Back in the 1970’s my mother-in-law, Rena, introduced the family to a jam she made with her own home-grown peaches and red raspberries. Rena was well known as a superb cook, but this new jam took her to the level of gourmet. Everyone who tasted it, raved about it.
Rena, my mother, and I have been making this special jam ever since. But now that my mom and Rena are no longer with us, I’m the only one left – until this year. I’m happy to announce that Blushing Peach Jam has moved to the next generation. My eldest daughter Candice, has been infected with the “jam bug.”
Candice has been wanting to make the traditional jams but she also wanted to update them. She didn’t want so much sugar. She did quite a bit of research. [She especially likes Jam On by Laena McCarthy.] She learned that, by switching to a different pectin product, she could cut the amount of sugar way back.
Candice chose Blushing Peach as her first jam for sentimental and traditional reasons. I’m so glad she did. If she can make the family favorite into a healthier product, the rest of the jams will follow.
The original recipe for Blushing Peach Jam (first published in the Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook in 1972) called for the following ingredients:
- 2 cups peaches
- 2 cups red raspberries
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 7 cups of sugar
- 1 bottle liquid pectin
- a few drops of almond extract
In the twentieth century I honestly didn’t think too much about all that sugar. That jam was not a staple. It was a special treat. But now, with so much emphasis on healthy eating, I look at that 7 cups of sugar and think, “Whoa, I can’t believe we thought that was normal!” And now, here is
- 2 cups peaches, peeled and pit removed, and crushed
- 1 1/2 cups red raspberries (all she had – you could use 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 box *Pomona pectin (see below)
- A few drops of almond extract
- Mix together the fruit and lemon juice in a heavy pot. Add the sugar and mix well.
- Heat over medium-high heat until the jam comes to a full rolling boil. Stir constantly. Boil one minute.
- Remove from the heat and add the pectin. Continue stirring. Remove the foamy skim.
- Ladle the mixture into clean, sterilized jars. Wipe off the rims and cover with sterilized lids and rings.
- Lower the jars into a pot of boiling water. Boil for five minutes. Turn the heat off and rest for a minute or so. Remove from the water bath and set onto a rack or clean towels. As the jars seal you’ll hear that pleasant pop that tells you they are successfully sealed. Let the jam cool completely. As it cools it will become thick. Any unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and used first.
I’m glad the generation younger than me is focused on the health factors in whatever they eat. For Candice, reducing 7 cups of sugar down to 2 1/3 cups was an amazing feat as it did not mar the flavor or the consistency of the final product. But, as it often happens in generatonal things, Candice’s daughter, Q, is already thinking that 2 1/3 cups of sugar is too much!! Isn’t it great? Stay tuned. I’m sure Q’s generation will come up with the revision to the revision.
In the meantime, Candice is so excited about making jam that she has already moved on to her next proect: Four Berry Jam using strawberries, red raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. That sounds like a great combination, doesn’t it?
*A word about Pomona Pectin: My daughter bought her box at a local grocery store. There are also online sources. I found the website for the Pomona Pectin Company very informative with additional recipes. It is here: Pomona Pectin
This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature at Beth Fish Reads.