Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My $50 Jar of Homemade Peach Jam

Photo © Nina Snyder
September in Colorado means a fresh harvest of juicy Palisades peaches. This year, I succumbed to the roadside stand selling flats of peaches for $40.

How much is in a flat? I have no idea -- I usually buy my peaches at the grocery store in oh-so-urban plastic bags. But it sure looked like a lot of peaches, at least three dozen to my untrained eye.

As a win-win, the roadside vendor looked happy when I asked for peaches on the ripe side. I assume selling dozens of overripe peaches is tougher than selling the hard-as-rocks variety.

Along with a friend, I set out to channel my inner pioneer woman and distill those delicious peaches into homemade jam. She had mason jars left over for her wedding, so all we needed was the raw materials.

Oh, wait, and various canning implements sold at the grocery store for $10. Now we were set. She found an easy recipe using a crock pot. We peeled and sliced the peaches, added lemon juice, pectin and a lot of sugar.

Eight hours later, the aroma of peaches filled the kitchen. The amber concoction looked darker than I thought it would be, but it tasted heavenly.

My toddler wanted to help with the canning process, which unfortunately meant only one large jar of peach jam survived -- plus some leftovers that we just refrigerated for quick eating.

Despite it all, I think we have a future in canning. I'm sure we could sell our homemade peach jam at farmers markets -- for the completely reasonable price of $50 to cover costs. As long as we market it as artisanal, small-batch jam, I'm sure it will be a hit.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.