Once upon a time, there was a wife who talked her husband into buying a little patch of land with some peach trees on it. There were four peach trees: two yellow fleshed and two white fleshed. This wife had always dreamed of having her own peach trees, ever since she was a little girl "helping" her Nana can the peaches from a backyard tree.
When the first season came around, the wife watched, entranced as blossoms came with a multitude of honeybees earnestly going about their work. And when the blossoms set fruit, she rejoiced over each hard green marble. And as the season went by, she mourned the necessity of thinning such an abundance of fruit. And then one day, she walked out to check on the fruit of her labor and was rewarded with this sight:
Big, beautiful, aromatic, juicy, delicious fruit. And then she looked at the four trees and went, "Oh, my, but that's a heck of a lot of peaches."
And, indeed, it was. And so the canning began. And continued... and then continued some more.
But then one day, the wife and her husband got orders from the military: "Thou shalt sell your beloved farm and move to the suburbs in Florida." And so they did... leaving those beautiful peach trees behind.
Fortunately, Georgia peach country isn't that far from the panhandle of Florida. There's a fruit stand in town that sells the things and isn't ashamed to let a box of cast offs go to a gal for a decent price. I got this fifteen pounds of slightly blemished peaches for only five bucks. This box made seven 8-oz jars of jam and eight pints of cut peaches in syrup. Not a bad deal! Fortunately, when making jam, you can simply cut around all the bruises.
I made this jam once before in a cooked variety and it was decent, but I left the rosemary in too long and once the peaches lost their "fresh" taste when cooked, it just wasn't as good. However, when I tried the combination this time as a freezer jam? Heaven! The subtle aroma and flavor of the rosemary just adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the peaches. It may sound weird, but I urge you to give it a try!
I used the peach freezer jam recipe from a box of Certo liquid pectin. All I really did differently was add two four inch springs of rosemary to the fruit and sugar and let it sit a while, stirring periodically. I tasted every so often and continued to let it sit until the flavor was just right. When is it just right? Well, when it tastes good to you! It took my fruit about an hour to infuse to the level of flavor I thought right. Use your best judgement! Once the fruit tastes right, remove and discard the rosemary sprigs.
Add the pectin and lemon juice as instructed on your package and put into containers. I prefer jars, but you can use whatever floats your boat. Such a pretty hue! And oh so tasty!
Peach-Rosemary Freezer Jam
Yield: 7 or 8 cups
Adapted from the Certo Liquid Pectin Insert
2 3/4 cups finely chopped peaches
6 1/2 cups sugar
2 pouches Certo liquid pectin
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 4-inch rosemary sprigs
Remove the peel in a boiling water bath and pit and chop into small pieces. While working, toss finished pieces into a water bath with some lemon juice or fruit fresh to inhibit browning. Drain and measure out the fruit and add to the sugar. Stir together. Add the rosemary sprigs and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the peaches have a nice, subtle hint of rosemary, about an hour.
Remove the rosemary sprigs. Mix the pectin and lemon juice together and let them sit for ten minutes. Add the lemon pectin mixture to the fruit mixture and stir continuously for three minutes. At this point, the mixture should only have a few sugar crystals remaining.
Pour the jam into prepared containers, leaving a half-inch of head space for expansion as the jam freezes. Let the jam stand at room temperature until it is set, up to 24 hours. Freeze until ready to use. Thaw in the refrigerator before use.