I canned for the very first time on my own.
And every lid pinged.
You have no idea how excited I am about that.
I have been helping my mom can a variety of jams, jellies, sauces, and produce for as long as I can remember. But for some reason I never actually committed to memory how it’s done. About a month a go I visited my parents and got a refresher, which I will post about later (which will include how my mom makes the best applesauce in the world.)
My first one-man canning job was vanilla peach bourbon jam. Originally it was going to be blackberry sauce made from the freshly picked berries from my alley. But I found a few pounds of peaches on the cheap. And a sample-size bottle of bourbon. I just couldn’t resist.
I did have one horrifying moment (all the time until I opened a cool jar) where I thought the jam didn’t set. But I found out later that it set right up in the jar. It’s just a bit soupier when it’s so hot.
Vanilla Peach Bourbon Jam
Found on NOLA; by Judy Walker.
Makes about 18 4-oz jars (I had 3 pounds of peaches and I believe I got 5 1/2 pint jars. ~Carrie)
Before you begin this recipe either wash jars in the dishwasher on the extra hot water cycle, or wash them with hot soapy water and boil them for 10 minutes, leaving them on dry or in the boiling water until you need them for your jam. This sterilizes the jar and lengthens the shelf life of your jam.
1 package low sugar pectin
3.5 pounds peaches
4.5 cups sugar (check the pectin package for exact measurements–the instructions differ slightly depending on the brand of pectin).
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 vanilla bean, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon almond extract
Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then slip off the skins. Chop the peaches into 1/4 inch dice, removing the pits.
Put the peaches, sugar, lime juice, and vanilla bean into a large non-reactive pot (stainless is good). Mash the peaches with a potato masher, until they are your desired consistency. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Over medium-high heat and bring the peach mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Boil for 1 minute, then add the pectin (or do as the pectin package directs). Bring the jam to a rolling boil once
more, stirring constantly, and boil exactly 1 minute.
Remove the jam from heat. Stir in the bourbon and extract, ladle the hot jam into jars (be sure to wipe off the rims with hot water to make sure they’re clean for a tight seal! ~Carrie), and screw on the lids. Then set the jars on a rack in a large pot of boiling water–the water should be 1 inch above the jar tops.
Bring the water to a gentle boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes (I boil the water first, I boiled my jars in the pot and then stuck them in a bowl of hot water while I filled them up with jam ~Carrie). Then remove the jars from the hot water and set aside to cool.
When the jam is cold, check the seals on the jars by pressing on the centers of the lids. If the lids do not spring back, they are vacum sealed and the jam can be stored at room temperature. If the lid flexes, there is no seal, so store the jar in the freezer or refrigerator instead.
P.S. Canning isn’t as scary as you think. It’s easier than pie dough. Or macarons. Go ahead, try it. If you’re in Seattle I’ll even show you the ropes. What little I know anyway.