Peach Jam

Luckily I had this post saved because of right now I’m pecking slowly at the keyboard.  We’ve just gotten back from the cottage where I fell down some stairs and broke my wrist.  So, unfortunately, my baking and posts will be put on the back-burner for about 6 weeks (unless my dear husband would like to help out!).  I will try to get some things posted during that time but I don’t know how much.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this delicious Peach Jam!

With the amount of peaches I’ve been buying this summer and the amount the kids have been eating, I was surprised to find enough left to make any jam at all.  I made this peach jam on the same day that I made my Cherry Jam because I already had everything out and ready to go.   I don’t recall ever trying Peach Jam before but figured the kids would like it or I could just give it away.   I know my dad would’ve taken it for sure.  As long as it has sugar in it, he’ll eat it! 

While I was making this jam I didn’t want to follow a recipe.  I figured that since I just made the Cherry Jam I could just tweak that a bit and hopefully come up with something good.  As it turns out, the jam turned out great, the kids love it and, sorry Dad, you’re only getting one jar.  But, I’ll make more if you ask me nicely!

Cherry Jam

With the great selection and price of cherries this summer I have been buying a lot.  I thought for sure my kids would eat a ton of them but I found a bag, untouched, in the fridge.   That’s when I decided I should use them up before they went bad.  My father-in-law had first introduced me to the Cherry Jam from Smuckers.  The first time I tried it was at their cottage and I had it, of course, on my mother-in-law’s homemade bread.   Wow, was it ever good!  I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was.  Maybe I was expecting it to be chunky, which I don’t like in a jam, but it had such a smooth texture and it wasn’t overly sweet.   Every time I returned to the cottage I was always excited to wake up to homemade bread so I could toast it, lather it with butter, and then lather it again with Cherry Jam.  My mouth is watering now just thinking about it.

I wanted to re-create that kind of jam so that I’d always have some in stock when I wanted it.  I think this recipe turned out quite well and it’ll be a keeper in my recipe files.  I mashed the cherries well with my potato masher as they were cooking so that I wouldn’t have too big of chucks in the jam.  You could also put the cherries in a food processor if you want the jam to be extra smooth.

Recipe adapted from Sugarcrafter

Strawberry Vanilla Jam

Vanilla – one of my favorite flavors this year.  I never realized the impact vanilla could have on a recipe until I bought some good quality REAL vanilla.  This jam recipe calls for the best – vanilla beans.   I’ve used vanilla beans before in cheesecakes and what a difference it makes.  I’ve now started adding vanilla in my coffee and protein shakes…..yummy!

Combining these two flavors together in a jam is delicious.  The vanilla flavor really stands out and takes ordinary strawberry jam to the next level.

Strawberry Vanilla Jam

6 cups crushed strawberries

1 pkg. light fruit pectin crytals

4 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

2  vanilla beans

Mix pectin crystals with 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the sugar; stir into berries. Scrape seeds from the vanilla beans; stir into berries along with vanilla pods.  Bring to full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Add remaining sugar and return to full rolling boil; boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Skim off foam with metal spoon. Discard vanilla pods.

Using funnel and 1/2-cup (125 mL) measure, fill hot 1-cup (250 mL) canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) headspace. Remove any air bubbles, readjusting headspace if necessary.  If necessary, wipe rims. Cover with prepared lids. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight.  Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Makes 8-1cup (250mL) jars of jam.

Enjoy!

Recipe:  Adapted From Canadian Living

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam | A Sweet Baker

On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (well I’d say early, but I didn’t feel so bright) to go strawberry picking with my two boys, Isaac and Joshua.   When we arrived at the strawberry patch one son gladly came along and picked (and ate) while the other one stayed in the truck trying out his new DS game.  This year I couldn’t believe the amount of strawberries.  They were so plentiful.  I think the amount of sunshine and rain our area had helped out with that.  We managed to go home with four 4 L baskets of these mouth-watering strawberries.  Thanks to my old sewing teacher and her mom for helping fill two of our baskets for us!  It was a beautiful morning!

First thing I had to do was wash all the berries and cut the tops off.  Since I left them overnight before doing this, some got a little squishy and rotten, but not too many.  I didn’t realize how long it would take to clean and cut up 16 L of strawberries!Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam | A Sweet Baker
Mashing the juicy berries with my trusty ol’ potato masher!

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam | A Sweet Baker

After all the cooking was done, I finally added the balsamic vinegar and crushed black pepper.  Notice the plate the pepper is on?  I had to include something of my Mere’s (my grandma) today, which is her teacup plate, because homemade strawberry jam always reminds me of her.

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam | A Sweet Baker

This jam turned out great.  My husband thinks it a little too sweet (surprising, since he has a big sweet tooth) but I think it balances out the balsamic vinegar and pepper perfectly.  The cute labels on my jars are from limeshot.com.

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam
6 cups crushed strawberries
1 pkg. (49g) light fruit pectin crystals
4 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. coarsely cracked black pepper
Mix the package of fruit crystals with 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the sugar and stir into the strawberry mixture and pour into a large dutch oven. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat; stirring constantly with wooden spoon.  Stir in remaining sugar;  bring back to a rolling boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.  Skim layer of foam with metal spoon.  Stir in balsamic vinegar and black pepper.
Using funnel and 1/2-cup (125 mL) measure, fill hot 1-cup (250 mL) canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) headspace. Remove any air bubbles, readjusting headspace if necessary. If necessary, wipe rims. Cover with prepared lids. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
Makes 8-1 cup (250 mL) servings.
Enjoy!
Recipe: From Canadian Living