five quarts of local peaches....
Lots of frozen peaches + a need for holiday presents = jam making time! Jam making is an easy hobby that makes something tasty for you and something frugal but luxurious to give away. You can get precise instructions at the USDA's home canning website. Best to follow their instructions, mind you, not mine. Much as I love a good science experiment, I don't want anyone accidentally getting botulism. Or suing me. But in case you're curious, here's how I made peach jam.
I took the peaches, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 9 cups of sugar, and 14 tablespoons of pectin. I don't show the pectin here but you can get it at most any grocer.
I then took inspiration from one of Brian's comments on my blog about the immersion blender being his favorite kitchen implement. I got out mine and beat the peach/lemon/sugar/pectin mixture into submission. Mwahahaha! Then I brought it up to a rolling boil. It has to be hot enough that you can still see the big bubbles on the surface even when you stir it. See them? That helps it become thick enough to actually be jam. I've forgotten this step and ended up with peach sauce in the past. Tasty, but not quite what most people want for the holidays.
Next I filled the jars by ladling the peach-flavored culinary napalm into them. A funnel is important because you really, really don't want to get this hot stuff on your fingers. Put the lids on the jars and put them into a pot filled with hot water and your canner basket. You can also use the jar grabber contraption in the picture to help you arrange your jars. You'll need one or the other to get your jars in and out of the hot water without hurting yourself. Cover the jars with water, cover the pot, and bring it up to a rolling boil. Start a timer for 10 minutes.
|Then go say hi to the gerbils|
These ended up being a pretty frugal gift. Tie a pretty ribbon around it, make a loaf of bread, and voila! Instant holiday gift.
Expenses for 12 eight-ounce jars came out to $2.25 per jar:
$15 for the jars
$10 for the peaches
$2 for the sugar (I think?)
Help from the husband: priceless
Thank heavens! The peaches are out of the freezer *and* I have some gifts ready to go.
And I didn't have to spend any extra money!
Have you tried canning?