One of the best things about my local Stop & Shop is their "markdown bin" where fruits and vegetables on the verge of being pitched into the dumpster are sold at deeply-cut prices. I never shop there without checking the markdowns. Sometimes I don't find anything that inspires me, but other times it's like a gold mine of delicious possibility.
Last week, I made quite a score. Peaches, plums, kiwifruit, a few lemons, a couple of apples, and two pounds of strawberries, all mine for less than five dollars total. It was amazing, and because it was a cool day, just right for making a batch of jam, the family and I sat down, peeled some fruit, and made five pints of delicious jam.
Mixed Fruit JamAbout 5 pints
6 fresh peaches3 large kiwifruit3 plums1 apple1 pound strawberriesJuice and zest from 1 lemonSugar
Blanch the peaches, kiwifruit, and plums in boiling water and slip off the skins. Chop fruit coarsely into a bowl. Pare and core the apple, and chop that into the bowl as well. Cap the strawberries, cut them up and add them to the bowl, too. Stir in the juice and zest of the lemon.
Measure the fruit into a stainless steel stockpot, and add sugar equal to 3/4 the volume of the fruit. For example, I had nine cups of fruit, so I added 7 cup of sugar. Stir the sugar in well, over medium-high heat, until the sugar is completely liquified. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a fast simmer. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring occasionally. Use a tablespoon or large serving spoon to remove scum from the surface of the jam a it cooks.
As the jam cooks, monitor its temperature with a candy thermometer or digital probe. When the temperature reaches 220 F and doesn't cool way down when stirred, the jam has reached the "gelling" point and is ready to can.
Ladle the jam carefully into 1-pint jelly jars. Cap and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from the water-bath canner at the end of the processing time and store until needed.