Introduction: Peppered Peach and Rosemary Jam
This jam is special. Sweet white peaches, earthy rosemary, and just a hint of spice from the cracked pepper, the combination is delightful. I serve it with cheese such as brie or chevre. It is a definite crowd pleaser and an excellent hostess or holiday gift.
This recipe makes 5 half- pints.
3 pounds white peaches (you can use yellow, but I prefer the white varieties for this jam)
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 cups sugar
4 large sprigs rosemary
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Peel and pit the peaches. (Very ripe peaches are very easy to peel with a knife. If your peaches do not peel easily, they are probably not ripe enough. If you must make the jam without allowing them to ripen further, you can boil them for one minute, then plunge into cold water to loosen the skin.)
Slice the peaches into 1/2 inch slices. Place peaches in a large bowl, add lemon juice, sugar, rosemary, and pepper. Cover and let stand for 4 hours. Stir every hour to incorporate the sugar.
Transfer peach mixture to a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes, until mixture is syrupy. Lightly mash the mixture to break down peach slices, leave 1/3 of wedges intact. Discard rosemary sprigs (you can fish out the individual rosemary leaves if you want, but I leave some in for color and interest.)
Ladle jam into hot sterile jars. Leave a 1/2 inch head-space. Top with a new lid and band. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for half-pint jars. See Home Canning Basics for more information about the canning process.