Peaches and Blueberries

Peaches and blueberries. Sounds rather tasty just saying (or writing) it! Thursday (Aug 1), I made peach jam, based on the Ginger-Peach Jam recipe on Friday (Aug 2), I made Blueberry-Basil Preserves, with the help of a post over at Love & Olive Oil. Both went pretty well, I think.

The peach jam mostly went by the recipe. I skipped the ginger for this run. Maybe some other time. Kim would like me to make some more with less sugar (10 cups is quite a bit). I’d like to make some with a hint of chili pepper from our garden…

In any case, I took about 4 1/2 cups of chopped peaches (peeled and pitted), and set them on to boil with a 1.75 oz package of dry pectin. Once it came to a boil, I added in the copious amounts of sugar, little by little. I brought back to a boil and then cooked for a minute longer, just as the recipe said. The end result was 8 8oz jars of jam. I had been curious, since the recipe never said how many it made…

Canning wasn’t the smoothest operation, and the first four jars got about 15 minutes of sub-boiling temperatures before their 10 minutes at full boil. I’ll know better next time. There is a noticeable clear layer of jelly at the bottom of these. But it doesn’t look like any serious harm was done.

The Blueberry-Basil I did do some modification on. Rather than blending the majority of the berries, I chose to crush them with a potato-masher. This should hopefully end up in a less homogenous product – more like the preserves I grew up with. The recipe called for blending or using a food processor (not quite to the point of liquification). I did use the blender on the remaining 1/4 cup of blueberries (as the recipe called for).

So the basic recipe… Put almost 3.5 lbs of berries on to boil after crushing/beating them to a pulp (save a 1/4 cup of the 3.5 lbs for blending with the other ingredients). To this add a 1/4 cup of sugar that has been fully mixed with a 1.75 oz package of dry pectin. While this got going, I put the remaining blueberries, the lemon juice (1 tbsp), water (1/2 cup) and the basil (1/2 cup coarsely torn) in the blender, and blended it. I added it to the pan with the cooking berries. Once this mixture was at a boil, I added the bulk of the sugar (4 1/4 cups) in one fell swoop, and mixed it in. I cooked it for 1 minute once it returned to a full boil.

This recipe made 3 big jars (16 oz?) and 4 8oz jars. The stuff tastes and smells heavenly, despite my wife’s remarks that I should have made some without basil. Canning went smoothly, now that I had figured out to start the canning water onto boil first.


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