Thankfully it is still peach season.  Labor Day is rapidly approaching and I realized that I need to start preserving peaches (rather than sticking them in pies and cobblers) if I want to enjoy them this winter.  Thankfully the State of Washington came to my rescue.

Washington put up a new site, Sweet Preservation, which focuses on canning recipes for Washington grown fruit.  The site is quite brilliant, in addition to recipes it has tutorials and downloadable canning labels. One quick read through and you will be inspired to make jam gift baskets for all your friends. 

Washington is famous for its Yakima peaches, so of course there are a number of peach oriented selections to choose from.  Their Peach Jam with Brown Sugar and Rum posting quickly caught my eye.  My husband had just returned from a multi-day float trip on the John Day River – and still had some Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum left over.  I took it all as a sign from some higher power…peaches are in season, I need to preserve some peaches, a peach jam recipe that calls for rum and left over spiced rum.

Besides just sounding oh so yummy – it was a no pectin recipe.  I have been experimenting with no pectin long cook jams and love their concentrated flavors.  This time – after two gel set tests there was gel set success – no additional assistance pectin required – woo hoo.  Not sure why it worked – I did buy peaches that were not perfectly ripe (fruit loses pectin as it matures) and I was quite generous with the lemon juice – using a combination of bottled and fresh.  Or, perhaps, the canning gods were just smiling on me this afternoon.

This recipe made four 1/2 pints.  I was a little sad that there wasn’t more jam when it was all over.  That seems to be the way with long cook jams – they reduce down a fair amount to get that amazing concentrated fruit flavor.  Guess I just need to remember to make more than one batch next time.

Recipe (courtesy of Sweet Preservation)

6 cups peeled and chopped peaches

6 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup rum (I used Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum)

2 cups white sugar

Mix peaches, brown sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 of the rum in a large non-reactive bowl – mix well and let sit at room temperature for 6-12 hours.  Pour peach mixture into a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil – stirring to prevent scorching.  Once a rolling boil is reached turn down heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes (until fruit is translucent) – stir frequently to prevent scorching.  After fruit mixture is cooked add white sugar, turn up heat to medium-high and bring back to a full boil.  Continue cooking until gel set is reached (it took me about 20 minutes).  Once gel set is reached – add remaining rum and continue cooking for 2 more minutes.  Ladle into sterile jars and process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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