Inspiration hit in the form of three of the very last of the season Missouri peaches gracefully wrinkling in the refrigerator. Front and center. Better to accost me with mild but nagging guilt every time I opened the fridge door.
Four Flavor Gernade Pluots (such an awesome name, such an awesome flavor) arrived in the kitchen.
A phenomenal piece of fruit. Watch this dude eat one.
That was shortly followed by a glance at this post jamming plums and star anise on Food in Jars.
Decided to swing into action. That's just the kinda gal I am.
I wound up with about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of diced fruit, - peaches peeled, pluots not.
I ate some along the way.
I added a cup of sugar and 3 star anise, bunged it into a large saute pan, and went to the day job, then to dinner.
Mexican. Fabulous margaritas - on the rocks, if you must know.
When I got back around 9 pm, the fruit was juicy and ready to go.
It took about 10 minutes of boiling to reach jammy consistency, and I wound up with 20 ouces of superb jam, about 2.5 cups.
I was not really a dedicated fan of star anise before this. Sure, they look cool. Kinda punk, in a back-to-nature way. But I don't really love anise seed, so the whole anise-y vibe didn't appeal to me much.
But it turns out that star anise is a whole different thing. It has the anise aroma without the astringent licorice flavor of anise seeds, and is rounded out by a deep woodsy clove base, with maybe a hint of nutmeg's fruity overtones.
Star Anise Peach and Pluot Jam .
3 large peaches
4 medium pluots
1 cup sugar
3 star anise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Peel peaches and chop fruit into centimeter-sized cubes.
Combine chopped fruit, lemon juice, sugar and star anise in a non-reactive pot or skillet.
Let sit for at least 1 hour - longer is better. Refrigerate if you feel it will be sitting too long for your personal comfort level.
Put fruit mixture into a large skillet (if you are a confident jam maker) or a medium pot (if you want to feel a little less tense about the whole procedure).
Bring to a boil over high heat. With a large skillet, I had to stir almost constantly, as the fruit mixture began to catch on the pan and was thisclose to burning a few times.
I turned the heat down a smidge at that point.
Boil and stir for about 10 to 15 minutes (mine took 9), using your favorite method to determine when the jam is done: plate test, temperature test (see here if you are not familiar with these), or the type of bubbles your jam is producing, a nifty trick from the Blue Chair Jam cookbook. I use temperature and bubbles, personally.
Spoon into jars and try not to eat it all at once.
This is not water-bath canned for long-term preservation, so store in the refrigerator and use within 3 or 4 weeks.