If necessity is the mother of invention then children are the reason for resourcefulness.
Last week I watched my dutiful child drag a bag full of peaches up the front steps. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. By the time I saw what was happening she was nearly to the final step. I thanked her for helping me with the groceries, lamented my badly bruised peaches, and then felt a wave of gratitude for knowing how to cook.
I hate wasting food, and when we do have to toss something that was forgotten in the back of the fridge. I don’t say to myself, “Bummer, I have to toss out that parsley.” I say, “Bummer, I just threw away $2.” It’s a way of keeping me on track, and helping me honor how hard we work for what we have, whether it’s $2 worth of parsley or $10 worth of peaches. Luckily, a few of the peaches made it through their ordeal unscathed and the rest I turned into small batch Peach Basil Jam. The bright essence of basil pairs beautifully with sweet peaches.
I’ve piled this jam top of a piece of sour dough, folded into overnight oats, and recently spread it on a PB&J, though, admittedly, peanut butter and basil were not a hit and my children let me know about it.
Peach Basil Jam
- 3 Pounds peaches (peeled, stone removed, sliced)
- 3/4-2 Cups granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- pinchkosher salt
- 1/4 cup basil (cut into thin ribbons)
|Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach. Carefully drop them into the boiling water. After about 5 minutes you should see the peels pulling away from the skin. Use a slotted spoon to lift the peaches from the water. Empty the pot, and return it to the stove over low heat. Pull the skin off the peaches, remove the pit, and discard. Chop or slice your naked peaches, and add them back to the pot, along with sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt. Give it a quick stir.|
|Turn the heat to medium. Let the peaches slowly start to break down over the next 45 minutes, stirring the mixture from time to time and reducing the heat as needed to make sure the jam doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot. You want a gentle simmer.|
|After the jam has thickened and the peaches have broken down, I like to smash them with a potato masher a few times. I also take my immersion blender and run in through the mixture a few times. I prefer my jam to have peanut-sized bits in it, but you decide the consistency that's right for you. Toss in the basil, and give it a stir, and cook for a few minutes more.|
|Ladle into jars, and share with people who make you smile. This jam will keep in the fridge for up to a month.|