Peach melba jam: Summer sunshine on your toast |

Peach melba jam: Summer sunshine on your toast

If I had a list of life’s precious memories, the smell of peach pie fresh from the oven would be right up there.

My mother often had her pie for Sunday dinner in the oven before anyone woke up. I can still remember taking that first sniff on a cold January morning and the anticipation of a special dessert to come.

Perhaps one of the silver linings of our lingering economic woes is that people seem to be thinking of their houses and properties not so much for their rising equity values but more for their homesteading possibilities.

Judging by the magazines I’ve read lately-growing and preserving food and maybe even keeping a few chickens is a passion that’s taking a real foothold across the country.

For awhile it seemed that these arts were slipping into the history pages.

I feel so lucky to live in a climate where we have abundant water and can grow food almost year round. Not true in so many places around the world.

Canning can be intimidating. With good cookin’ music in the background or a friend to work with, canning is also very satisfying. Similar to baking, it is one of those cooking activities that requires we follow certain guidelines for success (and safety). Jams are the easiest place to start.

The following recipe came from “Blue Ribbon Preserves,” by Linda J. Amendt. It’s a book I’ve come to depend on. Whether you’re a veteran preserver or just learning the art, it would make a great addition to your reference library.

Most of my reliable canning books are older (and available usually in yard sales or thrift stores). There is one thing that I tend to change in those recipes. The amount of sweetness that was thought to be desirable in many of them is, in my opinion, overkill.

This recipe has more true fruit taste as I used only half of the sugar recommended. It does make it more challenging to get a good thick jell however. Fruit that is not overripe has more pectin and jells better with less sugar.

By this time of year my peach trees are usually finished, but this year they’re late and still producing. This jam recipe is enough to enjoy and a jar to give away, and I think you’ll love waking next January to a little summer sunshine on your toast.

Patti Bess is a local freelance writer, cookbook author and a radio host on KVMR-FM. E-mail her with questions or for more information at pbess@

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