Out-of-Bed Camp

Lugging out the big pots, peeling, chopping, stirring, boiling, canning, then cleaning up before starting over with something else might not be your idea of a Bed-Camp Day but, this time of year, it is for me.

Bed-Camp Days don’t always have to be in bed. Sometimes, it can just be making the time to do something you’re passionate about. When the Union Square Farmers’ Market is flush with the best offerings of the year, when the threat of the end of the summer starts to show itself with the late summer strawberries and the earliest gourds, I love to bring home the bounty and start canning. Produce at its peak is so beautiful and aromatic and delicious. Peaches. All kinds of berries. Juicy plum and beefsteak tomatoes you buy by the 25-pound box. Once home, you know you have to take your time and just settle in.

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Alone in the kitchen with my thoughts and good (loud) music, creating winter treats for me and family and friends, my mind clears, and body and soul relaxes. This is, in a different sort of way, for me, as relaxing as reclining in bed with a good book…and the house smells like a summer version of Christmas.

I have just a small galley kitchen. Even with the back door open, it gets hot. It gets cluttered. It gets splattered and messy. It gets sticky. It fills up quickly.

Oh Happy Bed-Camp Day.

PEACH JAM WITH ROSEMARY

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Begin at least one full day before processing.

Just four ingredients

  1. 5 pounds of firm and ripe peaches
  2. 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
  3. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  4. A few springs of fresh rosemary

Wash and halve the peaches, removing the pits. Cut each half in half again and place in a large and deep pan. Add remaining ingredients.

Place over medium flame and let cook for about 15 minutes, letting the juices flow. Allow to cool and transfer to a container. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least overnight but not more than four days before processing.

Remove the container from the refrigerator and bring the peaches to room temperature. Pass the mixture through a food mill fitted with the coarse plate into a heavy bottomed pot. One of my best purchases last year was a Maslin jam pot. Stirring in a smaller bottomed pot is much easier and there is less splattering on the stove.

Bring the peaches to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 215 degrees. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 6 half pint jars.

I’ve assumed reader knowledge of the canning process. If incorrect, please refer to canning safety instructions and processes at http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.aspx

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