My first foray into preserving this year, or ever, really, was peach jam. I bought a sackful–they were warm, soft, small, wonderful perfect peaches. We continued to eat our fill but I feared we wouldn’t be able to finish them all before they went bad. Hence, the jamming.

I learned a few things from this experiment that I hope will educate me as I attempt to preserve our summer bounty for the winter. To not buy everything from the grocery store–it is kind of a foreign concept to me. But this year, in light of so much: increasing food costs, my own understanding about food production, and a yearning to capture a piece of the past, to preserve not just these fruits and vegetables, but also to preserve the knowledge that comes with doing it.

Anyway, here’s what I learned:

Use freestone peaches. Early peaches are not freestones–mine weren’t.  It is a bitch to cut around the pits, and I hate to waste even an iota of fruit.

Use white sugar. I used turbinado sugar, which tasted fine, but made the jam look like a brown mess.

Don’t use to much lemon juice. I did, and it made the jam taste a little too soury. I’m cool with soury, but I know not everyone is.

But the stuff was definitely edible. The subtleness of peaches means it isn’t going to stand up to peanut butter, but on warm toast, a muffin or a biscuit it is quite nice.