Yesterday we did pie, today we use the even riper late harvest peaches and make jam. Jam is a great thing to do with late season fruit, you know the uhh… well, the fruit that is maybe less traditionally beautiful than the fruits from a couple weeks ago.
But that’s okay, here at Port and Fin we don’t believe in silly traditional beauty norms (my butt isn’t getting fatter, it’s getting more voluptuous). Send us your smooshy fruit, your bruised peaches and softening pears! For today, we are jamming!
This particular jam recipe is something special, and I definitely cannot take credit for it. The original Heavenly Jam was made by my husband’s great-grandmother. The combination of peaches, pears and apples was, at the time, born out of convenience more than anything- in their Saskatchewan yard they had one peach tree, one pear tree and one apple tree.
If I don’t like to waste food now I can only imagine what they must have felt about it back in the 1920s and 30s. You use those bruised peaches! Cut the bruises out for goddness sakes! (also it meant enjoying lovely summer flavours year-round then, when imports from sunny climates weren’t quiiiite so common).
Great-grandmother passed on to grandmother, who moved to Vancouver in the 1940s. Picking up where the tradition left off, every summer grandma would head to the Okanagan, the heart of British Columbia’s abundance, and get peaches, pears and apples.
In the 1980s, when her daughter (my mother-in-law) got married and started a family of her own it only made sense to take over the making of this spectacular jam. Peaches, pears and apples… and ginger.
Adding ginger was my mother-in-law’s clever idea. Previous generations had toyed with adding pineapple, but it became too cloyingly sweet. Ginger, on the other hand, adds a brilliant complexity. It is subtle enough to taste but many might not be able to put their finger on it… what is that extra something? It elevates these preserves to the next level and I will never omit it myself.
Much to my mother-in-law’s chagrin at times, I’m sure, I’m not much of a traditionalist. I didn’t have fruit cake at my wedding (or a registry… or a veil…). I don’t have any ‘family names’ to use for future offspring. My family does not have deep roots anywhere, rather we float along like dandelion seeds with each generation (our hearts are tied tightly to each other but not to geography).
This, however, this is a tradition I will uphold. It jumped genetics this time and was picked up though marriage but from mother to daughter, I will make this jam every summer now, and if I ever have a daughter or son, maybe they will one day want to learn how to make it, too (or not, who knows- follow ya bliss, Junior Finn of the future!) (Editors Note: I will not be calling any of my offspring Finn).
|Heavenly Jam - Peach, Pear, Apple & Ginger|| |
- ~12 peaches, peeled and pitted (8 cups macerated)
- ~12 apples, peeled and cored (8 cups macerated)
- ~12 pears, peeled and cored (8 cups macerated)
- 24 cups sugar (1 cup of sugar for each cup of fruit)
- Fresh ginger- a knob the size of your thumb, grated
- 1 very large stainless steel pot
- 1 food processor
- 1 long stem stirring spoon
- Sanitized mason jars and lids
- Wide funnel
- First, you will want to clean out your mason jars. There are several methods for doing this (I have added some helpful links above) but I like to take a short cut and run them through the dishwasher on the ultra-hot 'sanitation' setting, which also heat dries the jars. Do ensure your jars are dry before canning with them.
- To peel the peaches, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slice a small 'X' into the skin on the bottom of each peach. Place the scored peaches into boiling water for 30-40 seconds then shock them in a bath of very cold or ice water. The skins should peel off quickly and easily. Quarter the fruits, remove the pits and whiz them through the food processor. You should have roughly 8 cups of macerated fruit. Pour chopped peaches into your large jam pot.
- Peel apples and pears with a vegetable peeler. Quarter and core fruits and blitz through a food processor in batches, similar to how you cut the peaches- small chunks are okay but try and get any larger pieces broken up. You should have roughly 8 cups of chopped pear and 8 cups of chopped apple. Add both to the jam pot.
- Add 24 cups of sugar (1 cup for each cup of fruit) and grated ginger and stir well. On the stovetop, turn the heat on the jam pot up to high, stirring frequently to ensure the bottom doesn't burn. Once the fruit has come to a boil, turn the heat down to med-low and simmer for 40 minutes or so.
- Using a spoon and a little bowl, skim the 'foam' that forms on the top of the jam as it is simmering. This 'jam waste' is cloudy but still delicious and is a great way to test for flavour and adjust the ginger to your palette!
- When the jam is ready, the colour will have darkened slightly to a beautiful gold and the bubbles coming to the surface with 'burp' slowly, indicating a good thickness.
- Fill a small saucepan with water and bring the water to a boil. Place the center lids of your mason jars (with the rubber seal) in the boiling water to sanitize them.
- Using a ladle and a wide funnel, pour your jam into one of the sanitized mason jars. Using a moist cloth, wipe down the edge of the jar to ensure a tight seal. Using tongs, lift one of the mason jar lids out of the boiling water and place on top of the filled jar. Screw on the outer lid tightly and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the jars until all the jam has been canned. As you go through this process you will begin to hear a satisfying 'popping' noise as the hot jars seal themselves- that's a good thing! A 'pop' means the jar is well sealed and the jam will keep well in a cool dark place for up to a year or two!