You can't eat english muffins without jam. It's completely obscene, like kissing your uncle or going to an Aerosmith concert after 2000.
Right now, right at this moment, there's a lot of fruit in season. Blueberries; blackberries; strawberries (okay, maybe it's a little late for strawberries.) And peaches. At our local farmer's market, there was an old married couple hauling out thousands and thousands of peaches from the back of a giant truck. I wish we'd taken pictures; imagine a table piled high with baskets of peaches beside a moving van stuffed with filled baskets. I've never seen so many in my life.
So we bought a few to make jam. Why not? Making jam takes less than half an hour and is cheaper than the nastiest off-brand. And it tastes lovely.
Here's the best advice I can give you: buy a box of pectin for low-sugar recipes (I went with Sure-Jell!) and go with the box's instructions (which are reprinted below - along with a few clever tips). Ready? Here we go!
Peach Pie Jam
Makes about four jars
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes (plus a 24 hour waiting period, if you're a masochist.)
4 pounds peaches (6-7 very large peaches!)
3 cups sugar
1 box Sure-Jell pectin for low-sugar recipes (Why low sugar? Because, in my opinion, it thickens better. If you'd rather, go get the other kind and follow the instructions there!)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 tbs honey (optional)
If you have a kitchen scale and you don't want four jars, feel free to half the recipe - and the ingredients above. That's what I did! There should be 49 grams of pectin in the box, so measure out 25 grams and follow the below instructions. Here we go!
1. Dice the peaches. I prefer to leave some big chunks, because that's pretty tasty stuff. Big chunks of fruit make jam smile. You should have about 4 1/2 cups. Place into a large pot with the lemon juice.
2. Mix together 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pectin. Add to the fruit and stir well. If you want to be fancy pants, add the cinnamon and nutmeg and honey!
3. Bring to a full rolling boil on high, stirring constantly. Add the remainder of the sugar all at once, continuing to stir!
4. Boil for exactly one minute, so sayeth the bossy instructions. Remove from heat and pour into jars. "Process", if you're one of those wise people who know how to can stuff. I don't. We eat jam too fast to preserve it, too.
5. According to the directions, let it set up on the counter for 24 hours. Trust me; it'll be better if you wait; it thickens up overnight. But if you can't stand that wait, I totally get you. I took a spoon to the jar at this point.
After 24 hours, it should be set up. Refrigerate and enjoy. Feel free to spread it on toast, english muffins, and Aerosmith.
Robert's take: This is probably my favorite jam. When you put it on toast or english muffins, it tastes like you have a mini peach pie. What could be better? Nothing. It's the antithesis of Van Halen.
Rebecca's take: This jam is awesome! It's true what Robert says about this tasting like a little pie... And that is a really special thing to have for breakfast!