Heading back to the car, mom (shopping companion extraordinaire) and I walked past a market stall packed to the rafters with fresh Niagara peaches. The smell was absolutely intoxicating and basically lifted the money out of our pockets for us, all while reminding me of the handful of sad, rock-hard imported peaches sitting on our counter at home. Those ones had been bought out of sheer desperation for "real" Summer fruit after 9+ months of apples, bananas, pears and grapes, but were tooth-shatteringly stiff on purchase and never seemed to soften even after a week on the counter. Even though we now had amazingly buttery, eat-over-the-sink juicy examples of the fruit at home, there was no way I was going to simply throw away the less-than-optimal peaches. First, it's just wasteful, and as a teacher with limited income, a restricted diet, and proud Scottish heritage, extracting every last bit of use from something runs in my blood. Secondly, I paid good money for the fruit, and I'll be darned if I can't figure out a way to enjoy it somehow!
Thankfully, I remembered a trick that has served me so many times before with less than prime produce, and with our new convection-option oven the method was even faster and easier than normal. A sprinkle of raw sugar and a quick, high heat roast in the oven softened the flesh just enough to mash into a chunky jam, while loosening the skins so that they essentially slipped free on their own. All that was left was a final quick boil with some lemon juice, sugar, vanilla and cardamom before being thickened at the last minute with Clear Jel to become a dessert-worthy, smear-on-everything type of jam. By the way, the peels didn't go to waste either - those, along with the ones from my other peach preserve (coming soon) turned into a candy-like "butter" that made a perfect filling for thumbprint cookies as well as whipping into slightly softened ice cream.
Shared with Gluten Free Fridays
Roasted Peach Jam
Makes ~3.5 cups, 28 (2 tbsp) servings
5 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1 tbsp raw sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
⅓ cup Clear Jel (not Sure Jell - if not canning you can use tapioca starch)
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
¼ tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 425°F.
- Arrange peach halves cut-side up in a baking dish and sprinkle with raw sugar.
- Roast until the peaches are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Peel and finely dice peaches and place in a pot with lemon juice, 1 cup of the remaining sugar and cardamom.
- Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Combine Clear Jel with remaining ¼ cup sugar and add to the peaches.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Process 15 minutes in a waterbath or freeze.
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 13.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.2 g