Thursday, June 21, 2012

Remaking Peach Jam

A couple of posts ago I shared my not-so-perfect peach jam experience.  I had tried to be resourceful and use some very ripe yellow peaches along with some less ripe white ones.  I was hoping the two levels of juiciness would balance one another out, but they did not.  The result was a syrupy jam, too thin to use on toast or biscuits.  I decided to remake the jam after a week of being out of town, and the new jam is much better which proves that all is not lost if you end up with a too-thin jam.  

Remade jam-  thicker and more spreadable.  Yay!!!
There are several reasons that a jam can be too thin and not set properly.  Some of the most common reasons are:  overcooking the jam, using overly ripe fruit with too much liquid, or making too large a batch at one time.  Some jams also take longer to set after processing so you should generally wait a week or so before remaking to determine if this is the problem.  In my case, after a week my jam was still not set so I knew I needed to remake and reprocess it.  

This is a picture of my thin jam after making it the first time.  Notice that the peaches had risen to the top and the clear juices were at the bottom.  When the jar was tipped over, it was the consistency of syrup and, of course, the components of the jam were not dispersed evenly.  

Jam before being remade.  Notice that the peaches are at the top and the peach syrup is at the bottom.  Not exactly the jam I had in mind. 
To remake the jam, three ingredients were needed in addition to the original jam.  In this case, my jam had used powdered pectin, so I added 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered pectin per cup of original jam.  I added the pectin and water to a large pot on medium high heat and stirred it constantly until it came to a boil.  I then added my original jam and the additional sugar and brought that to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once boiling, I allowed it to remain at a rolling boil for 30 seconds before removing it from the heat. I skimmed the foam from the top, scooped it into my hot sterilized jars (as in the original recipe) and processed it according to the original recipe.  

Ingredients for remaking the jam including the syrupy jam in the big bowl.
My new jam is the correct consistency...thicker yet still spreadable, and even though it has been processed twice, the taste has not changed.  It is still purely peachy and fresh with chunks of peach throughout.  The peaches are also much more evenly dispersed in the remade jam which makes for a more enjoyable product.  

So, remember, if you make a jam that is too thin and are not happy using it as a syrup over ice cream or cake, it can easily be remade using the ratios of ingredients above.  If you used liquid pectin or no pectin, visit the Montana State University Extension page for ratios to fit your recipe.     

Two Peach Jam-  makes six to seven 8 oz jars

I have made this jam before with excellent results when using ripe but not overly juicy fruit.  In the case of the remade jam discussed in this post, my fruit was overly ripe resulting in the thinner set jam.  If you make this with appropriate fruit (don't experiment like me), you should have no problem.  The recipes comes from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and can be made entirely with yellow peaches as well.

4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and finely chopped (2 cups yellow, 2 cups white)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 box (1.75 oz) regular powdered pectin
5 cups granulated sugar

Combine the peaches, lemon juice, and pectin in a large nonreactive pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Add the sugar all at one time and stir constantly until it returns to a rolling boil.  Boil for one minute.  Remove from the heat.  Skim the foam from the top with a clean spoon.

Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth.  Place sterilized lids and rings on the jars, and process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Allow the jars to rest five minutes in the pot before removing them to a clean towel to cool.  Check seals after 24 hours.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, I must have done something wrong. The jam looks even thinner now than before :(