On Friday afternoon I put a shout out on Facebook inquiring about our local peach orchard, "Does anyone know if Brazelton's has peaches yet?"
Well, nobody knew if Brazelton's had peaches yet but a sweet friend did offer as many peaches as I could pick from her tree..."ripe and ready to pick". So I set some time aside on Saturday to swing by and pick peaches.
I meant to go peach picking early, in the cool of the morning...but seeing as how I can't seem to get a move on until around 10am these days, and "early" is a relative term...I got there in the afternoon. And yes, it was hot. But I picked a ton of peaches. And came home covered in dust, dried leaves, a few ants and sticky peach juice. I was a happy girl.
As I was leaving my friend warned me, "You need to do something with these today...they are ready to go." So I got to thinking about what I'd make. The verdict? Slicing some to freeze for later use, a peach dump cake that was so.dang.good (but, of course, I used fresh peaches because I had them and made my own syrup), and at Chris' request...peach jam.
I decided on freezer jam since I'd never made it before and (if I'm honest) I didn't want to heat the kitchen up with a hot, boiling canner. I peeled and pitted a ton of peaches, mashed them up, tossed them with lemon juice to stop the browning then mixed in a LOT of sugar. I let that sit while the pectin dissolved in boiling water then added that to the mix. According to the directions I stirred for three minutes then ladled the peach mixture into canning jars, leaving enough space for expansion in the freezer. The directions also said to let the jars sit for 24 hours at room temperature, then freeze. So, I did.
[Insert birds chirping.]
[Now insert the record scratching.]
Unfortunately, I'm sad to report my jam didn't turn out. After 24 hours, it didn't gel. It's still very runny. And I'm thinking that, yet again, my aversion to measuring things worked against me. I have a feeling I had too much peach mixture for the amount of pectin I added...and it just wasn't enough to get it to gel.
So...now I have runny peach juice with pulp in canning jars.
BUT, maybe all is not lost. Here's my plan...
I'm going to put the peaches in a saucepan and see if I can't boil it down a bit in hopes of thickening it up. Maybe even add some apple peel to add more natural pectin. Hopefully it works. If not? We have three (good size) jars of peach ice cream topping. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, I suppose.