Was so excited to find a “You Pick” peach and nectarine orchard not too far from where we live. The nectarines weren’t quite ripe, but the farmer just happened to pull up and told me “Well ya falla this here yellow ribbon to the peaches. I’ve got some real dandies up there!” Getting a tip like that how can I refuse?! Then the song started, in my head, follow the big yellow ribbon, follow the big yellow ribbon…follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the big yellow ribbon. Sorry it’s catchy isn’t it?
The peaches were amazing. Large, plump and incredibly fragrant.
With their fuzzy skins all gleaming after a bath I just stared at them for a while. Then I snapped out of a pre-sugar rush and began the Peach and Ginger jam. You have to peel the peaches. Wait stop! Don’t go running for the peeler or your favorite paring knife. That will take far too long. Get your canning pot and fill it with hot water and bring it to a boil. In the mean time wash your jars and lids and get all the ingredients for the jam together. Once the water starts to boil cut cross slits on the bottom of each peach, you’re making a zipper to slip the skin off.
I hope you can see this. Once cut slip the peaches, about 7 at a time into the water. This is what is known as a Peach Spa. Let them sit in there about 2-3 minutes. It doesn’t matter if the water boils or not. It probably won’t, but do bring it back to a boil before you slip the next batch in. You don’t the second batch of peaches to be jealous of the first batch and thus not release their sweet goodness.
Fill your sink with cold water, add some ice to make it real cold so when the peaches come out of the boiling water they go directly into the ice bath. Once all the peaches are done put the lid back on your water bath and keep it hot to can the jars.
After about a minute pull the peaches out and you’ll see they are ready to be peeled.
Now the next step it was hard to get a picture as my hands were completely covered with peaches and juice. Suffice it to say slice the peach down the side, pull it apart, remove the pit and dice em up. They will be slippery! If you grip them too hard you’re likely to launch one across the kitchen. Use care.
There are several secret and magical ingredients to make this luscious jam. Oh don’t worry I’ll share them all at the bottom.
All these things get cooked together at various stages. Do not rush this process or your jam will not set up. That being said – some jams can take up to a week or more to set once canned. When cooking all the ingredients on the final step it will take a long time for it all to come to boil but you must keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.
It’s hot, and tedious. But the reward – worth the arm cramp.
Prep Time – 30 Min Yield – 10 1/2 pints or 6 full pints
8 cups of pitted, chopped and mash them a bit to release juices
4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
6 Tbs powdered fruit pectin (I use the Ball brand)
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbl finely chopped candied ginger (crystallized)
1/4 tsp of freshly ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground alspice
zest of 1/2 a lemon (zest it before you squeeze it for the 4 Tbs of juice you need)
1/4 tsp butter (optional but does keep the mixture from foaming)
Sterilize the jars and lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions and keep hot.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the peaches and lemon juice to boil
Add the pectin and return the mixture to a boil
Stirring constantly, slowly add the sugar.
Once sugar is incorporated slowly add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. (This is where it can take some time. Don’t crank the heat up to make it go faster, you want the juices to come out of the peaches and the spices to become thoroughly infused) Once it returns to a boil let it boil one minute. Remember to stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.
Remove from heat and skim off foam. Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rim and place lid and screw cap. Process for 10 minutes in a water bath.
Now get out there and find some peaches before the season is over. You do not want to miss out on making this jam.