Today’s recipe is a mishmosh of using up a little of what my garden has to offer and using the gorgeous seasonal stone fruits sent to me from the Washington State Fruit Commission (because I am a “Canbassador” for them). This is the time of year I start thinking about what needs to be cut back & dried before the end of summer starts to kick in, and what needs to be used fresh now. Plus I have more peppers than I can count! Add that to the massive amount of stunningly perfect peaches and nectarines I received, and you’ve got this.
And it burns, burns, burns, burns.. that ring of fire… that ring of fire. You all know Johnny Cash is one of my favorite artists of all time, right? You should. Him and June (and that whole era of music, really) are absolutely some of my favorites. I could watch Walk The Line a million times, as well as the documentary about their performance at Folsom, and basically love every song- save for the extreme preachy gospel stuff- that he/they have done.
So it stands to reason I’d grow a hot pepper named after one of his and June’s most popular songs (she wrote it, you know): the Ring Of Fire pepper.
And of course when I got those gorgeous yellow peaches, I was thinking of what to do with them. So I thought, hey, that peach & pepper salsa was a mighty big hit. Why not incorporate a hot pepper into some peach preserves? Sure it’s been done before- but I never did it. I decided to not wait until the peppers got red because of two reasons: 1) I didn’t want the peaches to get too soft while I waited and 2) then they’d be pretty freakin’ hot; about 20,000- 50,000 Scoville Heat Units. Here’s what they look like red:
To put that heat in perspective, a habanero has about 100,000 – 300,000 SHU and a jalapeno has about between 2,500 – 10,000 SHU. So while this Cayenne variety isn’t crazy hot, when red it has a pretty good amount of heat. I used it while green, so it was still a little spicy and a bit hot- but not too bad. A pleasant heat. Just a little hotter than your average jalapeño.
I adapted this recipe from one provided by Pomona’s Pectin, which is what I used. This jam is a low-sugar jam; only 1 cup of sugar per 4 cups of mashed peaches + two chopped peppers. If you wish to use more/less, I’ll give you the breakdown in the recipe. You can also substitute honey, if desired. That goes only for Pomona’s Pectin. if you’re using regular pectin or another brand’s low-sugar pectin, please look to them for directions.
You could also substitute a habanero pepper if you want. I’d recommend adding a higher sugar content to offset it, however, so perhaps using a different brand of pectin for a full-sugar jam would be better. I’ve had great success with Ball, Sure-Jell and Certo, so don’t be afraid.
“RING OF FIRE” PEACH + PEPPER JAM
Makes about 4 1/2 – 5 half pints or 2 – 2 1/4 pints; can be doubled or tripled only if using Pomona’s
- 4 cups mashed peaches (peeled of course- and save those peels!)
- 3/4 cup – 2 cups sugar/honey (choose the amount that’s right for you, I used 1 cup)
- 2 green Ring Of Fire cayenne peppers OR 1 red Ring Of Fire cayenne pepper (or other chili/cayenne pepper of your choice with similar heat)
- 4 teaspoons calcium water (included in pectin box)*
- 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin*
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Place fruit in a large saucepan and add lemon juice and calcium water. Slice peppers and de-seed them, removing the white ribs. Chop them fairly small and add to the peaches in the pan, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix Pomona’s Pectin with your sugar/room temperature honey thoroughly. Set aside.
- When fruit is at a boil, add the sugar/pectin mix and stir vigorously for 1 – 2 minutes. Allow to come back to a rolling boil. Remove from heat.
- Ladle into jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims and add lids and bands. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. You know the drill- after 12 hours, any unsealed jars must be put in the fridge and used “immediately.”
*Pomona’s Pectin is a different kind of pectin from most brands; there are two parts that must be included in each recipe: the calcium water and the powdered pectin. Instructions are listed in the box so don’t worry if you’re confused!
I’ve used Pomona’s a few times now and I really love it. It’s perfect for when you want to make jam or preserves and don’t want to use the HUGE amount of sugar in most recipes. Or, if you want to use honey. Don’t be intimidated by the “calcium water” and how it sounds. It’s really very simple!
In case you’re unsure how to easily peel peaches, here’s an excellent description on how, with photos. And, like I mentioned above, save your peach peels to make some peach peel butter! Seriously. You’re gonna want to do that- I do it every year, this year’s version had vanilla bean and apple brandy.
“Bound by wild desire… I fell into a ring of fire…”
If you, too, have fallen into a burning ring of fire for canning, and you’ve been canning up a storm so far this summer, or you plan to be, add the Sweet Preservation “Of Course I Canned!” badge to your blog. Click here to view & save the file, then add it. Also be sure to visit SweetPreservation.com for MORE recipes & FAQ’s.