I have been eating A LOT of peaches lately. Peaches and yogurt for breakfast, peach pie, peach buckle, toast and peach jam, peaches and ice cream. We’ve been getting flats of gorgeous suncrest peaches at the farm stand for the last month, but I think their season is finally reaching its end. If you still have peaches available, this jam is a great way to use them. The combination of sweet peaches and earthy rosemary is really nice, and also versatile, with the slightest hint of spice from the ginger. I love it on toasted whole grain bread with almond butter. It also goes well with goat cheese, ricotta, or brie for a sweet and savory treat. My man mixes it into vanilla ice cream. This is the second batch of peach jam I’ve made this summer, which means I have plenty for myself and enough to give away as gifts.
You know when you see their bright orange color that peaches are loaded with beta-carotene, a fat-soluble carotenoid that protects cells from free radical damage that cause cancer and heart disease. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body, which promotes good eyesight. Peaches also have potassium, an important mineral that can maintain healthy blood pressure and prevent kidney stones and bone loss. Peaches are low in calories and high in fiber, which means they can support weight loss by helping you feel fuller, longer.
Peach Rosemary Jam – Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, yields about 3 pints (six 8-ounce jars)
3 pounds peeled peaches
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups natural sugar
4 large sprigs rosemary (7-inches long)
3 pieces sliced ginger (1-inch long)
To peel your peaches, score an X at the bottom of each peach, drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then submerge them in an ice bath. This will help the skins slide right off.
Cut the peaches into 1/2 inch thick pieces and transfer to a large bowl (or the pot you will use to cook them). Add the lemon juice, sugar, and ginger and mix it all together. Then, take your rosemary sprigs and wrap in cheese cloth; secure with twine. If you don’t have cheese cloth you can toss the rosemary right in, but I find that keeping it contained prevents the needles from falling off, which can be a pain to retrieve in the end. Add the rosemary to the peaches, stir it all together, cover and let sit for at least 4 hours (toss it every hour).
When your peaches are ready to go, bring to a boil over medium-high heat in a large, wide pot. Cook until the liquid is dissolved, skimming the foam off the top and stirring occasionally. It usually takes about 30-40 minutes to get the consistency I like. Smash the peaches with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Dsicard the rosemary and ginger.
The next step is to seal and process your jam. Fill hot, sterilized* 8-ounce jars with hot jam, leaving 1/4 inch space in each jar’s neck. Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with sterilized lids and screw rings. Transfer jars, using tongs or a jar clamp, to the rack of a large canning pot filled with hot water, keeping jars upright. (Jars should be covered with 2 inches of water and should not touch sides of pot.) Cover and bring to a boil. Process jars in gently boiling water for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool, undisturbed. If you hear the “ting” of the lids, that means your jars are sealed. If they did not seal correctly, the lids will pop back when pressed. If this is the case, refigerate the jar immediately and use within one month.
* To sterilize jars and lids, submerge in boiing water for ten minutes. Jars should remain in hot water until they are ready to be filled.