Source: Becky Courchesne, Frog Hollow Farm
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program as part of Summer Jam Festival on June 15, 2018.
Makes 6 half pint jars
Half pint jars, with lids and rims
Instant-read digital thermometer
Small serrated knife or paring knife
Large metal bowl
Large sauté pan or wide saucepan – 6 quart capacity
Dish towel – preferably not terrycloth
Magnetic “wand” (for picking up jar lids)
5 pounds ripe peaches (4 pounds after pitting and cutting)
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1½ pounds sugar
To prepare the jars: Wash jars, lids, and rims in warm, soapy water. Set the jars and rims to dry upside down. Place the lids in a small pot and cover with water.
To prepare the peaches (this step is optional – you can skip this step and begin cooking right away): Wash peaches and wipe with a towel to remove dirt and fuzz. Halve and pit the peaches, reserving 6 pits, if desired. Cut peaches into ½ inch thick slices. Toss gently in bowl with sugar. Cover and let stand for up to 4 hours at room temperature or up to overnight, refrigerated.
To prepare the peach kernels, if using: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 6 pits on sheet pan and roast for 10-15 minutes. When cool, grip one pit at a time with pliers so the edge of the pit is visible above the pliers. Rest the pit on a solid surface (like a metal table or other surface that won’t be damaged by the impact). Hit the edge of the pit with a hammer until the pit cracks open and the kernel can be removed intact. Return the kernels to the pan and roast for another 5 minutes. Set aside. Roasting the whole pit will make it easier to open and roasting the kernel will destroy the enzyme that generates hydrogen cyanide.
To finish preparing the jars: Lower the oven temperature to 250°F. Put the jars in the oven on a sheet pan to sterilize for 15-20 minutes.
To prepare and can the jam: Transfer the peach mixture to a large nonreactive pan and add lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the jam is thick, 20-25 minutes. If using, drop 1 kernel into each jar. Ladle the hot jam into the jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean. Check the temperature of the jam in the jar; it shouldn’t drop below 190°F. With the wand/magnet, place a lid on each jar. Screw on the rims so they’re secure but not tight. Invert the jars and set aside until the jars cool and the lids seal. If any of the jars don’t seal, transfer to the refrigerator and use within a week or so.