Another small step toward domesticity... I made jam!
I've helped my Mom make jam many times - I distinctly remember being put to work as a child and teenager, and even as recently as two summers ago I helped Mom make jam and other preserves (my Mom makes the best blackberry jam in the world!), but I never tried to make any of my own. And, in the interest of full disclosure, this is freezer jam and nothing I did involved boiling jars or anything like that.
Baby steps, people.
I had picked a bunch of rhubarb at my in-laws' place this morning, and even though rhubarb is getting a bit out of season, I thought if I chopped it up finely enough it would be fine. I know most people tend to pair rhubarb and strawberries together, but I really don't care for that combination. After Mom's blackberry jam, my next favourite preserves is peach jam, so I decided to go for a peach/rhubarb collaboration.
In the end I used 5 peaches and 4 long stalks of rhubarb - I probably should have used a bit more, but I was sort of eye-balling the 4 cups of crushed fruit the Ball Freezer Jam Pectin package called for. This is what I did:
Chopped up the rhubarb. I looked for the reddest stalks I could find for colour, but my inlaws' variety is more green than red.
Attempt to blanch the peaches. I was an abysmal failure at this. I put them in boiling water for a minute then put them in cold water, and the skin wouldn't budge. Tried doing it again, and all I succeeded in doing was cook my peaches a bit. Also, I learned very quickly these were not clingfree peaches. Since I couldn't take off the skin, I sliced up the sections of peach quite thinly to avoid big chunks of skin in the jam.
Mix everything together in a pan and mash it with the potato masher. The recipe called for crushed fruit, but neither the peaches I bought nor the rhubarb are very juicy on their own. The recipe also said you could cook the peaches for a bit to make a thicker jam, so that is what I did - and mashed the softer, cooked stuff afterward.
Add in the 1.5 cups of sugar. Probably could have done with less given the fact I was a little short on the fruit mixture, but I don't mind sweet jam. Mix in the sugar.
Then mix in the pectin, stir for 3 more minutes, and then pour into the 5 - eight ounce containers. Um, yeah... I was making dinner at the same time as doing this and completely spaced taking pictures of those steps. Let them sit in the containers with the lids tight for 30 minutes, then put 4 containers in the freezer and keep one for immediate use in the refrigerator.
Isn't it pretty?
After letting it sit in the refrigerator through dinner, clean up, and talking to Mom on the phone, I toasted a piece of bread and slathered on some jam...
I love the fact it still has quite a bit of chunks of fruit for texture:
And a close up of the jam:
So, it looks pretty - but how did it taste? The chief jam-taster in the house gave it a thumbs up!
It really is good - I was surprised! After putting it in the refrigerator I was having second thoughts about the rhubarb and how it was not cooked very much - the peaches broke down faster than the rhubarb - but the worries were for nothing. The jam is sweet, tasty, and the chunks of fruit are so nice. Willow ate most of my toast and declared she wanted it on her toast for breakfast in the morning.
I think I will try to make freezer jam again after all my containers are cleaned out (these containers are specifically for freezer jam - they are made by Bernardin and I bought them in Canada a few years ago). What combination will I make next? I'm thinking of something with plums...