Salted Brown Sugar, Caribbean Habanero Peach Jams and Chipotle Peach BBQ Sauce

August 19, 2015

Do Your Dance at the Peach Jam

“Everybody get up it’s time to slam now
We got a real jam goin’ down
Welcome to the [Peach] Jam
Here’s your chance do your dance at the [Peach] Jam”

I was literally singing this out loud. All day, be-aproned and hovering over the stove with jam splatters on my face. That was a Space Jam reference, in case y’all missed it.

That’s right.

True story: when I was a preteen, I saw Space Jam one and a half times in a hangar on an Air Force base in South Korea, where the power went out and we had to go back and rewatch it later to see the ending. Do kids today know who Bugs Bunny is? Hm. Bill Murray you are better than Space Jam. You, too, Michael Jordan.

We gotta real jam goin’ down, talkin’ bout that Peach Jam… my pug Gizmo is giving me unimpressed eyes as I sing him this rendition with a heavy dose of sass and a spatula in hand.

But when life gives you peaches, you best be jammin’. The truth is, though, canning has always intimidated me. All those steps and acidity levels and boiling and botulism. Does it make you nervous, too?

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Well, no more. We’re doing this. There is a great book on canning and making small batch jams called Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan,

The small-batch format was ideal for me because I typically don’t have oodles and oodles of fruit on hand; and even if I do (*looks at overflowing pallet of peaches nearby*), I prefer to have a variety of jams rather than 30 jars of the same. Her recipes call for half pint jars (8 fluid oz), though I used a mix of those and supremely adorable 4 oz jars (perfect for gifting your gratuitous jam).

The book begins by breaking down the process of canning, which is not really that scary at all once you know the basics:

  1. Make sure you have a good recipe, which will include the necessary levels of acidity to keep the preserves from spoiling.
  2. Sanitize your jars and lids while you make some jammy deliciousness or other preserves.
  3. Fill freshly sanitized jars with the good stuff.
  4. Screw the lids on finger-tight, then back in the pool for the necessary preserving time (High Altitude Alert: the timing is always longer than at sea level, varying based on your altitude – check this table for time alterations).
  5. Take the jars out to cool and listen for the lid-pop that means you won’t poison your friends with your kindly jam gift.

There are good tutorials on water-bath canning high acid foods here and here, or you can use the “How to Process” explanation at the beginning of Preserving by the Pint.

With my many gobs of peaches, I opted to use three different canning applications – a sweet jam, a spicy jam and a barbecue sauce.

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Kicking things off with a sweet jam, Marisa’s Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam took classic jam to another level. Too often, jams can be overly-sweet, but this one takes a page from the salted watermelon book and balances the sugar with salt. Is there anything that can’t be made better by salt (i.e. caramel, chocolate, cookies, icing)?! The salt wakes everything up and gives the peaches a lip-smacking savory quality that can’t be beat. I added a splash of bourbon for good measure, ‘cause I like my peaches a bit liquored up. This is the perfect butter-your-biscuits or toast jam.

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If you’re feeling frisky, my spicy Caribbean Habañero Peach Jam will hit the spot. Super versatile, you can slather this on some delicious carbs, serve it as an accompaniment for a cheese plate OR use it as a glaze for pork loin or chicken. I loosely based the proportions on Preserving by the Pint’s peach Jam with Sriracha, but changed up the ingredients pretty drastically. In addition to the peach, sugar and lemon juice base, I gave the recipe a jerk-inspired flavor profile by adding one finely diced habañero, a tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme and a teaspoon of freshly pulverized allspice. You can go more or less on the habañero, depending on your level of daring.

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Finally, I worked up a vinegar-and fruit-based Chipotle Peach BBQ Sauce perfect for slathering on chicken thighs and pork chops, or used as a braising sauce for dutch oven pulled pork. This sauce hit all the right notes: the smoky fire of the chipotle balances the honey-sweetness of the peaches, while the vinegar gives it a tangy pop. Add some umami depth with tomato paste, and you’ve got a winner.

