Ripe peaches ready for a jam session. (The plants are lemon gem marigolds; they have nothing to do with peaches, I just like them.)What's a girl to do on a gloomy August morning? Why, find some sunshine in a pot of almond-peach jam, of course.
We can't grow peaches here, but we buy a case or two each summer when they arrive fresh and fragrant at stores. And I like to make this almond-peach jam from "Preserving for All Seasons'' by Anne Gardon. The recipe is a small batch -- it makes about 3 cups -- and this is the first year I've actually canned it. Years past, I just kept it in the fridge because it always got eaten so quickly, but this year I'm canning some of it thanks to a confidence-building session with my jam buddies on a cold January day. Here's how I make almond-peach jam:
You'll need 6 peaches, cut into chunks, about 4 cups. Make the chunks tiny, as this jam is really more of a sweet spread than a smooth jam. I'm starting to call it "peach gravy" like my brother-in-law does. You'll also need 1 cup sugar and 1 generous tablespoon almond extract. Put the three ingredients in a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil, while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer until thick. The original recipe says about 10 minutes; I let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Ladle into sterilized jars and process. Or keep it in a container in the refrigerator. That's it. Couldn't be simpler. Couldn't be tastier on a slice of toast made with homemade bread.
For more ideas on cooking with peaches, check out Summer Fest, Week 2: Fruits from Trees at A Way to Garden. Also take a peek at mattbites.com.