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Peaches and Pesto


In the middle of June, I found myself with 10 lbs. of peaches, 5 cups of basil, and 7 cups of mint (Some beans and new potatoes too!). I knew I would make basil pesto since I am curing all the garlic that I grew.

But what to do with 10 lbs. of peaches???


PEACH MINT JAM!

Three years ago, my neighbor brought me her homemade strawberry jam, and it was the best jam I've ever had. She offhandedly texted, "It's made the old-fashioned way - without pectin."


I had NO idea what she was talking about, but decided it was the only way to make jam.


The secret is lemon juice and cooking for longer to draw out the fruit's own pectin.


And because Apricot Raspberry Preserves is my favorite store bought, I made Raspberry Peach Mint.



16 peaches

12 oz. raspberries

10 sprigs of mint

1/4 cup lemon juice

lemon zest off 1 lemon

1/4 cup water

2 cups of sugar*


MADE 6 1/2 pint jars.


~ PREP PEACHES: Blanch the peaches to remove the skin ridiculously easily. It also made squashing the peaches by hand the best way to mash the peach, remove the pit, and be sure the stems aren't in the mixture. Boil peaches for two minutes, drop in ice water, then cut an x at one end, slip the skins off, and mash into jam pot.








Here is the video that shows how easily the skins slip off - one-handed! I then just held over whatever pot I was using to make the jam and squished it apart in my hand (kind of fun, actually.)








~ BOILING THE JAM: After all the peaches are mashed by hand, extracting stems and pits, bring the pot to a boil on HIGH heat. (Hopefully, the peaches are juicy enough that there is a lot of liquid.) Add the rinsed and dried raspberries. Once the mixture is at a rapid boil, drop in mint leaves (I used a cheesecloth sachet to make it easier to fish out at the end.), 1/4 cup water, and sugar.*


* - Confession, I made peach mint jam the day before, and the recipe I followed called for 3 cups of sugar. After a taste test, I just didn't think it needed that much sugar. So this recipe calls for 2 cups. Honestly, I saw another similar recipe that called for FIVE cups of sugar. . . I can't even get my head around that.


~ After the sugar dissolves and the mixture is at a rolling boil, turn the pot down to simmer, and allow to thicken for two hours. Yep, two hours, that's how you get it jam like. Leave the lid off; you are evaporating the water away. I used my oval Le Creuset because I figure the more surface area, the faster the water will evaporate. The classic test method to make sure it's done is to put a plate in the freezer when you start the jam. When you THINK it's thick enough, drop a dollop on the plate from the freezer and swipe a finger through it. If the mixture stays separated, it's jam. If it runs together, it's just syrup. (See the pic above.)


~ This jam could be refrigerated for three weeks, but I water bath canned them to store and give as gifts. When I made the peach mint jam (far right below in the round jars), I didn't have enough to fill a third jar, so I refrigerated the leftover.


~ WATER BATH CANNING: If you haven't done this before, I'm not telling you. Go watch some YouTubes, Google it, check out Ball's website. . . I won't be responsible for shattered glasses and all the things. But if you know what I'm talking about: sterilize jars, ladle with 1/4 inch headspace, wipe the rims, put on lids, process for ten minutes, turn off burner for five minutes, remove jars, and enjoy the popping sounds as the jar lids seal in summer.


HAPPY SUMMER IN A JAR!



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