Another recent discovery is how much I like sweet spiked with a tiny bit of hot. Enter peach jam sweetened with maple syrup and warmed with red cherry peppers.
Peach Lime Basil Jam
4 lbs fresh peaches
1½ cups sugar
3 large green apples halved, cored and seeds removed
3 tablespoons lime juice
zest of 3 limes
3 tablespoons julienned lime basil (or regular basil)
Prep your peaches as shown in the Peaches Part I post.
Coarsely chop the peaches into a non-reactive pot, add the sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until enough liquid from the peaches accumulates to nearly cover them.
Next, place the peaches in a colander and strain the juice into a bowl. Return the juice to the pot, reserving the peaches. Add the apples to the juice and bring to a boil over medium high heat until the juice is reduced to about half the original volume and is syrupy. By using the apples you are increasing the pectin content.
Return the peaches to the pot, add the lime juice and zest (adds more pectin as well as flavor) and simmer for 15 more minutes or until the peaches are very tender.
Remove the apples. Don't throw them out, they're quite tasty!. Mash them up and have some applesauce!
Remove the jam from the heat and allow to settle a few minutes. Skim off any foam if necessary and stir in the lime basil.
Fill jars leaving 1/4" head space. Wipe rims, adjust lids and rings, and process for 10 minutes at sea level (adjust time for your altitude) in a boiling water bath.
Peach Jam with Maple and Cherry Pepper
This recipe uses low/no sugar pectin and contains twice the amount of fruit recommended for a single batch of jam according to the pectin box directions. I did something here you're not supposed to do- I "doubled" the recipe as far as the pectin is concerned. There's always a good chance a jam or jelly won't set if you do that because there's too much water to evaporate and everything gets overcooked. I also used bulk pectin instead of the pre-measured box variety. Just for your reference, 1 box of pectin equals 3 tablespoons of bulk pectin.
7 cups peaches, peeled and chopped
¼ cup of hot peppers, roasted and skins and seeds removed
1 ½ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 boxes or 6 tablespoons of low/no sugar pectin
1/4 teaspoon maple extract, optional
To roast peppers: preheat oven to 450F. Place your choice of peppers on a baking sheet in the oven and roast until the skins are blackened. Remove and allow to cool. Wearing gloves, slice open peppers, discard seeds and membranes, and scrape pepper pulp off skins and reserve. Discard skins.
In a large sauce pan cook chopped peaches and pepper pulp over medium-low heat until the peaches are tender. Add the lemon juice and low/no sugar pectin and combine thoroughly. Bring to a boil.
Add maple syrup and cook at a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to settle. Skim if necessary. At this point you can taste for maple flavor and if you feel it's weak, you can add up to 1/4 teaspoon of maple extract. Ladle into jars leaving 1/4" head space. Wipe rims, adjust lids and rings, and process for 10 minutes at sea level (adjust time for your altitude) in a boiling water bath.