Vineyard Peach Jam with Crème de Cassis (Blackcurrant Liqueur)

Would you ever guess the above jam is made with peaches? Its original hue is due to the vineyard peach, the last Summer fruit in France. Its season starts in August, but stretches towards at least mid-September. I say “in France” because I have never seen vineyard peach in Switzerland and always go to buy it on French markets. I also have no idea if this variety grows in the rest of the world. I have already written about the vineyard peach here when I posted an Upside-Down Vineyard Peach Tart recipe. For those who haven’t read it, a quick summary. Vineyard peach is an old variety existing since the  XVIIth century. Since it was very sensitive to mildew, a fungus particularly dangerous to the vines, vineyard owners planted these fruit trees next to the vineyards to alert them from the future attack of the precious vines. They acted like an alarm system warning against this terrible vine disease, hence the name “pêche de vigne” (vineyard peach). No one has fiddled genetically with this fruit, so it still keeps its unattractive greyish skin and uncompromising slightly tart but definitely sweet taste. It also has a very strong wonderful aroma. Here is a vineyard peach slice:

Last year I made many vineyard peach jams, most with gin, which is also an excellent pairing for any other peach. The jams had also this beautiful deep red-pink colour. This year I wanted to experiment with crème de cassis, a French blackcurrant liqueur, traditionally made in Dijon (the same city is very famous for its mustard). I added more of this liqueur than I usually do with other alcohols and I think the resulting jam was even better than my last year’s gin version. I am planning to try other peach varieties jams also with crème de cassis, but this would have to wait for next year unfortunately…

My peaches didn’t really look organic, so I haven’t tried making Peach Peel Butter, but I can imagine its colour would be extraordinary.

Preparation: about 1 hours + processing

Ingredients:

1 kg vineyard peaches weighed without stones and peel

400g sugar (or more if the peaches are not very ripe)

juice from 1 lemon

40g pectin in powder (not necessary if you like a runny jam or if you cook it long enough to be dense)

200 – 300 ml crème de cassis

Put the peaches in boiling water for two minutes. Take them away with a slotted spoon and place immediately in cold water. After a couple of minutes the peel will come off easily with fingers. (If the peaches are organic, you can always use the peel to make Peach Peel Butter)

Remove the stones and cut the fruit into small pieces (do not throw away the juice!). Weigh it.

Put the fruit, the lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of water into a non reactive pan and cook on a rather high heat until the peaches become soft. Stir it often and watch the pan constantly (if there is not enough liquid they will burn). Add the sugar and simmer on a low heat for ten more minutes.

Add the pectin and more sugar if the jam is not sweet enough, stir it and cook for another ten minutes. Put aside.

At the end, before filling the jars, pour the crème de cassis and stir the jam once more.

Spoon hot jam into sterilised jars, cover with lids.

Leave the jars to cool.

Place the cool jars into a big pan, cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the jam and don’t forget to mark the date.

NOTE: For the readers who live in the USA, the USDA-approved canning method is different. You can find it described here:
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/using_bw_canners.html.

Vineyard Peach Jam with Crème de Cassis on Punk Domestics