When I moved to Massachusetts, the peaches were very plentiful in the fall and my family of ten loves peaches.
It doesn’t save money to can fruits but it tastes a lot better and peach jam makes a great gift at Christmas.
You only need three ingredients to make a batch of peach jam. Peaches, sugar and Sure Jel pectin. The amounts are different for each different fruit. So look at the pectin package. It comes with directions and amounts.
The first thing needed is peaches. Free stone are the best to buy as the pit comes out easy when you are peeling them. You also will want to buy pint Mason Jars. They are really inexpensive if you buy them at the Family Dollar or a store like Big Lots.
You will also need a couple of big pots and a ladle. One of the pots has to be big and tall enough to fit the pint jars in standing up so you can process them after they are full. The jars and the lids should be washed and then put in the pot to boil for ten to twenty minutes. Take them out and turn them upside down on a towel. This is also a good time to measure out the sugar.
After you peel and pit the peaches put them in a food processor and just pulse. With jam you don’t want all the lumps out of the fruit. When most of the fruit is mashed, measure and pour into the pot. At this point you can put a teaspoon of butter in to cut down on the foam that forms when cooking. Turn the heat on high to get the peach mixture to a full boil. Pour the pectin and the sugar in all at once and stir. Now just keep stirring until it reaches a full, really rolling boil. Set the timer for 1 minute and let it boil. It is very, very hot so use a long handled spoon and wear an apron to keep the jam off your hands and clothes.
When the timer goes off, remove the pot from the stove and skim off the foam that sometimes forms on the top before you put it in the jars. Now ladle the jam into the jars. Fill them right up to the neck so you have room for the air to escape and the lids to pop. Wipe around the jar so there is not a speck of jam on the top or the lids won’t seal. I use a wet rag and then I wipe again with a dry paper towel. Put the lids on and then the screw tops and make them tight.
You will need to have the water going in the pot so when you put the hot jars in the pot they wont break because the water is cold. If you don’t have a regular canning pot, you can put a thin towel down in the bottom of the pot so the heat isn’t right on the jars.
Boil the jars at a full rolling boil for ten minutes if they are pint jars and twenty if they are quarts. Remove them from the pot and set them to cool. Make sure all of the lids pop which means they have sealed properly. After they are cooled take the screw tops off and wipe them down before you put them away.
You can keep them this way for a long time but in our house they never last that long.
The jars look very pretty and if you put a ribbon around the top they make nice gifts for friends and teachers at Christmas time.