I realized too late last week that I had forgotten about the "French Word A Week"...again. You'll have to excuse me, it's a full, packed and pretty awesome summer. One busy making good use of all the produce around me too. Peach jam especially. Let's remedy my short term memory lately with this week's French Words: confiture de peche (click on the words to hear the pronunciation).
Beside working, I must take time to enjoy and make the most of the produce around me and nothing could be quite as perfect right now as South Carolina peaches. Actually, the scent of peach jam in the making while editing pictures or writing is quite distracting. But the wait is oh so worth it!
Making jam always puts me in a great mood. It reminds me so much of the steps my mother and grandmother took each summer to capture the best of what the markets had to offer. I remember afternoons spent dicing apricots, cutting strawberries, peeling oranges. Mounds after mounds of sugar. Hours of stirring and cooking down the fruits.
Everyone has their favorite recipe for jams and preserves, ours was pretty standard. Fruit, sugar, cook until caramelized almost then can. I have ventured out in other methods but I always go back to the same one. Nothing says home to me like the heady aroma of fruits caramelizing on the stove. So far I have turned a 25 pound box of Southern peaches into jars of Peach-Vanilla, Peach-Ginger and Peach-Grand Marnier jams.
Nothing made me happier to give a couple to Caitlin from Engineer Baker and her fiance who came for a quick visit this weekend. As a present, I offered to photograph their wedding this coming November and since they recently moved to North Carolina, I welcomed them to come down one weekend so we could do some informal engagement shots and we have been having a blast so far and the weekend is not over yet!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Peach Vanilla Jam:
Makes about 8 cups
3 pounds peaches, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1.5 pounds sugar
1-2 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise
juice of one lemon
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, place the peaches, sugar and vanilla bean. Add the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to heat and simmer 1-2 hours until the fruit has taken on a dark orange color and is almost caramelized. Make sure to stir every so often to prevent the bottom from burning. Can.
If you add liquor, add as much as you like up to 1/2 cup right before turning the jam off.