Last week was my one and only’s first day of kindergarten and I was prepared for the water works, my little man is growing up too fast!! After waking him and offering to make him anything thing he wanted for breakfast–he chose a bowl of Lucky Charms!! (1. He eats enough lucky charms I swear he is going to turn into a leprechan! 2. I swear, someday, he will like the fact his mom loves to cook, but not this day!) After getting dressed and lots of pictures, he walked across the street to meet his friends, rolling his eyes as his dad and I followed him, with my camera clicking away. We chatted with our neighbors and waited for the bus to take him the 1.2 miles away to kindergarten. Once he got on (and I got all teared up), we followed the bus to the school to watch him walk in (yes, we are those parents!), he didn’t want us to walk him to class because one of the older kids from our neighborhood on the bus offered to walk him to class and that is soooo much cooler than having mom and dad walk you to class. We proceeded to the library for the kindergarten parents’ Boo-Hoo breakfast and met up with our friends and then chatted about our first “school day” morning. On the overhead the principal lead the school in the pledge of allegiance, yet again causing me to get teary eyed. My husband offered a trip to Starbucks (because in my mind Starbucks makes everything better!) before he left for work. Since I had taken the day off, he left me to handle the morning until I met my friends for our Boo-Lunch. I am not the type to wallow in my misery, so what did I do to pass the time until lunch? Make jam, of course!
A few days prior, we had went out to a local u-pick peach orchard and had come home with 10 pounds of peaches. I had made a peach pie a few days prior but peaches are not a fruit that carries a long shelve life and they were fading fast, peach jam and jelly are an easy way to use up and preserve the peach bounty. The jam, Peach Jack Jam, is an ode to my husband and his friends since their drink of choice is Jack and Coke. Needless to say, with all the jam making that morning, it kept me too busy to dwell on my little man going off to kindergarten, at least until I drove to lunch!
Peach Jack Jam
- 3 1/2 pounds ripe peaches
- 7 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup bourbon or bourbon whiskey (Jack Daniels bourbon whiskey)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla paste or vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
- One (6-ounce) package liquid pectin (two foil packets)
- If you are going to preserve the jam, prepare the jars and lids: place six half-pint jars on a rack in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the jars, and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water. Meanwhile, put bands and lids in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium heat until the water is simmering, then remove the pan from heat and allow the bands and lids to rest in hot water until ready to use.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut a shallow X into the bottom of each peach and drop them into the boiling water. Blanch for 20 to 30 seconds, then immediately plunge the peaches into the ice water. Peel and chop the peaches. Transfer them to a blender and pulse just until they are coarsely pureed. You should have about 4 cups of puree.
- Transfer the peaches to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the sugar, lemon juice, bourbon, cinnamon stick, vanilla paste, and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Add the pectin and return the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for one minute. Remove to pot from the heat and skim any foam from the surface with a metal spoon. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims of the jars, cover with lids, and screw bands on until just barely tight. Place jars on rack in pot and cover completely with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest in water for five minutes. Remove jars from pot and allow them to rest undisturbed on countertop for six hours or overnight. Preserved jam will keep for up to one year in a cool, dark place. Unpreserved jam will keep in the refrigerator for about three to six months.