Have you noticed a chill in the air these past few days, Allergic to Salad readers? Summer is drawing to a close with fall ushering in close behind. Already, some of the leaves have begun to change as the start of the school year approaches.
But the warm weather isn’t over quite yet, and delicious summer produce is still in abundance at the farmer’s market. In late August and early September, you might find an array of plump heirloom tomatoes, delicate baskets of fairytale eggplants, a rainbow of peppers in every shape and size. This is perhaps the best time of year for fruit, with nectarines, plums, and watermelon in their prime. While fall and winter produce is certainly tasty, one can’t help but feel a little sad as summer crops begin to phase their way out.
Luckily, there are ways we can keep the exuberant flavors of August alive and well through the dead of even a New York City January. Enter: preservation! Through canning, jamming, pickling, drying, freezing, and more, summer produce can be enjoyed throughout the year. Turn those tomatoes into a succulent sauce, then tuck away the freezer for a cold December night that calls for a rich pasta dinner. Vibrant green beans can be pickled with dill and garlic before being canned, the perfect crunchy snack for a gray November afternoon. And all that juicy, perfectly ripe fruit? Turn it into a scrumptious compote to be spread on breakfast toast throughout the school year.
Today, we’ll be sharing a recipe for partnerships and outreach coordinator Genevieve’s peach jalapeno jam. Sweet and just a little bit spicy, it’s wonderful spread on a crusty loaf of bread with a smear of goat cheese, perhaps a chunk of mildly sharp cheddar. Feel free to amp up the peppers if you like it hot, or tone it down if your crew would rather beat the heat.
Peach Jalapeno Jam
- About 3 lbs of fresh peaches (6-8 regular sized peaches)
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3-4 cups sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers
- 3 tablespoons Pectin powder
Put a small plate in the freezer so you can check the jam's consistency.
Peel the peaches. If they are perfectly ripe, this should be easy. If they need some assistance, quickly blanch in boiling water (about 30 seconds is enough), then transfer to a bowl of cool water. The skins should slide off easily in your hands. Remove the pit and roughly chop the peaches and pace in a large pot. Add the sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, ginger, and pectin. Stir to combine, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prep the jalapenos. Here, you can how much to add depending on how spicy you want it to be. You can skip the seeds and veins of the pepper to make it milder or no heat. Generally 2 peppers without seeds or veins will have some flavor, but not much heat. You can add some seeds and veins for a little bit of heat to your liking. After cutting the peppers in half lengthwise (and removing some or no seedand add the peppers to a food processor, and pulse until very finely chopped.
Add the peppers to the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and place over high heat. If you like your jam smooth, use an immersion blender before the mixture gets hot. You can also use a potato masher or something similar to break up larger pieces, leaving the jam chunky.
Bring the mixture to a full boil, and let cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from scorching. As the mixture boils, skim off any foam that appears on the surface.
To test the consistency of the jam, spoon a small amount onto the chilled plate. If the jam sets to your liking, it’s done! You can keep cooking until it sets to your liking. You can also taste the jam here: add some of the jalapeno seeds if you want it a bit spicier or more sugar (about ½ cuif it is too spicy.
Once the jam starts to set up to your liking, remove it from the heat and stir in the last tablespoon of lemon juice.
Carefully ladle the hot jam into your clean jars, leaving about ½ inch of at the top of each jar. Once the jars are filled, wipe the rims with a damp towel to ensure a clean seal, and screw on the lids.
What’s your favorite way to preserve the harvest? Let us know in the comments below!
See you next time,
The Allergic to Salad Team