I really hate my dishwasher’s sanitize cycle. It just takes way too long. But, I am getting ahead of myself…
This evening, it being not quite time to pitch the yeast into the wine begun yesterday, and the smell of ripe peaches in the kitchen, I made peach jam. It was a long process, made that much longer in waiting for the aforementioned household appliance to “do its thing”.
Knowing it would take forever, I started by tossing the canning jars (12 8 oz. jars, though I only expected to need 10) in the dishwasher and starting it. I also sanitized my hydrometer in preparation for later in the evening. Cleaning preparation out of the way, I got to work measuring out sugar, pectin, and finally peaches. The recipe I “followed” called for 4.5 cups of white sugar and a no-sugar pectin package (plus 25-30% or so). I don’t have any no sugar pectin packages, and I didn’t have quite enough sugar for this, coffee in the morning, and a potential second batch of jam. I did however have a bunch of brown sugar. I decided to change things up by using 1 cup of brown sugar and 3.5 cups of white sugar. Probably will be too sweet for my liking (and Kim’s), but we’ll see how it goes. I think any less would cause problems with the pectin I am using if I want a good set.
I weighed out just over 3.5 pounds of peaches, and placed then in a pot on the stove that was at a near boil. About 45 seconds later, I moved the peaches to a colander, and quickly thereafter to a pan of ice water. Having thus blanched the peaches, the skins came off like the magic I hoped I had performed. I then proceeded to remove stones, and a couple bad spots.
The potato masher made a nice mush of the peaches, and I ended up with almost six cups of fruity goo, just as expected.
Unfortunately, the dishwasher was still on hot-wash, not having reached the sanitize cycle. So, with time to kill, I pulled out one of the beers I had recently purchased to try. Thomas Creek Brewery has an Imperial Russian Stout by the name, “Your Black Heart”. I half expected a highly bitter drink, and was pleasantly surprised by a malty beverage that was quite tasty. In fact, maybe one of the best beers I have tasted. It has just a hint of that “burnt” flavor that comes with highly roasted grains, but not enough to mess up the flavor. There was some hoppy bitterness, but not near what I feared. The color was black as night, as the name suggested, with hints of red in the light. Overall, I am very satisfied with my selection!
While drinking my stout, I did half an hour of Spanish with Rosetta Stone on my wife’s machine. Having completed that, I realized it was finally time to pitch yeast. So I rehydrated a packet of Pasteur Champagne yeast per the directions. Checking the SG on the peach wine, I found a 1.095 solution. Excellent! I pitched the yeast, stirred, and sealed the lid.
And with that out of the way, the dishwasher was still not done. I checked the jars…they were hot. The hot wash is just that, hot. I decided to skip the full on sanitization. I got to work heating the fruit. For starters I added a 1/2 cup of water to the fruit in the pan (recipe said to), along with the pectin (1.5 packages) mixed in a small portion of the pre-measured white sugar. I brought that to a rolling boil, then added the remainder of both sugars, and returned the whole to a boil. As normal, I kept that boil going for 1 minute, then removed from the heat.
I skimmed the foam (less than I first expected during stirring), and then pulled jars out of the dishwasher. I filled exactly 10 8 oz. jars, just as the recipe suggested. Probably the first batch of jam that “sized” right for me! It is super sweet, as I thought it would be. But it is very tasty, too. With jars filled, I closed them up and then canned for 7 minutes in boiling water. I’m pretty happy with the look after removing from the heat – very even distribution of fruit and gel as far as I can tell, from top to bottom. Was the first time using my new canning rack for the bottom of the pan; I am very happy with that purchase!
I cleaned up, and reviewed my peach supply.
I used 3.5 pounds of peaches for this batch of jam, and 15 pounds for the wine. I’m guessing I have another 14 pounds. Which either means I can make 3 more things of jam/jelly, and leave some for eating, or I can make 4 more batches of jam. It won’t be this evening, either way – but it must be soon. The peaches are quite ripe, and won’t keep too much longer. I’ve already lost a couple. I’m thinking a batch with less sugar (still with the pectin I have), maybe a batch with dried hot chili pepper from last fall’s garden, and another batch with cinnamon and vanilla. I’m sure the other members of the house would appreciate actually getting to eat some in non-jam, non-fermented form…