Sunday, August 15, 2010

Peach Jam

{excuse the stock camera charger is missing & I am missing out on late summers photos..uhhhg}

Life for us has been a whirlwind for the last year as we find our way back home. We have moved a couple times...into a huge, lovely beach house right on Lake Michigan which sold in 2 months just as we settled in. And then into a tiny rental in our small town. It is not by any means my dream home but it is home for now as I figure out my ground as a single Mama and what the next step is from here.
In all this chaos & moving, I find myself trying to create "home" in a feeling..a certain ambiance no matter where we are living. Something familiar..a scent..a flavor..something that symbolizes home for my children. This summer, that has meant a lot of homemade bread and fresh jam.
One of our routines is to head to our towns big farmers market every Saturday morning & pick up our produce for the week. It has become something all three of us look forward to. We have also been lucky enough to pick blueberries all month at a friends homestead.
In the busyness of my days, I find myself grounded by the process of baking bread & making jam no matter how late the hour or how long I was at work. It has been most therapeutic for me indeed. So here I wipe my sticky hands on my apron and share with you a few of my new favorite recipes.
Kid tested, organic & yummy.
Joy is found all around my kitchen, it's definitely in the sounds of lips smacking & children saying "mmmmm" as they wipe their sticky mouths with the back of their hands...
Peach Lavender Jam
3 tbsp. dried lavender
1/3 c. boiling water
4 c. chopped, peeled peaches (organic, locally grown preferred)
1/4 c. lemon juice (fresh squeezed; organic)
7 1/4 c. organic sugar or fructose
2 pouches liquid pectin
1. Steep lavender in boiling water for 20 minutes.
2. Combine lavender tea, peaches & lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pot & bring to a boil on high stirring constantly.
3. Once boiling, add sugar in a steady stream. Stir constantly.
4. Immediatly stir in pectin & return to a full boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.
5. Remove from heat & stir 5-8 minutes to prevent floating fruit.
6. Ladle into jars & process.
I have found this summer that freezing jam is a real breeze. Rather then processing in boiling water, I have been expirmenting with filling my jars while the jam is hot and leaving about 1/4 " at the top. I put the lid on right away which creates a seal and let them cool for an hour or two on the counter before putting them in my freezer. So far, I have had no trouble at all with glass jars breaking or anything going bad.
I'll add some more recipes soon.. I made Blueberry Butter last week & a super wonderful Peach Sour Cherry jam last night.
Here's to Summers bounty & the joy that home cookin' can bring!

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