As a teacher, September’s arrival is met with equal parts anticipation and trepidation. I’m anxious to meet my new students, but I’m sad to relinquish summer and its endless bounty of sun, breezes, bike rides and the verdant harvest available in my garden and at local markets. September invites us to rush to preserve the lush gifts of the garden for savouring when the days are short and chilly. Preserves are like a photo album: they save memories of fruit at its peak of flavour and burgeoning baskets of tomatoes and peppers just asking to be taken home and banked for less abundant days. Standing on the New Brunswick shore this summer, warmed by the sun and with an endless vista of ocean before us, I turned to my sister and said, “Are you banking this?“
This September, “bank” some delicious memories in a jar for a “withdrawal” on a cold January day when you need a little sunshine!
This is a savoury but sweet grown up condiment for grilled cheese or paired with Brie or cream cheese on a cracker (super quick appetizer!). Use a heavy pot for long, slow simmering (I used a creuset casserole).
- 4 lbs. of fresh local tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green apple, cored and diced
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. cloves
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ cups of white sugar
- ½ cup of brown sugar
Put all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed casserole and cook on medium low heat for about two hours, stirring about every 20 minutes. Then watch for thickening.
If you want a very thick jam, cook till you can draw a spatula through the mixture and the bottom of the pot stays exposed for a moment or two. If you prefer it thinner, cook for maybe another 20 minutes to half hour to the desired consistency. Remember the jam will thicken as it cools. Ladle into clean jam jars (250 ml) and put new lids and rings on. (I usually wash my jars and place them in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes to sterilize before filling.) Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Store in a cool dark space.
Yield: 5 -250 ml jars.
Peach and Orange Jam
- 1-3 litre basket of peaches to yield 5 or 5 ½ cups of chopped peaches
- 1 large navel orange
- ¼ cup water
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 4 to 4 ½ cups of white sugar ( to taste)
Heat a large pot of water. When it boils, drop in 3 or 4 peaches at a time and remove with a slotted spoon after about a minute or less. When cool, the skins will slip off easily. Chop peaches, measure and stir in lemon juice to keep peaches from discolouring. Quarter the orange, removing the seeds and central core. Grind the orange finely in a food processor. Put the orange and water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently till the orange softens, about 10 minutes or less. Put peaches, orange mixture and sugar in a wide heavy preserving pan. I used a 12 inch one to speed cooking time. Cook at medium low heat, stirring frequently to avoid sticking or burning, for about ½ an hour or until thickened. I like a softer jam, but you can use a variety of tests to gauge when the jam will “set”. The cold saucer test and a candy thermometer are two options. There are many tutorials online with guides to checking when your jam has set. Ladle into clean jam jars, seal with two piece lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Store in a dry cool place. Enjoy on toast or fresh scones!
Yield: 7 -250ml jars.
*Here is a link to safe canning practices if this is a new venture for you: