Thursday, September 25, 2008

Morton's Orchards: A Good Beginning and Pink Peppercorn Peach Jam

AND Lavender Peach Jam too!
I have been agonizing for weeks on what I would use for my very first blog. Content is not an issue. Honestly, if you speak to me for more then five seconds you will quickly realize I am never short of ideas. In fact, my mind has always been in a huge hurry to know more, see more, store more, and to offer more. I really just needed a push and I think the end of one season and the beginning of another is just the nudge I needed.

Last week at our Farmer's Market, I was asked to do a few recipes involving peaches and plums. I was given a case of really gorgeous Palisade, Colorado Peaches (from Morton's Orchard) and told to have fun. Let me say this again...I was given a CASE! Swoon!! After I put the box in my front seat, and seat belted it in, I took all the smooth roads home. One cannot be too careful, this was a CASE after all.

I had visions of cakes, chutneys, salsa, pies and even butters. But in the end, I decided to do four, low sugar no pectin peach jams. I took Pink Peppercorn Peach and Vanilla Bean Peach jam to the market this week and as usual we ran out. I hope you will try these easy small batch recipes.

See you at the Market.

Chef Deb

                                   Peach Jam Recipes
               Small batch, no pectin Spoon Jams

When buying peaches at the peak of their season consider buying more and storing them in the freezer to make simple jams during the colder months. These recipes must be stored in the refrigerator and should last for 2-3 months.
Peel peaches by cutting an “x” at the bottom of each, put into a pot of boiling water for 30-45 seconds, remove from hot water and put into a bowl of ice water. Peels will slip off easily. Slice and chop peaches and proceed with recipe or freeze them in plastic freezer bags.

The Fruit to sugar ratio is 3:1. Recipes can be doubled, tripled or halved.

                                Vanilla Bean Peach Spoon Jam
Yield: Three  8 oz jars

6 cups fresh peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups sugar
1/2-teaspoon butter
1 Vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scrape out
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Layer peaches and sugar in a bowl, ending with sugar, cover and let rest for several hours or overnight.
Put peach and sugar mixture into a medium heavy bottom pot, add butter. Bring the peaches to a boil and continue boiling up to 30-35 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir it on occasion. Add Lemon juice, whole vanilla bean and its seeds, and cook for 5 more minutes. Begin checking for “gel”, by taking a spoonful and putting a few drops onto a cool plate, wait 1 minute and touch it to see if you like the consistency. When ready pour into clean warm jars, wipe the lid, and seal tightly. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerator for 2-3 months.

Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam: add 1 Tablespoon Bourbon with the vanilla and lemon juice. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Pink (or Green) Peppercorn Jam: Proceed as above; substitute 1 teaspoon crushed Pink or Green Peppercorns for Vanilla bean.

Lavender peach Jam: Steep 1 Tablespoons dried lavender buds in 1/4 cup hot water for 15 minutes, strain out flowers and keep the lavender water. Pour lavender water into pot at the beginning of the cooking process. Omit vanilla bean, but add lemon juice. When pouring the jam into jars, sprinkle a few lavender buds on top. (Always start out with less lavender as the flavor can be overpowering. The flavor will concentrate as the jam reduces).