The weather has cooled to near-perfect temps, and I found myself with the itch to make some jam. Found a great book at the library, Put ’em Up! Fruit by Sherri Vinton, that has great recipes with clear directions, and the one glitch I encountered today while making Classic Peach Jam was addressed sufficiently for me to fix the problem and come out with some great tasting topping for my toast! The glitch, by the way, was that I couldn’t get the jam to “sheet” or “wrinkle,” two tests that help you determine if the jam will gel properly. Vinton’s book explains that ideally, jams should be made up mostly of just-ripe fruit, with 20 to 25% of the mix being slightly underripe fruit. The underripe produce contains more pectin than the fully ripe goodies, so your jam will gel properly if you have this mixture of ripe-and-nearly-ripe fruit. I had bought the peaches from a nearby orchard Thursday, but couldn’t work with them until today (Saturday), and in just that short amount of time, many of them were on their way to overripeness — thus, my predicament with non-gelling jam. Luckily I caught my husband by phone before he left the farm store in town, so he brought home some pectin to work its magic. Ta-da!! It (and he) saved the day.
The other peach product I made today from Vinton’s recipes is called Peach Melba Compote. Adding fresh raspberries to each canning jar and letting the peaches pre-“soak” before canning in a water-lemon juice-sugar mixture for a couple of hours makes this delicious concoction turn out like it does — a beautiful mixture of the golden yellow peach slices and red raspberries suspended in a clear liquid. I think Thanksgiving will be a perfect time to open one of those beauteous jars and try out the contents on some biscuits or pound cake . . . makes me happy just thinking about it! Wishing happiness comes your way on this beautiful September day, as well.