This was going to be my first, so I tried to read through most of the entries and jam making secrets from several websites. I was specifically looking for a peach jam recipe, because I knew that the sugar-fruit ratio vary according to type and ripeness of the fruit. I was set to prepare a peach jam/marmalade/preserve (if you are also confused as to which one to call your preserved fruit, check out the Wikipedia entry for definitions – mine is somewhere between jam and preserve) with the addition of a mango that I couldn’t resist when I saw on the shelves and of course a vanilla pod for the delicious smell.
I am quite happy with the result. Pulsing the fruit just a little in the hand-held blender yielded the crunchy texture that I was aiming at. The vanilla smell could have been stronger, I think. The sugar amount is perfect though; not too sweet – just the way I like.
Browsing through many tutorials on how to preserve fruit, I must say that I found Delia Smith’s “How to make marmalade” quite useful, especially tip #12 on testing the set. She recommends that you put three small bowls in the freezer to test the set of the jam/marmalade at certain intervals. You put a small amount of the boiling jam, keep it there for a minute then run your finger through it. If a crinkly skin forms, then it means it has reached the setting point. I was content with the result on my third try.
I was rather disappointed to see that most of the vanilla pod seeds stayed within the foam that I had to throw out. Although I still see some of the seeds in the jar, I would have preferred that most of them stayed in.
PEACH, MANGO & VANILLA JAM
- 1.75 pounds (800 gram) peaches
- 0.45 pounds (200 gram) mango
- 1.55 pounds (700 gram) of granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla pod (cut in half lengthwise, seeeds scraped)
- 1 lemon
- After skinning and pitting the fruit, cut them into small cubes and put in a non-reactive bowl together with the sugar, juice of 1 lemon and vanilla. Leave covered for 24 hours in the fridge.
- Take out the mixture and process to your liking with a hand-held blender (I did very little as I wanted to leave some pieces for chewiness).
- Transfer to a large pot and bring to a boil. After 5-10 minutes, turn the heat down to medium and continue simmering.
- After 25 minutes place a small amount of jam into one of the bowls you reserved in the freezer and test for the set. Repeat until a crinkly skin forms when you push the jam. Transfer the jam into your sterilized jars close the lid and let cool upside down. Enjoy!