I can't tell y'all how glad I am to have this jam preserved for the winter. Now I can pop open a jar in the middle of winter and instantly be transported to the Southern summers of my dreams. If they last long enough, that is. I've already got a couple of ideas swirling around in my head. They're gonna be good. I'll keep you posted :-)
Image: Courtesy of Apple a Day
Bourbon Peach Jam
from Lucy Baker via Serious Eats
3 1/2 lbs. ripe peaches
7 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. bourbon
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 tsp. unsalted butter
6 oz. liquid pectin (two foil packets)
1. If preserving the jam, begin by preparing the pre-washed jars and new lids. (Unpreserved jam will last six months in the refrigerator, so you may choose not to can the jam.) Place six half-pint jars on a canning rack in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover the jars and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let jars rest in the hot water. Meanwhile, place the lids and bands in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then remove pan from stove. Allow the bands and lids to rest in the hot water until ready to use.
2. While jars and lids are being sterilized, bring a separate large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath (large bowl of ice water) and cut a shallow X into the bottom of each peach. Drop them in, a few at a time, and blanch for about 30 seconds, or until you see a corner of the skin begin to lift. Remove and immediately put into the ice bath. Repeat with all peaches.
3. Using a paring knife, peel skin from peaches and discard. Roughly chop peaches then pulse in a blender or food processor until coarsely puréed. You should have about 4 c. of purée.
4. Transfer peaches to a large, heavy stockpot. Add all remaining ingredients except pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Add pectin and bring mixture back up to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
5. Remove pot from heat and skim foam from the surface with a metal spoon. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and discard.
6. Using tongs or a canning gripper, carefully remove sterilized jars, lids, and bands from hot water and set on a towel to prevent slipping. Ladle hot jam into jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims clean, cover with lids, and screw bands on just until you begin to feel resistance. Do not screw lids on too tightly, or jars could burst.
7. Return jars back to pot with canning rack, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest in the water for 5 minutes. Using gripper, remove jars and let them rest on the countertop overnight.
8. The next morning, check jar lids to make sure center button has popped. (This process can take up to 24 hours.) If lids do not pop within 24 hours of canning, you must reprocess jars to insure a proper seal has been achieved. Store preserved jam in pantry or cabinet up to one year.
Yields: 6 half-pint jars
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