If you are very fortunate enough to catch the end of the raspberry season and the beginning of the peach season at the same time, then you can make Peach Melba jam.
The name Peach Melba comes from the dessert invented in 1892 by Auguste Escoffier at The Savoy Hotel in London, to honour the Australian soprano Nellie melba. It featured peaches with a raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.
It is very difficult to grow peaches in Britain, unless you have a south facing walled kitchen garden, and so it goes without say that you will be buying them instead. Make sure they are ripe and juicy before you buy, by ensuring they yield to the touch.
This recipe should make approximately 2 kg of jam, which will be extremely well received spread on warm buttered toast on a cold winter’s day:
1 kg of ripe peaches
1 kg fresh raspberries
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (I always buy unwaxed lemons)
1 kg caster sugar (I use Billington’s)
Place the peaches in boiling water for a minute, then remove the skins. Keep about 150 ml. of the peachy water.
Cut the peaches into small pieces, removing the stones. Place the peaches, the raspberries, lemon zest and juice in a big pan with the peachy water. Cook for ten minutes. Keep stirring.
Add the sugar, mix well and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
Bring to the boil and boil until you reach a temperature of 105 degrees C. Remove any scum with a slotted spoon.
Take a cold saucer (leave it in the fridge for a few minutes) and place a teaspoon of jam on it. Put back in the fridge to cool down for a few minutes. Test the jam for a set: if you push the jam with your finger and it creates wrinkles the jam is ready for pouring into sterilised jam jars and sealing.
Alex Johanssen is a dinner lady at her little local village primary school. She works part-time, as she has two small children, and helps prepare, cook and serve hundreds of meals every week to growing children who love really good, tasty food. Her secrets for getting children to try as many different types of food as possible are to keep everything simple, don’t make fussy sauces, show children how food grows and get them involved in the kitchen.