One of things I love about summer is homemade fruit jam. One thing I don’t love is the extreme heat.
I’ve complained about being cold in the winter. Now that we are in the middle of summer, I’ll complain about the heat too… It’s just too hot to do anything outside. Before you remind me that I have a pool, I’ll just go ahead and explain that it’s just too hot for that. I’m not swimming in a hot pool only to get fried by the sun in two seconds. Really, I’m a diva. I want to be comfortable all the time. Not too hot, and not too cold. When I told my mother that very thing, she told me that I sounded like an old person. But really, is that too much for a girl to ask? I don’t want to freeze and I don’t want to sweat.
So, in an effort to stay cool, I’ve been inside. I’d even go so far as to say I’ve been domestic. It’s true… I’ve canned some stuff. I was particularly pleased with the outcome of this tasty Bourbon Peach Jam. The originally recipe is on the Ball website. It looked like a pain in the rear to make, so I took some short-cuts and substituted some things. While Ball wouldn’t endorse my way of doing things, I was quite happy with it. The boyfriend even ate it straight out of a bowl. That’s the ultimate compliment!
First, I suggest you assemble all of the ingredients. When you make jam, you have to be ready to roll. It goes very quickly. Extra hands to take care of the jars would be especially helpful.
Rather than use fresh peaches, (ughh…the peeling!) I used two bags of frozen peaches. I threw them in the food processor, half a bag at the time, and chopped them to pieces until they were mushy. Two bags were almost enough to equal the 4 1/2 cups that were needed. Close enough…..
I put the chopped peaches in my large pot, along with the ginger, lemon juice, bourbon, and reduced sugar pectin. This was the first time I’d used the Ball pectin. It was far better than the Sure-Jell in the pink box. Note the green Rachael Ray cookware….I’m still in love with it. You can find different colors here, on Amazon. I buy everything from Amazon because, as a prime member, shipping is free and it’s delivered in two days.
Before I turned on the heat for the peach mixture, I simmered water in a large frying pan. I dropped a couple of lids, bands, and half-pint jars into the water. I don’t do all of the pressure cooking stuff. I’ve never had any health issues with not doing it. My mom canned this way and clearly, we are all still living. Besides, my jams never sit on a shelf for more than a few months. They barely last a few weeks.
Back to the peaches……I boiled the mixture on high until they came to a full rolling boil. A rolling boil means that the boiling doesn’t stop while you are stirring. Caution….the peaches will scorch if you don’t stir them constantly! As soon as the peaches came to a rolling boil, I took the pot off of the burner and stirred in the Stevia. Make sure you only add a cup at the time and stir well. The Stevia has a tendency to clump. If needed, use a whisk to break up the clumps. Once all of the Stevia has been added, put the pot back on the high heat burner and bring the peaches back to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Then turn the heat off, and take the pot off the burner.
Back to the jars….Take the jars out and put in more jars. I found I needed 5 half-pint jars. A few years ago, I purchased a canning kit on Amazon that has been so useful. I especially love the little magnetic jar-lid-getter (for lack of a better word).
I placed the funnel (that also came with the kit) into the jar opening. I ladled the hot jelly into the jar, stopping when it reached the bottom of the funnel. Yes, it’s messy.
I placed the lids on the jar and screwed the band on tightly. This jar-holder was yet another handy tool in the kit.
I’ve really had fun making different jams. You can find the recipe for my Sugar-Free Pepper Jelly here. I’m particularly looking forward to topping my whole wheat toast with the Bourbon Peach Jam in the mornings once school starts. Eating Bourbon Peach jam before school almost seems a little scandalous. And I like being scandalous. And just as a disclaimer….yes, the alcohol does burn off during the cooking process.
So, if you’d like, try it. I’d love to hear what you think. Maybe you might offer a few substitutions or suggestions of your own.