September 21, 2013

Fresh Fruit Jam

On a recent visit with my family to Ad Hoc we were served, as the third course, a platter with nut-studded crisp crackers, various semi-firm cheeses and fresh fig jam.  The jam was simple and delicious and paired so beautifully with the cheeses that I was inspired to try fruit preserving when I got home. 

I was looking for an easy recipe because, let's face it, I have by bouts of laziness like anyone else.  It had to be a recipe that didn't call for huge quantities of fruit, sugar and a complicated canning and sealing process.  Who has time for that anyway?  

Naturally I turned to my friends at Cook's Illustrated who had a recipe for Easy Fresh Fruit Jam.  Three ingredients was all that was required: fruit, sugar and lemon juice.   Fifteen minutes later and I had an amazing preserve that could possibly even rival Ad Hoc's.

P.S. You can find the recipe for Cat Head Biscuits (in the picture above) from Cook's Country.  They taste amazing and are excellent with the fruit jam!

P.S.S. I love how the jam looks in these Weck mini mold canning jars.  I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma

Fresh Peach Jam

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 lb peaches (that are then peeled, pitted, halved and sliced thin)
1 cup granulated sugar (use a little more or less depending on the sweetness of the peaches)
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon

Set small bowl over larger bowl of ice water; set aside

In 10- or 12-inch skillet, bring peaches, sugar, and lemon juice to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly and skimming foam as necessary, until mixture begins to look syrupy and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes for strawberries and apricots and 8 to 9 minutes for plums, peaches, and nectarines; remove from heat. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon fruit mixture into bowl over ice water; allow to set for 30 seconds. Tip bowl 45 degrees to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is liquid and runs to side of bowl, return skillet to heat and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes longer; then repeat test. Cool jam to room temperature before serving.

Fresh Fig Jam

Same recipe as above, substituting 1 lb figs that have been washed, stemmed and cut in quarters for the peaches.  As the figs cook use a potato masher to mash the fruit together.


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