peach-vanilla jam

few years ago i had the good fortune to eat at the inn at little washington in virginia. it was defiantly an experience i will never forget. after eating chef Patrick O'Connell's food, i just had to buy his book. it is one of those books that i buy, mark 90% of the recipes and never make any, because they all look too special and spectacular to prepare in my simple kitchen. i was going to israel, and wanted to prepare something for my 97 year old grandfather. i went through my cooking books and came across this peach-vanilla jam recipe. it looked like a special jam for a special man. my grandmother used to make jams all the time and its been years since he ate a homemade one. the recipe looked amazing, so i decided to make a large amount and divide it into several jars for other family members.
jam is made by fruits heated with water and sugar. this process activates the pectin in the fruit which increases the thickness of the jam. apples are rich in pectin and that is why we are adding one to this recipe.

while the jam is being made it is very important to sterilize the jars. washing them in hot soapy water is not enough and the jam will go bad in 4 days. sterilizing the jars properly can help the jam last even for few years. in order to sterilize the jars you will nee
d a pot full of boiling water. put the clean jars in the boiling water and keep them on high heat for 10 minutes. be careful when you take them out, they are going to be hot! also be careful not to touch the inside of the jars, or the whole procedure is void.

when your jam is ready, pour immediately into the jars, its harder to pour when it is cooled down. once you pour the jam close the jars tightly and place them on clean towel upside down. leave them to cool down in room temperature. a vacuum inside the jars will form and this way they can be kept for a long time (again, depending on your sterilization). the jam should be stored in the fridge as soon as you open it.
the jam came out wonderful and my grandfather was happy. the smile on his face after he had a spoon full was priceless!

1 granny smith apple
4 cups of peeled, pitted and slices peaches
1 3/4 cups of sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
using a grater grate the apple, including skin and core, but not the seeds.
in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the grated apple, peaches, sugar, and 1tbs of the lemon juice and cook over low heat until the fruit begins to soften.
add the vanilla bean and simmer the preserves, stirring frequently and skimming any foam that rises to the surface. cook until the mixture registers 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. remove from heat.
pour the jam into sterile glass jars and chill until ready to serve.

*makes 3 cups

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