July 3, 2012

Peaches, Peaches, Everywhere!

Hey there!  Bet ya'll were wondering when you'd see another recipe around here, huh?  I know I was! Between our trip, Hannah's surgery, and our doozy of a storm that knocked out power for several days I haven't had much time to try new recipes, let alone get the regular daily chores done.  I'm up to my eyeballs in etsy orders.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take all the orders I can get!   I'm finishing up on my latest ones and working on a few custom orders so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Phew!

Last week, a few days before our wicked storm hit, I had hubby pick up a gazillion peaches.  They weren't ripe so I put them in paper bags to ripen.  Well wouldn't you know it that half of them were ripe the second day of the outage?  My oldest daughter, Rebekah, and I got peach jam canned and had planned on making jelly, but ran out of steam  It's hard to watch a wondering little guy (Samuel's crawling around and getting into everything!), keep kidddos occupied and do some canning when you're not at your own home (my in-laws graciously let us stay at their house while they were out of town).  But today I am working on that second batch of peaches.  So I'll be making jam and jelly.  Enjoy the repost of the recipe below.  It's super yummy and the jars look so pretty sitting on the counter!

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I bought a bunch of peaches last week. I made two Creamy Peach Pies, some peach jam, and a couple of gluten free mini peach cobblers (for my mom). (Don't get super excited...I haven't conquered gluten free cooking...the crust part was Gluten Free Bisquick.) So the peaches that were used for the jam and pies were peeled and pitted. I saved them! Did you know you could use them for something else? Yep. I'm super frugal. I happened upon the idea in an Amish cookbook.

Here's what I did. Don't worry, I won't bore you with a picture of every. single. ingredient, but I will share with you a few pics that are helpful. *wink*

Tools needed:  medium pan for making peach skin juice, large pan for making jelly,  medium large pan for boiling jars, smaller sauce pan for boiling lids and bands, wooden spoons, hot pads, towels and dish rags, ladle, canning jar funnel

Peach Jelly
4 cups peach juice (see below)
1/2 tsp. butter
1 package of pectin (I really like Kroger brand!)
5 1/2 cups sugar
canning jars, bands and lids (new lids!)

Get your jars in a boiling water bath to sterilize or you can put them in the dishwasher and run it on sterilize, but I think that uses a lot of electricity.

I just put a towel on the bottom of my pan, set the jars in, fill with water, then get them to boiling.  Turn it down to medium and get started on the jam.  They are sterile by the time the jam is ready to go in them (10 minute minimum).  Put the lids and bands in another small pot, cover with water, get them boiling and turn down on medium.

To make peach juice place the peach pits and skins in a pot and cover with water.  (I had about 15-20 peaches so this batch of juice made enough for two batches of jelly and then some.) Turn the burner on high.  Once it starts boiling, turn it down to medium/low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Let it cool a bit.  (I had to wait for hubby to get back from running errands, one of which was buying more sugar for me, so my juice sat a few hours.)  Then strain the juice.  You'll need 4 cups of juice for a batch of jelly. (If you have less than 4 cups of juice...like 3 or so, it will work if you add water to it to make 4 cups, but I wouldn't use more that one cup of water.)

Place the juice, butter (keeps the jelly from foaming), and pectin powder in the pan.  See how big of a pan I use? It's a must or you are going to get splattered with very hot jelly later in the process.  Trust me, I know!  Stir it on high heat until it boils.  A full rolling boil.

Add the sugar all at once and stir.  Keep stirring until it gets to a full rolling boil like in the picture above.  You want it to boil like that for 1 minute.  (Keep stirring...you don't want the bottom to scorch.)  Then take it off the heat and set a timer for 5 minutes. During that time I take all my jars very carefully out of the water.  I use a long skinny wooden spoon and pair of hefty tongs to do this.  I set them on a towel on the counter upside down.  Then I set the pan of jelly on a hot pad right next to them on the counter.  I also set the lids and bands next to those. 

When the five minute timer is up I skim the top of the jelly.  There will be a bit of foam, but not nearly as much as if you hadn't put the butter in.  Set a jar next to the pot, put the funnel on, and funnel jelly into the jar leaving 1/4 - 1/2 inch head space.  Move on to the next jar until all are full.  (I usually have a little bit left over that goes into a jar that will go in the fridge for breakfast the next morning.)

Once the jars are all full I wipe the rims of the jars with a hot damp dishrag.  You may need more than one, depends on how messy you were filling the jars.  *smile*  Next take a lid out of the water and dry it off with a clean towel, set it on the jar, take out a band, dry it off, then screw it on the jar.  Make sure it's tight.  Set jars upside down on a clean towel.  Repeat until all jars are tended to.  Place the jars 1 inch apart.  Once the last jar is flipped upside down set the timer for 5 minutes. (This helps seal the lids.) After 5 minutes flip them right side up and in an hour or so you'll hear little pops.  Check all the lids in a few hours to make sure the lids are sealed.  If you can press on the lid gently and there's some give then you need to pop that one in fridge and use within a few weeks.  There's no need to process the jelly/jam if your jars, lids and band are sterile and hot and your jelly/jam is hot.  I know what some people say.  I have done this for a few years now and never had a problem with my jelly/jam.  And I make a lot of jelly and jam!  The instructions on the box of Kroger pectin even tells you to do it this way.  Why waste the time and energy when you don't need to? Trust me.  It works.  Enough said?  Good.  *smile*

Phew. That was a process, but let me tell you it gets easier each time you do it.  I would much rather do several batches in a row this way because it becomes like an assembly line.  When my jars are inverted for 5 minutes I take the time to wash out the pan for the jelly, wash the jars and get everything set up for the next batch.  It's so rewarding when you're done to see all those pretty little jars lined up on the counter.  I love it and I hope you do, too!


Katie said...

I JUST used your recipe that you posted last year on the homemaking site yesterday! I linked back to that site, but I will go back and link to this post as well. Thanks for the great tutorial. It was my first attempt and I think it went well. http://nap-time-crafter.blogspot.com/

Bonnie K said...

That jelly is beautiful. I reuse the stuff leftover from wine to make jelly. It works great. I'm glad you are ok. I'm sure you will be happy to go home.

Unknown said...

These look so yummy! I'm a new follower and would love if you followed back at http://iheartpears.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I really don't feel comfortable not processing the jelly. Would I just process it for 10 minutes for jelly jars in a water bath canner?

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