I had a plan. A jam plan. And then I got in a jam with my jam plan.
I’ve been wanting to learn to make jam. My boyfriend’s mother makes jam, pickles, etc., and they’re excellent. I could eat her marmalade by the spoonful (and have).
And considering I have a loaf of homemade bread, and there’s a sale on jars, it seemed like a good time to learn.
It all started out fine. I found a sale on peaches, and proceeded to prepare them for jamming:
Peaches boiling in water to loosen the skins
It started out well. I sterilized the jars, chopped up the peaches, measured out my sugar, pectin and citric acid, and set them to cooking…
Peaches boiling in sugar, pectin and citric acid… this is where it all begins to go awry…
Now, if you’re an experienced jammer, this is the point at which you’re going, “What?! No! What are you thinking, you whackjob?!” Because, as you know if you know what you’re doing, the sugar doesn’t go in the pot until AFTER the fruit, etc. has boiled down. I started to realize something might be going wrong when it wasn’t looking jammy and then when the whole kit and caboodle boiled over. Like this:
Right before the big “oh shit” moment of the jam plan
I consider peachy sugar pectin syrup pouring into my stove to be a punishment for not having read the directions carefully enough. The part where I sliced open my nail bed while cleaning the stove (after cooking, no need to worry about blood in the jam) was overkill.
I tend to be a big improviser in the kitchen. If something goes wrong, I try to find a way to salvage it rather than just toss out the baby with the bathwater.
So I drained off most of the liquid, and figured as long as we were going rogue, might as well go all the way. A splash of vanilla, a few shakes of cinnamon, a pinch of cardamom and a grating of fresh nutmeg… and stir on…
Grating nutmeg with my Microplane
Now, the original jam plan was intended to make six jars of peach jam. But, the best laid plans, as they say. My mistake cost me four-and-a-half jars. Again, reading directions is important.
Yep… for my nine peaches I peeled, pitted and cut, my three cups of sugar (and that’s a reduced sugar recipe), my pectin and citric acid, I ended up with enough jam to fill only one full jar:
The lonely little jar, boiling away…
The remaining jam went into a Tupperware to be used in the next few days.
So, you know, the jam plan didn’t go as planned (again, that reading thing is important). But it was a valiant effort, and it did result in a rather tasty jam, even if I only got one jar. The final result was sweet, but not cloying, and plenty peachy with hints of spice.
Now, let’s just hope I sealed the jar properly…
The only thing not homemade is the butter. And, you know, the plate.