Did you know that peaches grow well in New England? I seriously didn't. I always associated them with the south. But I've been researching pick-your-own apple farms in the area, and everyone has peaches right now. Peaches, and late season raspberries. Craziness! Naturally, I had to go see for myself what this was all about.

Fred and I picked a rainy morning to head down and try out a farm. Well, we didn't pick the rain, it's been raining non-stop and we're running out of free mornings, so we went anyway. I won't say much about the farm, because it honestly wasn't that great. But indeed, they did have peach trees and we snagged an awesome ton of little peaches.


These guys were all on the small side, and the pits weren't proportionately smaller. Some of them were freestone, but a lot of them weren't. So we spent an awful long time slicing the peaches off their pits. But oh, the smell! Man, I don't know what grocery stores are hawking these days, but they sure don't smell like peaches quite like these did. And the taste! Every sweet juicy bite had us grinning like fools.

And then we made more peach jam than I can shake a stick at. Vanilla bourbon peach jam, to be precise, because with a name like that I couldn't resist. I adjusted this recipe a bit, and while mine didn't come out all beautiful and bright orange like the original, it still tastes like joy.

Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam

Here's my recipe. I used Pomona's Universal Pectin, which allows for double batches and way less sugar. This is a rough amalgamation of the suggested recipe inside the box and my inspiration. Note that other pectins will have you add the sugar and the pectin at different stages in the process. Be sure to scale the recipe and follow the instructions from your pectin of choice!

Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam
(makes about 11 cups)

8 c. chopped peaches (yield from that basket up there)
6 T lime juice
1/2 vanilla bean pod, halved and scraped
pectin as per the instruction in the box
3 c. sugar
1/4 c. bourbon (Jim Beam Black)
2 t. almond extract

Prepare your peaches as you'd like. (We didn't peel ours, and just chopped them roughly as we pitted them. One batch we blended into submission with a hand blender. The other batch we smashed with a potato masher, and later decided to blend partially. Do whatever works for you.) Mix in a giant pot with the lime juice, seeds from your vanilla bean pod, and the calcium water if required by your pectin. Bring this mess to a boil, stirring quickly enough to not get splattered. Next, as per Pomona's instructions, add the sugar and pectin and return to a boil, still stirring carefully. Remove from heat and pour in the bourbon and almond extract. Contemplate as to whether this delicious boozy stew might just be the cure for the common cold. Pour into sterilized jars and set into a hot water bath to boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars, and listen for that tell-tale ping of sweet success :)

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