Peach Ginger Jam (makes 3-4 pints, or 6-7 1/2 pints)
5 1/2 – 6 cups of peaches, peeled and sliced
5 – 6 cups sugar (depending on how sweet the peaches are, use more or less sugar)
2 TBS lemon juice
6 coins of fresh ginger (peel ginger, and slice into coins)
Prepare the peaches: if the peaches are difficult to peel, drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge into ice water and peel. Otherwise, peel and pit, then slice the peaches, measuring as you go. Add lemon juice.
Prepare the sugar: it is easiest to measure the sugar in advance into a separate bowl.Into your big pot, pour the peaches and lemon juice, and then add the sugar and ginger. Turn the heat on medium-low, and allow the fruit and sugar to heat up. As the sugar dissolves, stir the fruit and attach your thermometer. Cook the jam, stirring occasionally, maintaining a low boil, until the temperature reaches 220F (if you are cooking at any altitude over 1000ft, check this chart for correct temperatures). Total cook time is about 1 hour 30 minutes – watch closely and stir often in the last 30 minutes so you don’t scald your jam.
In the meantime, while your jam is cooking, wash the jars and rings with hot, soapy water. Fill your canning pot with water and bring to a boil. Sterilize your jars for at least 5 minutes. I usually bring the water to a boil, add my clean jars, turn the heat down, and allow them to sit there until I am ready to fill with jam.
Take your lids (the flat portion with the rubber ring) and place them in a small pot or bowl. Pour boiling hot water over the top and set aside until ready to use.
Gather your other supplies, including towels and set up your work surface, which should be close toyour canning pot. Set up a place to bring the pot with jam, and next to that, put a folded towel with your ladle. Nearby, put your wide-mouthed funnel on a plate (to catch the drips). Have your lids and rings close by, along with another towel laid out on the work surface – this is for the finished products.
Ok, you are now ready to go – bring your jam over to your work surface. Working quickly, but not in a rushed way, use your jar lifter and tongs to remove a hot jar from the water bath. Turn it over on the towel to remove extra water. Flip back and put the wide-mouthed funnel on top. Using the ladle, scoop a small amount of jam and pour into the jar. Fill the jar almost to the top, leaving a 1/4 inch gap at thetop. Remove the funnel, and if any jam has accidentally ended up on the rim of the jar, use a towel dipped in hot water to wipe clean.
Using your tongs, grab one of the lids and put atop the jar; seal with a ring. Tighten, but not too much, and flip the jar over onto the clean towel. Repeat with remaining jars and jam, working quickly but not in a rushed way. As you get to the end, if you have any leftover jam that won’t fill a jar completely, pour into a bowl and store in the fridge for immediate use.
When all the jars have been filled, using your jar lifter, return the jars to the canning pot. Make sure that the water is 2 inches above the lids, and boil for 5 minutes (again, if you are making jam at altitude, check this chart for processing times). Remove to clean towel to cool. As the jars cool, you will hear little pops as the vacuum seal is created.
After the jars have cooled, label and store in a cool, dark place. And think about your next canning project!