It’s October already, and I could be scraping ice of my car each morning while muttering “Winter is coming…..”, but fortunately I am in Rome, not Norway. Thus, instead of frost we still have 22C daytime here, and the last summer fruit is still available. Exuberant piles of grapes are elbowing in, along with wedges of zucca (pumpkin) and boxes of funghi porcini. But the peaches have had a good, long season this year, as have the melons. So I made a small batch of peach jam with rosemary, just to capture a little more summer in a jar. Later today I will have to put away my summer sandals, and pull out shoes and socks for the first time in months. I have been resisting this, but it is time.
Peach jam with rosemary
1.4 kg peaches (about seven)
100 grammes brown sugar
2 tbs white sugar
1/4 cup water
8 grammes pectin
Three sprigs of fresh rosemary
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Chop up the pitted peaches, no need to peel them. In a wide pot, boil peaches and rosemary sprigs with a little water, and add sugar after five minutes. You can leave jam chunky, or blitz it slightly with an immersion blender (if so, fish the rosemary branches out first). Add lemon zest and juice. Add pectin when the packet tells you to (for some types it is early in the cooking process, for others it is right at the end.)
Preparing jars. I know Americans often do full-on proper canning, which is probably safer, but this works well for me. Start with clean jars, boil them five-ten minutes. Fish them out with tongs, let them dry (but not sit around too long).
Golden and fragrant. I tossed in another handful of chopped rosemary at the end. Ladle jam into jars (a funnel helps). Be careful to keep the rim of the jar clean. Put put the lid on the jar (using cloths if necessary to hold it, it will be hot), then turn it upside down and leave to cool upside down. I never have sealed jars go moldy this way, but do what you feel most comfortable with. As this is low in sugar, keep in fridge once opened and eat soon. See also The Guardian this week : The science and magic of jam-making
Now I can enjoy this peach jam on a slice of home-baked bread, while reading the last moose-hunt update from a Norwegian relative. “…..Jakta er igang. En våt og kald lørdag helt fram til 1400 tiden, da bålet vi og spiste. Men til tross for det dårlige været fikk vi to store dyr, en ungokse på vel 150 kg slaktet og en ku på over 180 kg. Den var nok 2,5 år og hadde ikke kalver. Flott kjøtt.” Summary: Cold and wet day in the woods, but their hunting team shot two big moose.
Some days you feel the cultural distance between a small urban Roman flat and the wilderness expanses of Norway more keenly than others. Both are wonderful, in their own way, just very different.