in all of sugar quickly.  Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle quickly into hot jars., filling to within 1/8 -1/4 inch of tops.  Wipe rims and threads, then cover with hot lids.  Screw bands tightly. Then turn upside down for 5 min. This helps them seal quicker.  Then turn them right side up and violà! you did it.

Remember to leave a few chopped peaches for smoothies or peach cobbler or other peach recipes.  Simply add about 1/2 cup sugar to each 1 gallon bag of peaches and freeze.

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