Peaches, peaches, peaches (salsa, jam and jam)

Nothing says summer like fresh, juicy peaches.  I love it when you bite into them and the juices run down your chin while your taste buds do a happy dance in your mouth.

I bought peaches.  We ate peaches.  A lot of peaches.  So I bought more peaches and even more peaches.  Then, lo and behold, my family said that they were done with peaches.  How about pears or apricots?, they said.  So, what do I do?  That's right, I start canning peaches.  This year I made normal peach jam, peach jam with vanilla and sweetened with agave, and peach salsa.  Yum.

I do peel peaches when I can them.  For the jam, you want them mashed.  If they are ripe, you should be able to just squeeze them over your bowl, after peeling them, and have the pulp and juice fall into the bowl.  Have your kiddos do this.  It's pretty fun.

I don't double jam recipes.  Whenever I have it has not set up.  According to Alton Brown (who knows), pectin (which is made from apples) breaks down quickly.  When the batch is too large the pectin breaks down quicker than the temperature can reach the correct point, thus not allowing the jam to set properly.  Cool.

For the salsa, I like the peaches diced.  I peel the peach, cut horizontal rings around the peach, then cut them vertically like I was sectioning an orange. Works every time.  My salsa turned out a bit spicy this year due to the spiciness of the jalapenos from my garden.  That's okay.  We like it hot.

You need to get your canning supplies ready - hot water bath, jars, new lids, rings, jar lifter, etc.

Peach Jam

 4 cups finely chopped or mashed pitted peeled peaches
4 tablespoons lemon juice
7 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin

Prepare canner, jars and lids.

In a large saucepan, combine peaches, lemon juice and sugar.  Over high heat, stirring frequently, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  Stir in pectin.  Boil hard for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar and screw on band.

Place jars in canner, making sure that the boiling water covers the top of the jars and boil for 10 minutes.  Place jars on dishtowel on counter to cool.
  Check seal.

Peach Jam with Vanilla and Agave

5 cups crushed peaches (about 4 pounds)
1 1/4 cup agave syrup (Costco has it for a good price)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar (if needed-I used it)
1 box +1 teaspoon low-sugar pectin (3 Tablespoons+1 teaspoon)

Combine peaches, agave, vanilla, and lemon juice in a large saucepan.  Taste it.  If you think it needs it, add sugar.  Sprinkle pectin on top (it could clump) and mix into peaches.  Bring to a hard boil.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Ladle into jars, leaving 1/4 in head space.  Wipe rims of jars.  Place lids and rings on jars.

Place jars in a boiling bath canner.  Return to a boil.  Process 10 minutes.  Cool on a towel on kitchen counter.  Check seal.

Peach Salsa

1/2 cup white vinegar
7-9 cups chopped pitted peeled peaches
2 cups chopped onion (red onion is pretty)
4-5 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup liquid honey
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice of 2 limes
1 Tablespoon salt

Prepare canner, jars and lids.

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  (I combine the vinegar and peaches first so the peaches don't turn brown.)  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Ladle hat salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe rim.  Place lids and rings on jars.  Place jars in canner.  Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.  Remove jars, cool.  Check seal.

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