I Bottled the Summer Sun

In July I happened across a listing on Food Forward for a series of canning classes. Ten dollars each; plums, peaches and pears, tomatoes and salsas, and finally cranberries and thanksgiving. No one in my family has ever been very into the idea of making their own preserves except for my grandmother, who canned peaches and pears every year. I'd been thinking of picking up the skill myself for a year or two.

The plums class was cancelled due to lack of interest but, the peaches and pears went ahead. (It was, however, only peaches because there were no good Ontario pears in the stores.) I was super excited to see someone can right in front of me, and I was lucky Emerie Brine from Bernardin was running the class. He was a great teacher and made some delicious jam. I even won a copy of the Complete Book of Home Preserving, which saved me a trip to the book store.

I ate roughly 100lbs of peaches throughout the summer, so, I thought I'd start my canning journey there. I bought a basket an restrained myself from eating them. Then I made this:

Before you attempt the recipe below, please be advised: preserving can be dangerous. You can burn yourself and you can also poison people. Please don't poison anyone. All you have to do is follow the directions exactly, i.e. don't change the ingredients AT ALL, not even if you think 7 1/2 cups of sugar is way too much sugar for any one recipe. And, don't store your jars if they don't seal properly, simply use up that jar first.

This is not my recipe. I am not a jam scientist like the people at Bernardin who developed and tested the information below. Thanks guys, for letting me post your recipe, and for your delicious jam!

Ginger Peach Jam
Makes 6-7 250ml jars

4 cups crushed peaches
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 pouches (170 ml) liquid pectin
7 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Place 6 to 7 clean 250ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and hear to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat sealing discs in hot water, not boiling. Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, stir together prepared fruit, lemon juice, grated ginger and all of the sugar. Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add liquid pectin, squeezing entire contents from the pouches. Return to boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle hot jam into a hot jar within 1/4 inch (0.5cm) of top of jar (head space). Using a non-metallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if required, by adding more jam. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Center hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jars.

When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes of up to 1000ft (305m), process jars for 10 minutes.

When processing time is complete, turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, the remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed for 24 hours. DO NOT RETIGHTEN SCREW BANDS.

After cooling, check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands, wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.


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