Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Elaeagnus [Autumn Olive] Peach Jam

As I mentioned in my last post, it's elaeagnus season. [The common name is autumn olive, but there is nothing remotely olive-y about these.]  Pick them when they are dark red and softening up.  They should fall off the clusters easily when they are ripe.

This year I realized that elaeagnus are really the hoosier equivalent of cranberries in tartness and that they'd probably be pretty darn good in mixed fruit jams, just like cranberry juice is beloved in mixed fruit juices.   I decided to start there.

It's easy to find cran-apple and cran-raspberry juice mixes at the store, so I put those combinations on my Mixed Fruit Elaeagnus Jam To Make list right away.  Then I saw a recipe for Cranberry Peach Jam somewhere [sorry, can't remember where...!] and thought I should try that one, too. 

And I did.   And it was marvelous.   The elaeagnus berries have a sort of spicy undertone and the finished jam has the flavor of a gently spiced peach jam with the extra oomph of the tart elaeagnus, too.   We loved it!

I mixed the elaeagnus half and half with the other fruit - you can adjust proportions as you wish.   One thing to remember - don't skimp on the sugar with elaeagnus.  It's tart!   I have found that using equal parts sugar and elaeagnus makes for an excellent jam.  I also add in half as much sugar as extra fruit for a jam that is sweet without being candy.   Here's what I did for the Elaeagnus Peach Jam.  

Elaeagnus [Autumn olive] Peach Jam

2 cups elaeagnus [autumn olive] pulp [for directions on getting the pulp, see this post]
2 cups chopped peaches
3 tablespoons low sugar pectin
3 cups sugar 

Combine elaeagnus, peaches and pectin in a large pot. Bring to a hard boil [one that you can't stir down.] Boil one minute, stirring constantly.   Add sugar and stir well.  Bring to hard boil again stirring constantly.  Boil one minute.   Ladle into jars and cover with clean lids and rings.  Process for canning.

This jam is very acidic and is very safe for canning.  Makes about 5 cups.

Stay tuned for the recipes for Elaeagnus Apple Jam and Elaeagnus Raspberry Jam later this week.

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