Jam and jewels

the afternoon's work: peach jam

My canning buddy, Linda, swore she would not miss peach jam season this year. I was glad – she moaned all winter about it. So I headed for the State Farmers Market on Friday. We always mix white peaches and yellow ones, so I got baskets of each. Bags in my hand, I was walking towards my car when I saw them: Damson plums. I usually come upon them  accidentally, and I can’t pass by them. I bought them all.

Damsons are purple, but make a delicate rose-colored jelly that tastes as pretty as it looks. It just makes me smile to look at it. So, although they increased the anticipated canning workload, they came home with me. On Saturday, I cooked them down and piled them in a colander lined with cheesecloth, then left them for several hours for the juice to drain. I put the juice in a container and put it in the refrigerator. It would be easy to turn it to jelly after we finished the jam session.

Today, Linda and I started on the peaches. We made two batches of jam, with a lunch break for pimento cheese sandwiches (a canning day tradition). As we lowered the third batch of jars into the canner, I turned around to clean up and saw – the measuring cup of sugar that we had forgotten to put in. Instead of  1 1/2 cups of sugar, the batch had 1/4 cup, the amount we mixed with the powdered pectin before adding it.

Do we snatch the jars out of the water, dump the jam back in the pot and add the sugar? “Let’s taste it,” Linda said. We scooped spoonsful from the pot, and it tasted pretty darn good as it was. So we let it go. As The Hub has said before about computer programming, “If you can’t fix it, feature it.” We’ll look for a suitable name for our fruit spread.

We don’t do anything special to our peach jam. No liqueurs, spices or flavorings. We keep it simple, and we like it that way.


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