How to Make Peach Jam
Rachel Miller U-Pick Peaches sign at Schnepf Farms.
Peach season in metro Phoenix has come to a close, the leafy green trees now bare of their hued orange baubles. To be honest, the crowds, lines, and number of things to do at Schnepf was a little overwhelming. While visions of peach jam, pie, and ice cream danced around my brain, children loaded onto a train circling the farm, lines swirled in and out of each other for BBQ or peach cinnamon rolls, and carnival rides raged in the background. As more U-Pick fruits loom on the horizon, I have learned a few things from my most recent peach-picking experience that I would like to share with you.
A few dos and don'ts to enhance your peach- (or any fruit-)picking pleasure:
Don't get peach-greedy, because you will have to haul these beautiful baubles all the way back to your car, all 40 pounds of them.
Do bring your fiancé to haul them for you.
Rachel Miller Schlepping a load of peaches to the car.
Don't hide under a peach tree and eat a bunch of peaches. This is only acceptable if you are 5 years old. Yes, 45-year-old lady, I did see you.
Do eat a peach directly after paying for it.
Rachel Miller Freshly picked and paid for peaches are eaten.
Don't bribe small children to stand on your shoulders and reach that perfect peach at the top of the tree, unless of course they are your own children.
After peach-picking at Schnepf a couple of years ago with a friend, we both retreated to our homes to craft up some peach jam. I made jam and canned it all. Later my friend confessed that she had done the same, but ended up throwing out her jam because she was unsure whether she had canned it properly.
Rachel Miller Peaches high in the tree branches at Schnepf Farms.
Canning is a process to be taken seriously, but if you are new to making jam, don't panic. You can make jam, and not can it. It can be stored in the fridge in lieu of processing it in jars. I make small batches of jam in this manner all the time in the restaurants I work in, to use in cookies, in milkshakes, in tarts, or on something simple like my morning toast.