A few years ago, we made peach chutney without having all the correct equipment. This time, hearing that there were great peaches, my sister came over bringing her canning utensils with her. And the process was considerably easier!
Because there were more of them, we started with the peaches.
Heating the jars: fill the jars with water first then fill the pot; bring the water to a simmer to heat the jars. Then proceed to make the jam. (Notice that the pot for the jars has changed in the photo to the right. We realized after filling them with water that there was no room above the jars for more water for the processing.)
Use the tongs to lift the hot jar out of the water. Empty the jar into the pot before removing it to place on a teatowel.
Ladle contents into jars and check headspace. (Remember to poke the handle of the headspace checker down beside the sides of the jar two or three times to remove air bubbles. Check headspace again and add more jam if necessary.)
After wiping the rim and threads with a clean damp cloth, use the magnetized wand to retrieve a disc lid. Place disc lid centred on jar mouth. Screw on screwtop lid to fingertip tight (be careful NOT to overtighten; too tight can cause a poor seal).
Use tongs to lift the jar back over to the processing pot, keeping the jar upright at all times.
Use the tongs to replace the filled and lidded jar.
After processing, use tongs to lift the jars out onto a rack. (We forgot to poke the handle of the headspace checker into the jars before placing the lids on top; I'm guessing that this might be why the peaches rose to the surface.)
These Ontario apricots are the tiniest apricots I've ever seen. But they smelled like apricots (as opposed to the larger ones that came from far away).
After licking our fingers after making the peach jam, we assessed that there was toooooo much sugar and so decided to add less.... Alas, we still added too much.
We think we'll be able to rescue this overly sweet apricot jam by using it as a topping for ice cream.
The next morning, we tasted the peach jam on Tortano toast. Oh my. Oh my!! It's delicious. It's peachy. But very very sweet even when tempered with goat's cheese.
This batch of apricot jam was made with no added pectin.
One of the seals failed. We heard the unmistakable pop as the seal was created but saw that it had buckled. We're eating this jar right away.
We had to tast the apricot jam before making the second batch. This one was deemed to be a tiny bit too sweet still, so I added less sugar to the second batch and combined the two batches to make perfect (to my taste) apricot jam. It's wonderful on croissants.
It's wonderful slathered on pear bread toast.
Fruits of our labour after the first session of jamming: 6 jars of peach jam and 4 jars of apricot jam (stored for 24 hours under the cookbook shelf until checking the seals before labelling)
When we made the above jams, we didn't have a metal insert to keeps the jars upright during processing. (We discussed it at length, trying various cooling racks and vegetable steamers in our cupboards. They didn't work at all. So I stuck a tea towel down into the bottom of the pot. And that seemed to do the trick.) Afterward, when I was at the hardware store to see if they sold these metal rack inserts (no, of course not...), the fellow said that his mother always arranged lids on the bottom of the pot and rested the jars on the lids. I tried it and it worked pretty well. However, the pot isn't quite large (or small) enough to hold rings all across the bottom, making the center area of the pot unusable. What to do. What to do.... Cookie cutters! Metal cookie cutters!!
We found a footed chrome rack in Chinatown for only $2.70. It fits exactly in the bottom of the pot.
Now we have jam Galore
When we got the apricots for our second adventure in jam making, we also got 4kg of plums and made plum jam without pectin too. And now we have jam galore! Well, we have apricot jam and plum
jam sauce galore. The adventure in making jam without added pectin is still a work in progress. The plum jam was fabulous in Assyrian pies and Hamantaschen)