SPICED PEACH JAM:ORIGINAL GOURMET RECIPE
Redolent with heady spices calling to mind the gifts of the Magi, this spiced peach jam recipe will carry you through the twelve days of Christmas and beyond.
Infused with star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick, spiced peach jam can start lively conjecture on which of the three kings would have brought these spices to honor the savior born beneath the star blazing in the western night sky. My money's on Gaspar, who, people who know about this kind of stuff say, hailed from India. Balthasar was Arabian and Melchior ruled Persia, neither region being native homes for these intense and prized spices. Impress friends and family with your Biblical prowess.
It should be noted that spiced peach jam was always a best seller at the vanished but never to be forgotten Georgica Bend B&B, so don't worry about this recipe being strictly seasonal — it holds year 'round appeal.
8 3" cinnamon sticks (short enough to fit in the jam jars)
8 star anise
16 whole cloves
4 cups peeled peaches: 1/2 finely chopped, the other 1/2 chunky chopped, and all the juices produced by the chopping saved
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
7 1/2 c. sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin
Combine peaches and their juices, lemon juice and sugar in a large non-reactive pot. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a full boil, stirring all the while. When the fruit is boiling furiously (Stir! Stir! or it'll spill over) add the pectin and boil another minute. Remove from heat.
Have your jars sterilized and at the ready. Place two cloves in the bottom of each, then fill with with the hot jam. Take a cinnamon stick and a star anise and insert one into each jar, doing your best to have them press up against the side so they are visible. A metal spatula is helpful here. Seal the jars and process in a boiling water bath for five minutes.
This jam does need at least two weeks to have the spices permeate the fruit.
Note: the picture above shows the spices served on a waffle. This is artistic license. No alchemy occurs making the hard-as-rock-spices themselves edible. Common sense prevails when you serve it — it's never been a problem when people enjoy this jam. I just didn't want the picture to be misleading.