Pineapple Peach Ginger Jam Pineapple Peach Ginger Jam

Pineapple Peach Ginger Jam

Kendra Bailey Morris for NPR
Pineapple Peach Ginger Jam
Kendra Bailey Morris for NPR

This deliciously sweet, fruit-based spread is enhanced with just a tough of ginger, lending it a nice spiciness. This particular style of jam making harkens back to a traditional method often used by my West Virginia grandmothers: thickening the jam without adding pectin (a commonly used gelling and thickening agent). However, if you find your jam is taking too long to thicken on its own, you can add one tablespoon of powdered pectin to the mixture to speed things up.

Makes 8 to 9 half-pint jars

6 cups sugar

2 tablespoons Fruit Fresh (a powder that keeps fruit from browning)

7 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and diced

3 cups canned, crushed pineapple, drained and lightly chopped

3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Special equipment: candy thermometer

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and Fruit Fresh. Set aside.

In a large, nonreactive bowl, mix together peaches, pineapple, ginger, lemon juice and sugar mixture. Let mixture sit at room temperature to macerate for 3 hours.

Gently mash the mixture with a potato masher to break up any chunks, and then pour mixture into an 8-quart Dutch oven set on medium-low heat. Simmer uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring with a wooden spoon every now and then.

Insert a candy thermometer. When the temperature reaches 220 degrees, the mixture should have thickened. (Note: You can place a teaspoon of the jam on a plate and place in the fridge. After a few minutes, if the mixture has the consistency of honey, then it's ready.)

Pour finished jam into sterilized half-pint jars using a wide-mouth funnel, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a small plastic spatula around the inside of the jar. Wipe the jar rims clean. Seal with sterilized lids, according to manufacturer's directions. Place jars in a water canner filled with water that reaches at least 1 inch over the jar. Once the water comes to a boil, process for 5 minutes.

Using canning tongs, immediately remove jars and place in a draft-free location on a rack to cool. Any jars that do not seal (the lids should not press up and down when center is pressed) should be re-processed or enjoyed immediately. Label and store cans in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a year.