Guest Post: Let’s Jam! Brian’s Lemon Vanilla Peach Jam

photo(5)Now that the last few days of summer are slipping away, it’s time for some autumn-goodness. My good friend Brian has a jam-tastic recipe for you, the pictures of which have me drooling. He’s going to walk you through the process of making your own lemon vanilla peach jam. Without further ado, I’ll leave it to him! By the way, this is Vegan MoFo post #5, one quarter through!

Hi, I’m Brian, I live in Brooklyn, grew up a hot minute away from the resident blogger, Nicole, but met her in England, real life friends! I’m going to grad school, have a runty mini schnauzer of a dog and like kitchen adventures

So, now that we’re all bffls, I have a confession. I’m not vegan. Actually, I have two confessions: I also really like jam. However, guess what, Jam is TOTALLY vegan. Now, I tend to spend a CRAZY Friday night sitting in bed eating a pound of Brie with jam on a rosemary cracker (No judgement new best friends!), BUT you can totally make some vegan brie and do the same damn thing! I know, it’s a great idea. That’s why we’re best friends, but Best Friends, you gotta learn how to make your own jam in order to complete this ideal Friday night

So, increase your vegan street cred and make your own jam! I’ll show you how!

I found a few recipes from around the web and sort of tailored it to my tastes. Go crazy, there’s only a few things you should know.

FIRST, you will not die of Botulism poisoning, as long as you remember two things, Botulism likes things not acidic and it doesn’t like heat. The way you make this jam (and all non-refridgerate shelf stable jams should) involved both! PHEW.

SECOND, some fruit makes AWESOME jam, Like Apples, or Peaches. Some makes sort of weird jam, like Watermelon, (Yes it’s possible, but mostly it tastes like caramel watermelon jam because you literally have to boil it FOREVER.)

Guest Post: Let’s Jam! Brian’s Lemon Vanilla Peach Jam

– 4 large Peaches (make sure they’re as firm as can be, you don’t really want them ripe or squishy)

– approx. 8 ounces of Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup, etc.

– 1 large lemon, zest peeled off and cut up into little pieces, I used just half of it, but if you love lemon GO CRAZY. You also need 3 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, so juice that sucker too!

– 1 Vanilla Bean pod (I bet you could use just vanilla extract, but then you don’t get the cool vanilla bean dots in the jam).

– Canning/Jarring jars that will hold 1 pint of jam, (So 2 half pints, 4 ¼ pints, however you wanna divvy it up).

NOTE: You’ll also want to have or borrow a pot big enough to boil some water to sufficiently cover the jars, some way of getting of the steaming hot jars (they sell special jar lifters, but you could just as easily tie some string around the glass lip of the jars so it makes a little handle and use that to fish it out), a small pot to simmer the lids in and a medium pot to boil the peaches into JAM.

LET’S JAM!

Now, you can be fancy and boil water and then dip the peaches in for a minute and then dunk them in ice water to peal the skins off, but the first time I did that, it was a mess, the peels didn’t really slid off like they do with tomatoes and honestly a vegetable peeler is SO MUCH EASIER, but you know, if you’re a bit of a masochist do your thing! Either way, get those babies peeled, pitted and diced roughly and put them in the medium pot (off the stove).

Throw in the honey or syrup or whatever you fancy for sweetness, the lemon juice, the zest and scrap the sliced in half vanilla bean and throw the bean paste in with the peaches! The only things you shouldn’t fiddle with is the ratio of peaches to lemon juice. The juice is the acid, which helps to keep Mr. Botulism away.

photo(2)Diced peaches in a bowl with vanilla

It’s this point that you want to put the lids in the small pot with water to simmer and then kept warm (don’t boil the lids, it’ll mess with the seal).

Next, get the large pot and put a dish towel in the bottom and fill it with enough water to cover the jars twice over and get it boiling. The dish towel is there so the jars aren’t testing on the bottom of the pot, it creates a barrier between the jars and the pot.

Put the jars (with no lids or bands)  in the oven and crank it up to 300F.  Make sure all of this is HOT and doing it’s thing and then lets get back to the peaches.

Give the peach mixture a good stir, then put it on the stove on high and basically boil it forever. It is going to get a darker color, and get much thicker. I have a crappy stove and so it took about 20 minutes. Just keep stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.

photo(4)Jam boiling away!

The jam is done when it looks and acts like jam, no really, it’s that easy. (If you want to be absolutely sure that it’s ready, put a spoonful of jam on a freezer chilled plate and see if it gels up, if it does, you’re ready!).

Now, carefully take the HOT jars out of the oven and put them on a folded over towel. Glass doesn’t do well when its hot and touches very cold things, or when it’s cold and touches very hot things, towels should always be put between it and things not the same temperature, just to prevent the jar from shock breaking.

Carefully funnel/pour the jam into the jars, wipe the rims with a clean dry towel and take the simmered and also hot lids carefully out of the water, shake the excess off (as best you can) and put them on the jars, then screw the bands down onto the jars so that the lids are firmly on.

photo(3)Jam about to be lidded!

Now get your jar tongs or whatever you’re going to use to prevent you from scalding your hands and put the lidded jars carefully, upright, into the pot of boiling water. Keep the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes and then carefully lift them out of the water and put them on a folded towel.

The jars have sealed and will be alright unrefrigerated if you’ve followed all these steps and the lids have popped down once the jam as cold. You should also be able to lift the jars by just the lids (with the bands unscrewed and off). If any of this hasn’t happened, no worries! Just put the jam in the fridge and consume it within a few weeks, otherwise the jam should be good for a year.

That’s it folks! There’s some awesome websites devoted to jam making and the US has an awesome home preservation website which will tell you the basic requirements to make safe jam (in terms of acidity and boiling water processing), now, go out and buy some peaches and makes some jam!

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