Jam is the most familiar sweet preserve and perhaps the most satisfying to make. All it takes is fruit, a modicum of sugar, and a wide, sturdy cooking pan. Because the elements are so simple, quality matters a lot. My motto in Saving the Season is “good fruit makes good jam.” For this recipe, choose the best white peaches— the pick of the crop—and let them ripen for a day or two on the counter until they yield slightly to gentle pressure.
• 6 half-pint Mason jars with lids
• Wide, low-sided pot, such as a 6-quart enameled casserole
1) Cut a shallow X in the pointed end of each peach. Working in batches, blanch the peaches for 1 minute in a large pot of boiling water to loosen the skin. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and set aside. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins.
Slice the peaches into eighths, discarding the pit, then cut each slice crosswise into 5/8" chunks.
As you work, place the prepped fruit in a large bowl with the wine and toss occasionally to coat it evenly. You should wind up with about 8 cups of sliced peaches, or about 3 1/2 pounds.
2) Add the sugar to the peaches, and stir to combine.
Cover closely with parchment or cling wrap, and set aside to macerate for at least one hour, or as long as overnight in the refrigerator.
3) Once the peaches have released their juices,
turn them into the 6-quart enameled casserole and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce them at a steady boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and check the set by placing a teaspoon of hot jam on a chilled saucer and placing it in the freezer for one minute. If the chilled jam mounds and clings to the back of a spoon, you have a set.
If not, cook for a minute longer and check again.
4) Ladle the hot jam into clean half-pint jars that have been warmed in a 225-degree oven for 15 minutes. Leave 1/4" headspace.
Wipe the rim and seal. Allow the sealed jars to cool, then store the refrigerator and use within a month. If canning, process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, or follow the jar manufacturer’s instructions.
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