Dana and I went out to the farm to kick off the start of peach season. White peaches are in and yellow peaches are just getting started. In reality we probably should have waited till next week for yellow peaches to really be ripe and ready, but we just couldn’t wait any longer . Last year we didn’t have great luck with white peaches, so we were a little shy to get too many of them again this year. We hoped that the yellow peaches would be ready enough, but when we got to the farm it was exactly like they said: the white peaches were ready and the yellow peaches, for the most part, were not. We were already there and the price was right.
We grabbed 2 buckets of white peaches, then headed over to the yellow peach area and grabbed two buckets of those too. Then, one of the farm hands mentioned that some of the trees in the yellow peach area were actually white peaches in disguise, and were probably more ripe than the yellows were. Everything is all mixed up, but the end result is that the vast majority of peaches we got were the white ones.
Most of the peaches were not quite ripe immediately, so we used them in batches as they became ready.
We had a bag of sweet cherries left over, and Dana had asked for them to be turned into quarts of pie filling. When I picked through, too many were starting to rot and there wasn’t enough left for filling. In emergency mode, I tossed the few cherries we had left into a bowl with the few peaches that were already ripe, and prepared a batch of Mixed Peach and Cherry Jam.
Mixed Peach and Cherry Jam
- 1.5lbs Sweet dark cherries, stemmed, pitted and chopped 
- 1.5lbs mixed white and yellow peaches, skinned, pitted and chopped 
- 3 Cups sugar, divided
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Dash Amaretto
- 1 Bag Sure Jell Pectin
Add the chopped cherries and peaches to a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic) with the lemon juice and 2 cups of sugar. Allow to macerate for 10 minutes. Dump the fruit mixture into a pot and bring to a simmer. Return to bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, strain the syrup into a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 5 minutes. Add the fruit, sugar, pectin , and the amaretto and boil for 1 minute more. Ladle into prepared jars and process for 15 minutes.
For a variety of reasons, the peaches that were ripe immediately included most of the yellow ones. The end result was approximately 50/50 white and yellow.
The jam was a deep crimson red color, almost as dark as a cherry jam but with the noticeable white and yellow chunks of peach. The jam was a little bit too thick, but not terribly so. A little less sugar, a little more fruit, or a little less pectin all might be good ideas for the next attempt.
The flavor is very good and very peachy. Dana said that she really couldn’t taste the cherry in it, but I could taste it. It is definitely a more complex flavor than just a peach jam, even if the cherries aren’t screaming at the top of their lungs. In the future mixing in some tart cherries, or a splash of a cherry liquor (kirsch, if I don’t have any homemade extracts available) might help balance the flavors a little bit more.
- Tart cherries are just barely out of season. Apricots, are in along with some varieties of nectarines and plums. Any combination of stone fruits could be used here, in place of the existing ingredients or in addition to them.
- Use vanilla extract in place of the amaretto. Use a cherry liquor instead.
- Dana could wait, and Xander couldn’t care less. I was the one who was busting at the seams. Next time, I may sneak out of the house in the morning and go picking before they even get out of bed.
- Approximate. We had a bag that was about 2.5lbs according to my fuzzy memory of what Dana may or may not have said when she bought them. A little more than half of those, according to my untrained eyeballs, were usable. For the scientists in the audience, we’re not even up to a single significant digit. The real amount of cherries used could be anywhere between -5 lbs to 10 lbs.
- There were more white peaches than there are yellow peaches. I tried to use approximately the same amount of peaches, by volume, as I had cherries. Of course, the cherries were already in the bowl with the sugar and lemon macerating, so my estimation may be off. Way off. Again, I could have used anywhere between 0-10 lbs peaches.
- I always mix some of the sugar in with the pectin, to prevent clumping. But then I read the box of pectin and saw that “Dextrose” (a sugar) was the #1 ingredient in the package, which means it’s probably already mixed enough. Whatever. Old habits die hard.