Photography is not something I talk about a lot on the blog. I guess I just take it for granted, but it’s such an important part of a food blog. Photography is what people see first. The pictures have the important job of drawing people into a post which is not something that even a flashy recipe title can do. It also gives people an expectation about what the recipe will look like when they cook it at home. So, it really is an important part. The photograph, in many cases, is just as important as the recipe. And honestly, my images haven’t always been pretty like these of this delicious freezer jam. In fact, some of them have been downright ugly. Check out this comparison image of my Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings. I recently re-shot the images and when I decided to show them both to y’all, I realized that I took these two pictures almost exactly two years apart. Look how much things have changed in 730 days!
Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I am no expert. When it comes to food photography, I am self-taught. Despite a black and white photography class in college where I developed my own film and a short stint where I pretended to be a portrait photographer, my experience has been limited. But I love food photography. It’s nice to shoot things that (normally) don’t move and don’t even get me started on food styling. That’s another thing that I’ve grown to love. To me photos should be natural, beautiful, and mouth-watering. The styling should also be natural. You won’t find me using any fancy styling tricks when I shoot my food (or when we shot the images for the book). Everything is the real food that I cooked myself. I want your dish to turn out and look as closely to mine as possible, so I don’t use any of those tricks like using mashed potatoes for ice cream or putting lipstick on strawberries to make them look brighter. My food is the real deal.
So, what got me started on this tangent about photography and styling? These beautiful images of this freezer jam. Now, my mama taught me not to brag, but dang aren’t these images pretty? I just love how they turned out and couldn’t pick which ones to use, so I’ve got 5 or 6 here that I just had to include.
Now, about this freezer jam recipe… Y’all absolutely have to try this. There’s not any of that time consuming jar sterilizing, so it’s super easy. And y’all know about me and easy. It’s nothing like canning and because you don’t cook it, your fruit won’t lose any of delicious fresh taste. I made 5 8-ounce jars in less than 1 hour and the flavor… it’s really fantastic. I’m pretty sure I prefer this to jam and jelly canned the old fashioned way. Several important things to keep in mind… You need to use freezer safe jars that will allow for the cold temps and the expansion of the freezing jam – since the freezing part is what preserves it. And you’ll need to make sure you’re using INSTANT pectin. You should have no trouble finding it in your grocery store or a store like Wal-Mart or Target in the canning section.
I just had some of this for breakfast this morning and these pictures still make my mouth water. It really is super delicious! I told you there were too many pretty images to pick from, so here are some more…
- 2½ pounds fresh, ripe peaches
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1½ cups sugar
- 5 tablespoons instant pectin
- Peel and coarsely chop the peaches. Place them in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until you reach a chunky puree. (Don't have a food processor? Simply use a potato masher to mash them up in a large bowl.) You should end up with about 3½ cups of puree.
- Pour the puree into a large bowl and add the lemon juice and stir well.
- Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Gradually add the pectin to prevent lumps and stir very, very well. (I like using a whisk here for this part.) Spoon the jam into clean jars with tight fitting lids ensuring you leave about ½ inch of space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion in the freezer. Allow the jars to sit a room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes to set. Store the jam in the refrigerator or the freezer. The jam will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks and in the freezer for about a year.