Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stone Fruit Can Jam!

This past week, I risked buying 50 pounds of stone fruits before checking to see if there would be anyone to can it with me, but luckily, I found a few friends that were interested!  Four of us all chipped in to turn 25 pounds each of white peaches and damson plums into a delicious array of jams, butters, and syrups...  and then divvied up the bounty.  Below you can see our various stations - a good way to keep a kitchen from getting too crowded with several people all cooking multiple recipes at once!

Below I'll go through a few of our jam, butter, and syrup superstars from the day's efforts...  

Follow these instructions using any of the ingredient lists for the jams and butters below:

->  Bring all ingredients except vanilla and/or spirits (if used) to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.

B:  If making a butter, cook fruit until just soft, and then process in batches in a food processor or blender until to the desired smoothness.  Return to pot.  

J:  If making jam, let simmer, stirring and mashing frequently with a potato masher.

Then continue to simmer either until mixture begins to thicken.

When you notice the mixture beginning to thicken, you can test if it has reached the jellying point in one of two ways:  (1) Use a candy thermometer to determine when the jam has reached 220 degrees F.  (2) Place a ceramic plate in the freezer until very cold.  Place a spoonful of jam on plate and return to freezer for about 30 seconds.  When removed from the freezer, if the jam wrinkles when you push it across the plate with your finger, it is ready.  If not, keep simmering!

Once jellying point is reached, remove any whole spices (if using), and add vanilla and/or spirits (if using).  Process in sterile jars.  You can use a pressure cooker for this (10 minutes at 5 lbs) or just a hot water bath (10 minutes at a rolling boil).  


Bourbon Peach (and Plum) Jams
-4 lbs peaches (or mix of peaches and plums), rough-chopped
-4 c sugar
-1/4 c lemon juice
-1/4 c bourbon
-1 tsp vanilla
-pinch of salt
~*Note:  This recipe would also be tasty with brandy or amaretto in place of the bourbon.  *~

Spiced Plum Jam

-5 c plums, washed, pitted, and rough-chopped
-1 1/3 c sugar
-2 tsp cinnamon
-6 cardomom pods, cracked and placed in a tea strainer or cheese cloth (for easy removal later)
-1 tsp vanilla

Plum (or Peach) Butter
-4 lbs plums (or peaches), rough-chopped
-3 c sugar
-2 tsp cinnamon
-zest and juice of 1 lemon
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 c crystalized ginger, chopped
-2 tsp bourbon 

 Chocolate Plum Sauce*

-5 c plums, chopped
-3 c sugar
-1/2 c honey
-1/4 c cocoa powder
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1 sprig sage

*We called this a "sauce," as it seemed a little too runny to be called a jam, but you can follow the same instructions as are listed above for jams.  It just won't set up to the jellying stage.  I think I may get more use out of it in sauce form anyway.  It was more amazing than I even imagined.  

I hope you find a few friends and enjoy the can jam experience just as much as eating all that jam!  It's a great way to spend an afternoon.  

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