Monday, September 19, 2011

Aunt Joyce's Peach Marmalade

My Aunt Joyce makes the best Peach Marmalade. She's been making it for years. The only problem is that she lives 2000 miles away, so the only way I'm able to enjoy a jar of her prized conserve, is to travel out west to Vancouver Island and stake my claim. That is, if there's any left! Traditionally orange marmalade is sweet-tart, but this recipe adds an extra measure of sweetness with the addition of fresh succulent peaches. When picked at their peak of ripeness, peaches are soft and so wonderfully sweet, and the blend of citrus and peach is truly addictive. Aunt Joyce's Peach Marmalade has an extra layer of depth with the addition of diced maraschino cherries and slivered almonds which add beautiful colour, texture and extraordinary flavour. Easy and delicious, you can preserve some of nature's bounty with this wonderful recipe — slather it on hot toast, flaky croissants, or homemade scones with plenty of Devonshire cream — but do it quickly, before all the peaches disappear for another year.

Aunt Joyce's Peach Marmalade
Makes 12 8-oz. Jars

3 oranges
1 cup water
9 cups white sugar
8 cups peaches, peeled and finely chopped
1 6 oz bottle Maraschino cherries
1 cup slivered blanched almonds

Cut the orange into slices and remove the seeds. Place in a food processor or dice finely. Place all the juice, peel and pith in a small saucepan with water; cover and simmer over low heat until the peel is tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Place the peel mixture, sugar and peaches in a large 6-quart saucepan. Drain the cherry juice into the saucepan, then cut the cherries into fine slices and reserve. Stir the mixture thoroughly. Place over high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook uncovered, at a good simmer, until the marmalade thickens and the peaches are translucent, about 1 hour. Stir frequently, especially near the end of the cooking time. Add the cherries and almonds and cook for another 5 minutes.

Using a sterilized metal funnel and ladle, pour the jam into hot sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) of headspace. Cover with hot lids; screw on bands fingertip tight. Let cool, undisturbed, for an hour or so, until seals are set. To check for seal, ensure that lids curve downward — you'll hear a click as they do! Store in cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.