Peach Jam.

The natural sweetness of peaches make this jam a low-sugar-added preserve.
Plan to put up a slew when peaches are in season during the summer.
8-10 cups water
2 1/2 pounds ripe peaches
3 strips {1/2 x 2 inches} orange zest
2/3 cups fresh orange juice
2/3 cup unsweetened white grape juice
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1. In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately high-heat, bring water to a boil. Add the peaches, 2 or 3 at a time, and boil for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to a colander and rinse with cold water; the peels should slide off easily. Peel, pit, and coarsely chop the peaches.
2. In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the chopped peaches, orange zest and juice, grape juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, and ginger. Over moderate heat, slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, stirring frequently, until the jam thickens, about 30 minutes.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir to distribute the fruit evenly; skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface, and remove and discard the orange zest. Spoon the hot jam into 6 widemouthed, warm, sterilized 1/2-pint jars, leaving a 1/4-inch space between the top of the jam and the rim of the jar {see Safe Canning With A Hot-Water Bath Page}. Wipe the rims, cover, label, and date. Store the jars of jam in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Makes about 6 half-pint jars
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Trio of Good Jamming Ingredients. – Has It Jelled Yet?

ball floral backgroundTo make a great jam, jelly, or marmalade, you need three components to work in harmony: acid, pectin, and sugar. If the proportions of each or any one of these is off, you may not be happy with the results.
Acid:
 
Added to the mixture as citrus juice {usually lemon} or tartaric acid, this improves both the taste and appearance of the finished product, and in conjunction with pectin, it helps the mixture to jell.
Pectin:
 
Most fruits contain some amount of pectin naturally, and it is released when the fruit is boiled, but not all fruit are created equal.
Apples are known for their pectin, and so are sometimes added in one form or another to fruits that are lower in pectin to help them jell.
Currants and red plums are also high-pectin fruits; moderate-pectin fruits include apricots, blue berries, peaches, and raspberries. Pectin is also found in peels {particularly citrus} and seeds, so these are sometimes included in part of a recipe to release their pectin during cooking. Pectin is also available in liquid and powdered forms {check out health food stores and larger supermarkets}. If you do canning regularly, it is prudent to keep some on hand, just in case your jam or marmalade or jelly is being uncooperative. Follow the manufacture’s directions carefully.
Sugar:
 

Another factor in jelling, sugar {either beet or cane} also helps to preserve the fruit and really brings out its flavor in addition to adding sweetness and countering any bitter taste, such as lemon.

Has It Jelled Yet?
The crucial moment in jam- and jelly-making is the temperature at which the mixture jells and no longer needs to be cooked. To determine that “jelling point,” most cooking experts highly recommend that you use a candy thermometer, but the plate test works pretty well too.
Thermometer:
 
Determine the jelling point for your altitude.
Hold a candy thermometer vertically in a pot of boiling water. Read the thermometer at eye level and add 8 degrees F – for the jelling point. From sea level to about 1,000 feet above, the boiling point should be 212 degrees F -and the jelling point is 220 degrees F.
Plate Method:
 
At the point indicated in the recipe, remove the saucepan from the heat and drop a teaspoon of the jam or jelly onto a small, cold plate. Lightly press the jam or jelly with a fingertip-the surface should wrinkle, indicating that it has begun to jell.
If the jam or jelly is still too liquid or does not pass the press test, return the saucepan to the heat and cook a few minutes longer, then retest.

Herbal Heirloom Tomato Pickles.

We love using lemon basil and Russian Red garlic.
Make sure the tomatoes are firm; otherwise, they will fall apart when pickled.
You could use a combination of tomatoes; we used cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes and green tomatoes, cut in half. We used dill sprigs in our pickles, feel free to experiment.
2 cups tomatoes, vertically quartered
2 to 4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup fresh herbs of your choice
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon fresh juice of key limes, lemons or limes {optional}
1. Place tomato slices, garlic and other herbs in a clean 16-ounce glass jar until about 3/4 full.
2. Combine vinegar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and gently stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat.
3. Add cold water {and optional juice} to this mixture and let cool. Pour cooled liquid in jar to cover tomatoes and herbs. Add more cold water if necessary. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until chilled.

Rosemary and Sage Quick Pickles.

A definite favorite in our home!

The flavorful combination of rosemary and sage infuse a subtle taste to these unique pickles.
1 small red or white onion, thinly sliced
OR
1/4 cup chives, chopped
2 cups cucumber, sliced
2 to 4 sprigs rosemary
4 to 8 sage leaves
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup cold water
1. Slice cucumber into 1/4-inch rounds. Tightly pack sliced cucumber and herbs in a clean 16-ounce glass jar until about 3/4 full.
2. Combine vinegar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and gently stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

3. Add cold water to this mixture and let cool. Pour cooled liquid in jar to cover cucumbers and herbs. Add more cold water as necessary. Leave room at the top. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until chilled.Makes 1 cup.