Jam and sauce for daaaaays, friends.

Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam
Sweet and savory, updated classic jam for spreading on biscuits, muffins, bread and more.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 dry quart peaches (about 2 lbs/ 910 g)
  2. 1 cup/225 g packed light brown sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  5. Juice of ½ lemon
  6. 1 tbsp bourbon
Instructions
  1. Place a clean hand towel or washrag in the bottom of a deep stock-pot, then place your jars in the pot. Fill with warm water until jars are submerged by an inch. Boil while you prepare the jam. In a small saucepan, place the lids and rings and cover with water. Simmer over barely boiling water.
  2. Peel and pit the peaches. Sprinkle salt, sugar and nutmeg over the peaches, then mash them to desired consistency (or puree with an immersion blender). Stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Around the ten minute mark, stir in the bourbon. When you can drag a spatula through the mix and the two sides don’t immediately flow together, around 10-15 mins, the jam is ready to be poured into sterilized jars.
  4. Process jars for 20 minutes if at Denver altitude (5280 ft), or 10 min for sea level.
Adapted from Preserving by the Pint, Marisa McClellan
Delicious in Denver http://deliciousindenver.com/
Caribbean Habañero Peach Jam
Spicy, sweet and savory jam for traditional use or for use as a pork or chicken glaze.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 dry quart peaches (about 2 lbs/ 910 g)
  2. 1 cup/200 g granulated sugar
  3. ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  4. ½-1 habanero pepper, finely diced
  5. 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  6. 1 tsp ground allspice**
  7. Juice of ½ lemon
Instructions
  1. Place a clean hand towel or washrag in the bottom of a deep stock-pot, then place your jars in the pot. Fill with warm water until jars are submerged by an inch. Boil while you prepare the jam. In a small saucepan, place the lids and rings and cover with water. Simmer over barely boiling water.
  2. Peel and pit the peaches. Sprinkle salt, sugar and habanero over the peaches, then mash to desired consistency (or puree with an immersion blender). Stir in the thyme, allspice and lemon juice.
  3. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Around the ten minute mark, stir in the bourbon. When you can drag a spatula through the mix and the two sides don’t immediately flow together, around 10-15 mins, the jam is ready to be poured into sterilized jars.
  4. Process jars for 20 minutes if at Denver altitude (5280 ft), or 10 min for sea level.
Notes
  1. *Try to touch the habeneros with your hands as little as possible - wear gloves if you're especially sensitive - and be sure to wash your cutting board thoroughly afterward. Caliente!!!
  2. **Grind just over 1 tsp allspice berries with mortar and pestle until mostly powder with a few chunks, or use ground allspice
Adapted from Peach Jam with Sriracha, Preserving by the Pint
Delicious in Denver http://deliciousindenver.com/
Chipotle Peach BBQ Sauce
Sweet and savory bbq sauce with a hint of smokey heat. Great slathered on roast pork shoulder, grilled pork ribs or chicken.
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Ingredients
  1. 3.5 lbs peaches
  2. 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  3. 2-3 cloves garlic
  4. ¼ cup tomato paste
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  7. 3-4 canned chipotles in adobo, diced
  8. 1 tbsp cumin
  9. 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  10. 2 tbsp honey
  11. ¼ tsp Ceylon (or regular) cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Saute onions and garlic until translucent. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes. Add peeled and pitted peaches and all other ingredients, then mash to break up the peaches.
  2. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium high heat, stirring often, for around an hour or until reduced by half.
  3. After 45 minutes, place a clean hand towel or washrag in the bottom of a deep stock-pot, then place your jars in the pot. Fill with warm water until jars are submerged by an inch. Boil while the sauce finishes. In a small saucepan, place the lids and rings and cover with water. Simmer over barely boiling water.
  4. When the sauce is reduced, puree with immersion blender or in blender/food processor. The sauce is then ready to be poured into sterilized jars.
  5. Process jars for 20 minutes if at Denver altitude (5280 ft), or 10 min for sea level.
Delicious in Denver http://deliciousindenver.com/

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