In a jam: Turn summer fruit into flavorful preserves

By Wendell Brock

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published: Tuesday, July 17 2012 4:02 p.m. MDT

Ladle hot jam into the jars, leaving ¼ inch head space at the top. Wipe the rims of jars with a wet paper towel, if necessary. Put a flat lid and ring on each jar, and tighten until snug. Return the jars to the canning pot, making sure water covers jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from pot and let jars sit untouched for 12 hours. (After 1 hour, check to see if jars have sealed. If the center of the lid can be pushed down, it hasn't sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.) Label and store, preferably in a cool, dark place.

— adapted from "Canning for a New Generation" by Liana Krissoff (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95)

Per tablespoon: 34 calories (percent of calories from fat, 2), trace protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, trace fat (no saturated), no cholesterol, trace sodium.

Peach Jam With Lemon Thyme and Almonds

Hands on: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Makes: About 4 to 5 half-pints

Toasted almonds add a delightful crunch to this jam. (Just be careful not to over-toast them.) Look for containers of lemon thyme at your neighborhood home and garden center. If you can't find it, regular thyme will do. While this tastes great on a biscuit, "it would not be out of place on a cheese plate or alongside a dollop of cr?e fra?he and a delicate shortbread cookie," Liana Krissoff writes in her book "Canning for a New Generation."

1/2 cup slivered almonds

12 ounces Granny Smith apples (about 2 large)

4 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted and diced

11/2 cups granulated sugar

3 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme leaves (may substitute about 1 teaspoon regular thyme)

Sterilize jars by boiling for 10 minutes in a large canning pot; leave them in the pot to stay hot. Put a small plate in the freezer. Put the flat lids in a heat-proof bowl.

Toast almonds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Quarter and core the apples, reserving the cores and seeds. Tie apple trimmings in cheesecloth (or a jelly bag, if you have one).

Put the peaches and sugar in a wide, 6- to 8-quart preserving pan or other wide shallow pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, and continue to cook until the juices just cover the peaches, about 5 minutes. Pour into a colander set over a large bowl. Stir peaches gently to drain off juice. Return juice to pan, along with the apples and the trimmings. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrup is thick and reduced, about 15 minutes.

Return peaches and any accumulated juices to pan. Add lemon juice, almonds and lemon thyme. Bring back to simmer and cook, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes, until peaches are very tender and a small dab of jam spooned onto the chilled plate and returned to the freezer for a minute becomes somewhat firm. (It will not gel.) Remove from heat. Discard apples and trimmings, and stir gently to distribute fruit in the liquid.

Ladle hot jam into the jars, leaving ¼ inch head space at the top. Wipe jar rims with wet paper towel, if necessary. Put a flat lid and ring on each jar, and tighten until snug. Return the jars to the canning pot, making sure water covers jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from pot and let sit untouched for 12 hours. (After 1 hour, check to see if the jars have sealed. If the center of the lid can be pushed down, it hasn't sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.) Label and store, preferably in a cool, dark place.

— adapted from "Canning for a New Generation" by Liana Krissoff (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95)

Per tablespoon (based on 4 half-pint yield): 42 calories (percent of calories from fat, 14), trace protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram fat (no saturated), no cholesterol, trace sodium.

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