Here's a way to use ripe summer peaches. Interestingly, the (pureed) peach skins are included, as they add balance from the tannins, much like you'd get from wine, and help temper all the sugar. And then there's the 100-proof version of Southern Comfort (created by New Orleans bartender Martin Wilkes Heron in 1874). This recipe is courtesy of Chef Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery in Mid-City.
While he offers white wine vinegar as a substitute acidic component, Chef Toups recommends using food-grade citric acid, which is available in small quantities in grocery stores. In addition to canning, other uses for food-grade citric acid include cheese making.
Note that this jam is meant to be consumed shortly after making it: it keeps for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
Makes 2 cups
2 pounds medium-size, overripe peaches (about 10 peaches)
1 cup Southern Comfort (100-proof)
¼ teaspoon citric acid (or ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Note: I like to use citric acid instead of lemon juice or another vinegar because I don't like to add any extra flavors to the peaches. If you've got a good ripe peach, you don't want to mess with that. So rather than adding lemon juice to add acid and flavor, I add citric acid because it has no flavor beyond its tartness.
I like to just squeeze the peaches over a bowl to crush them. Grab a whole peach in your hand. Squeeze it over the bowl to get all the good stuff out until all you're left with is a pit—even the skin should be in the bowl, all crushed up. Repeat.
Put this mixture in a food processor and blend for 1 minute, or until completely smooth (it won't hurt for it to go longer, you want everything pureed evenly). I like to include the skin because it adds balance from the tannins, much like you'd get from a nice glass of wine, and body. Once you puree it, you won't be able to tell it's skin, but it really helps temper all the sugar we're adding. Once it's all blended it will have the consistency of a peach smoothie—resist the urge to drink it.
Put a large nonstick saute pan over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot, add the Southern Comfort and ignite the liquid. This will make a large flame—be warned. Continue to cook until the fire dies off, about 1 minute, then add the sugar, citric acid, salt, and peach puree. Give it a good stir with a heat-proof spatula. Keep the heat at medium-low and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Once the mixture is simmering, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook for about 40 minutes, until the mixture reduces to 2 cups; stir with spatula every 5 minutes (stirring from edges toward the center to keep the edges clean as you reduce). This is high sugar, and it's going to want to burn, so keep that heat low. When it's ready, it will have a jam-like consistency.
Transfer to any food-safe container that has a lid and let cool to room temperature. Cover and place in fridge, where it will keep for up to 2 weeks.