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Peach Calendula Jam

(recipe, Sarah Gilbert)

Introduction

This recipe may not make exactly 2 pints. Feel free to adjust quantities according to the ingredients available and the size of your pots and pantry. This is not one of those preserve recipes that you must follow precisely; it is also not a recipe that will give you guaranteed identical results. It is a thing of whim and love, not science or standardization, and should be treated as such.

Ingredients

  1. 3 to 4 lb. ripe peaches
  2. ½ cup honey, preferably mild-flavored
  3. ¼ cup Currant Juice for Jam or apple pectin
  4. 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice (optional)
  5. Several leaves honey melon sage or other fruity herb (optional)
  6. 1 large calendula flower, petals only

Steps

  1. Wash 2 pint jars or 4 half-pint jars and lids.
  2. Prepare a water bath by bringing a large deep pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to 185 to 200 degrees.
  3. Prepare lids by bathing in warm water (sometimes I just put 'em in my water bath).
  4. Peel and pit peaches (if peaches aren't extremely ripe, blanch for 1 or 2 minutes to remove peels) and chop flesh.
  5. In a wide saucepan or sauté pan, bring peaches, honey, currant juice or apple pectin, and citrus juice (recommended if you're not using currant juice) to a simmer. Add herbs, if using, and simmer 15 to 30 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Remove herbs and stir in calendula petals.
  6. Remove from heat and ladle the jam into jars. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth (I just use my apron), set lids on, and screw on rings.
  7. Drop in water bath, making sure water covers jars, and hold at 185 to 200 degrees for 15 minutes for pint jars, 10 minutes for half-pint jars.
  8. Remove from water bath and wait until jars pop to store.
  9. All canning instructions and kitchen scientists will tell you that jams made without sugar are unsafe to store in the same manner as conventional sugar-filled jams and should be kept in the freezer or used immediately. I don't believe it, but please use your own best judgment to decide where this jam should be stored.