Fragrant peach jam
- 2kg peaches (halved and stoned, then each half cut into quarters)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground (taken from 8 cardamom pods)
- 1kg sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (strained)
- 3 tablespoons orange blossom water
This recipe is based on Eliza Acton's 'Peach jam, or marmalade' from 1845, with spice and orange blossom water added to balance out the sweetness of the fruit and sugar. The flavour of the jam improves with age.
|In a large preserving pan or stockpot, slowly bring the peach slices and ground cardamom to the boil over very low heat. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the fruit from burning on the bottom of the pan. Once the fruit is soft and pulpy, remove the pan from the heat. At this stage the fruit can be rubbed through a sieve if you prefer a fine jam, or you can use a potato masher to smooth out the consistency. |
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 120° C. Put the sugar in a shallow baking dish and warm in the oven for 15 minutes. Put clean glass jars on a baking tray and warm in the oven for at least 30 minutes.
|Add the warmed sugar to the cooked fruit, and place the pan back on the stove over a low heat. Gently stir the sugar through the fruit until it dissolves completely. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring frequently. |
Remove any scum that forms on the top, and continue boiling gently for a few minutes. Add the lemon juice and boil for another 5 minutes. Test for gelling, or setting point. Continue to boil the mixture until it reaches setting point. Remove from heat and stir in the orange blossom water.
|Scald the jar lids in boiling water for five minutes and drain well. Carefully remove the jars from the oven, and allow to cool for five minutes. Using a wide-necked funnel or small-spouted milk jug, fill the jars with the jam and seal while still hot, taking care not to burn your hands in the process – the jars will be very hot! Once the jam has cooled, label and date the jars. The jam will keep, unopened, for up to 12 months. Refrigerate after opening and use within three months.|
|Cook's tip: for an added flourish, insert a couple of whole cardamom pods into the jam as you fill the jars, so that they sit just below the surface. It adds to the mystique of this aromatic jam.|