Thursday, July 15, 2010

breakfast shots

Aren't they beautiful - peach jam and blueberry jam warmed by the rays of the afternoon sun.  And, who would not want to add a 'shot' of either of these to their breakfast toast.

In the past, I have followed Ina's recipe and made strawberry jam.  After that very successful attempt, I am no longer afraid of the fruit, sugar, and thermometer.

I didn't use commercial pectin in the jams pictured here, and the peach jam is slightly runnier than some might prefer.  And, I did add a vanilla bean after I removed the peach jam from the heat.  An entire vanilla bean was too much for this small batch of jam.  Even though the aroma of the vanilla bean lying on the counter near the cooking peaches was delectable, the vanilla flavor is too intense for my pallet.  I would only add about 1/3 bean in the future.

As for the blueberry jam, the berries have enough natural pectin to produce a jam with 'just the right thickness.'

I now have about 5 cups of jam aging and waiting patiently to be used in fruit bars, or on top of macaroons, or...on my morning toast.

Blueberry Jam
4 c. fresh blueberries from local Farmer's Market (some crushed and some left whole)
2 c. granulated sugar (I whirl mine in the food processor for a few seconds)
juice of 1 medium lemon

Mix all ingredients in a thick-bottom pan.  The thicker, the better; this will help prevent sticking/burning when the fruit and sugar get very hot.

Stir to encourage sugar to dissolve; continue to stir often to prevent burning.

Inhale frequently, as this jam smells of wonderful summer fruit as it cooks.

Heat to 220 degrees on thermometer.  After you make a few batches of jam, you will notice that the bubbles in the pan are thicker, and juice splatters out of the pan, and everything tries to burn on the bottom when the jam is just right and done.  Until you reach that observation confidence, I would use the thermometer.  ( I use a thermometer) The process took about 30 minutes of cooking time.

Makes about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of jam.

Peach Jam
Replace 4 c. blueberries in recipe above with 4 cups peeled and sliced peaches.  Follow all other instructions as listed above. 
This took about 45 - 50 minutes.  Next time I will add a little Granny Smith apple chopped very fine (to add a little pectin) to aid in the jelling/jamming.

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