It’s nothing new that I love peaches, which I think embody everything that’s good and right about summertime. I usually love them on their own and unadulterated, though occasionally I feel the need to mix it up a little bit. Part of the beauty of peaches is that they go so well with so many things.
I’ve been on a jam kick lately since peaches are the perfect thing to “put up” for winter. When making peach preserves last week, I had an idea – why not add a flavored syrup to the mix? A few days prior I’d cooked up some elderberry syrup for drinks and pancakes, and when combined with peaches, they make for a really sweet, interesting flavor combination. I’ve got all sorts of ideas for this jam, but you’ll have to wait for future posts to see what I’ve got planned!
Making jam is really easy. If you’re not ready for heat canning, this recipe could easily be made into freezer jam, though the consistency won’t be as thick as regular jam.
This isn’t a canning primer – if you need to know how to make preserves, I highly recommend Ball’s Blue Book of Canning, a cheap and exhaustive guide. There are also many awesome Internet resources on making preserves that you can check out. I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the basics of heat canning before you undertake a project like this. It’s an easy process, but there are some basic guidelines you need to understand, for your safety and all the folks you’ll be feeding!
I use Pomona’s Universal Pectin when I make preserves, and this recipe is based on the needs of this specific brand. If you’re using something else, you might need to alter the recipe a bit to make sure there’s enough sugar to set your jam. Every brand of pectin is a little different, so make sure you’ve got your measurements right. I like Pomona’s because you don’t have to use a lot of sugar (you could even use honey or agave nectar, if you like), while some brands require that you use more sugar than you do fruit. Ick.
Note: Pomona’s will also let you use Splenda, if you like, but not all brands will. Check your the label on your pectin package before picking a sweetener.
Here you go!
Peach Elderberry Jam
Makes 32 ounces of jam, or enough to fill about four or five 8-ounce jam jars.
- 4 cups peeled and finely chopped peaches
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup elderberry syrup
- 4 tablespoons calcium water (using the packet and direction that come with the pectin)
- 3/4 cup sugar or Splenda, ideally superfine (try pulsing in your food processor)
- 3 tablespoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin
- Wash and rinse your jars and lids. Put them in a pot of water and bring it to a simmer.
- In a saucepan, mash your peaches with a potato masher until you get a consistency you like. Feel free to leave chunks if you like a chunkier jam.
- Add lemon juice and elderberry syrup to peach mash, mixing well.
- Add calcium water to peaches, again mixing well.
- In a separate bowl, measure out and mix your sugar and pectin. Make sure it’s mixed very thoroughly.
- Bring fruit to a boil. Add pectin/sugar mixture in four increments, making sure to mix well after each addition. Keep mixing vigorously for two more minutes – if you don’t get the pectin and sugar fully dispersed, you’ll get weird lumps.
- Return peaches to a boil, and remove from heat.
- Fill jars to leave 1/4-inch of headroom. Wipe rims with a clean cloth and secure lids and rings.
- Heat process for ten minutes (this time may change depending on your altitude – please see a canning book for guidelines).
- Remove from water and let jars cool on a cutting board or folded towel on the counter. Let rest, undisturbed, overnight.