This weekend, Kaela commented that all preserving blogs are sporadic this time of year because we’re all in the kitchen. Well… she’s half right in my case. It does seem like my canner hasn’t left the stove. I’ve put up mixed squash and onion pickles with saffron and thyme, pickled hot peppers, marinated poblanos, and roasted red bell peppers with garlic. This week at the market I picked up 20 lbs of canning tomatoes and 10 lbs of tomatillos. Next week, it looks like a flat of fall raspberries, Italian prune plums and more plum tomatoes. We haven’t even gotten to apples, pears and quince yet. Sigh.
Clearly, it’s the perfect time to get in a rut. Irene took a lot out of me. More than I want to admit, I think. I remain financially and emotionally exhausted even though we’ve had power back for over a week now. At the end of the day, I’m cranky. I just don’t want to come home and stand over the canner for hours. I worked a 9+ hour day with a long commute – I just want to put my feet up and (usually) have a drink. That very exhaustion made this weekend’s visit from Kate and Kaela (and Tai) not only fun but also surprisingly restorative. It’s because these people are the kind of like-minded friends who make you feel at home even though you’ve never actually met them in real life. I mean, we hadn’t met each other, but we did know each other. In a 21st century kind of way.
And man, are these good friends to have. They come bearing gingery watermelon rind pickles, smoked paprika peach jam, sugar plum crumble preserves, and the most addictive seedy brittle that makes you swear the future diabetes will be worth it. Not to mention the great conversations we had. Oh, and wine. These are damn talented, damn inspiring folks, that for some crazy reason came from very, very far away to hang out with me.
But truly, the best part about this weekend is that I actually enjoyed this weekend’s preserving for the first time in a while. I wasn’t just going through the motions. Maybe it was because this recipe was one of my favorites from last year, and for good reason. Inspired by a Jameson & Ginger at your favorite Irish pub, but with double the ginger and a peach base. In this year’s batch I added a bit of lime zest, which I think added a nice twist. Make sure to add it at the end. And then share it with all of your friends.
Jameson Ginger Peach Jam
4 cups peaches
1.5-2 cups cane sugar
1/4 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 tsp powdered ginger
2 tbsp candied ginger
pinch of salt
zest and juice of one lime
Combine chopped/smashed peaches and sugar in your favorite jam pot and bring to a boil. Let cook down for about 20 minutes, scooping off the foam until most of the water evaporates and it becomes glossy and thick. Add half the whiskey, ginger(s), salt and lime juice. Bring to a rolling boil for another 5ish minutes or until it reaches 220°. If you want to add a teaspoon of pectin, you are welcome to, but this jam does just fine without. The set is loose, but still structurally sound enough for toast or scones. And hey, if it doesn’t set up, you can always throw a few spoonfuls in a glass with some seltzer, ice and more whiskey. Just before taking it off the heat, stir in the lime zest and rest of the whiskey. Pack in hot, wet jars with 1/2″ headspace and process for 10 minutes.