At the beginning of summer when I decided I would become “a canner,” I had visions of rows and rows of shiny, jewel-colored glass jars lining my cupboard shelves by fall. There would jam made from every kind of fruit I could possibly buy from the farmers market, and diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce, and pickles, and pickled jalapenos, and homemade ketchup. . . .
However, all this takes time, of which I have very little of these days. And suddenly the end of summer is on the horizon, which means peaches and tomatoes aren’t going to be around for much longer.
So last weekend I dragged Little Tot to the farmer’s market. He doesn’t much like going to the farmer’s market because it’s hot and it’s boring. Luckily the guy who manages the market knows Little Tot loves bananas, so when we arrive he usually greets us at some point with a free banana in hand. That means I have roughly three minutes – that’s about how long it takes Little Tot to finish one medium banana – to get what I need and check out.
Last weekend I loaded up. A basket of peaches, a bushel of pink-eye purple hull peas for the freezer, and a box of canning tomatoes. Once the sweaty teenage boy – that strangely enough felt the need to tell me how late he stayed out and partied the night before – carried everything out to the car and put it in the trunk, we were on our way home. Little Tot was still clenching the spent banana peel in his sweaty little hand.
After Little Tot went down for his nap, I began hauling out pots, boiling water, peeling peaches, slicing, mashing, and cooking them down. Truly, I find the whole process of making jam relaxing. I’m weird, I know. Although it probably would have been way more relaxing had The Husband not been watching a violent movie in the background.
I love the smell of lavender and only recently discovered what a wonderful flavor it can impart when used in cooking. A small palmful of lavender mixed in with sweet juicy peaches did not disappoint. Instead of being overly sweet, this jam is wonderfully complex.
Tip: Need a quick way to peel a lot of peaches quickly? Throw the peaches, a few at a time, in boiling water for up to 1 minute. Immediately immerse them in ice water. The peels should come off easily with your fingers.
This recipe was inlcuded in DailyBuzz Food Top 9: A Jar of Jam on September 4, 2012
Peach Lavender Jam
- 6 cups peeled sliced peaches
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2/3 cup water
- 4 tablespoons powdered low or no-sugar needed pectin
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon crushed lavender pods
- 3-4 cleaned and sanitized pint mason jars with lids and bands
Fill a large stockpot with enough water to completely cover the tops of your jars. Heat water over high heat until it comes to a rolling boil.
In the meantime, fill another stockpot with water and bring to a simmer. Place jars and lids in the simmering water and leave them until you are ready to fill. This preheats the jars to prevent breakage when you pour your hot liquid into them later. This also prepares the sealing compound in the lids. DO NOT LET THE WATER COME TO A BOIL, or you will activate the lids and render them useless before you even get started.
Place peach slices in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until peaches reach your desired consistency (depends on if you like big chunks or little chunks of peaches in your jam).
Combine peaches with lemon juice, water, and pectin in a large medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a hard rolling boil.
Stir in sugar and lavender pods. Return to a boil and continue to boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until jam reaches desired consistency. (I like to spoon a little out into a cold glad bowl to see if it is thick enough).
Remove pan from heat. Skim foam if desired.
Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace*.
Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp rag. Center the lid on jar. Carefully screw on the band until fit is fingertip tight.
Process jars the pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to cool. Once the jars cool, the vacuum seal will form and you will hear the lids “ping” once the seal is complete. Check the lids after 24 hours to make sure the lids do not flex up and down when the center is pressed.
Makes approximately 3 full pint jars and one half pint jar.**
Recipe Notes*Headspace is the space from the top of the jar to the food or liquid in the jar. Too little headspace, and the food may boil over and prevent the lid from sealing. Too much headspace the jar may not seal properly because the processing time is not long enough to drive the air out of the jar. Food at the top of the jar may discolor.
**I would not recommend canning the half pint jar. Just store this in the fridge and use it first.