Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Search for a Blue Ribbon Winner

After attending the County Fair this year, I vowed to take a stab at entering some of my preserves.  Now I certainly make a mean blackberry jam, but I wanted something unique.  My peach mango was certainly a crowd-pleaser but I figured I could kick it up with crystallized ginger.  The results were pretty amazing if I do say so myself.  The ginger adds a background note that makes the fruit sparkle.

Below is  the recipe, but some helpful hints.

If you have never canned, I recommend the ball blue book as a start.  I'm assuming y'all know how to sterilize jars etc so as not to poison anyone.  If not please do some homework.  

I personally like to have chunks of fruit floating in the jam.  In order to achieve this, I purposely use some under-ripe peaches.

I keep a dish in the freezer to test whether the jam has jelled.  It hastens the cool down time so you can see if you are dealing with a liquid or a solid.

I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet jams.  Standard recipe might call for 9 cups of sugar, I use 6.  This means more time cooking but the fruit flavors pop when there is less sugar.

A trick for peeling the peaches.  Boil them in water for 1-2 minutes and cool in ice bath.  This causes the fruit to expand then contract making peeling easier. 


8 cups peeled and chopped peaches
4 cups peeled and chopped mangos
6 cups of sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
4 tablespoons natural pectin.

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, then split into 2 batches.  Jam just doesn't gel well in large batches.  For each batch cook over the highest heat possible while stirring constantly.  I cannot stress this enough for this low sugar jam.  You need to have the jam so molten hot that it is still sort of boiling while you stir.  Cook in this manner until the jam gels to the desired consistency.  Periodically test the jam's consistency by spooning a drop on the frozen plate.  For me this took 25 minutes, but as my husband says I like jam the consistency of black tar heroin.

Et voila