I am quite happy to report that making one's own peach jam is far, far easier than expected. It was a fairly time consuming process, but it was a lot of fun to do. We started out with Blake peeling peaches while I got everything else ready. (Kyle was assigned photography duty; Blake and I took some photos above, but the majority of pictures are Kyle's.) After Blake peeled them, I pitted the fruit and then zapped it in the food processor for a few seconds before boiling it with pectin and sugar. Once it had cooked for a bit, it was time to put it into the jars. The jars were put into the canner and boiled for a while, then I was able to set them out to cool. I ended up with nine pints of jam, which is pretty awesome. I probably could have pushed it to 10, but instead I used the leftover little bit in pancakes that we had for dinner and as a peach syrup that we'll be having on ice cream for dessert. (Plans to make my own ice cream are also in the works, as I do have an ice cream machine I've yet to use.)
Only downside? Check out the state of my kitchen. Canning, or at least making jam, is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially if you have kids. The boys had plenty of questions, and I was able to talk with them about the science behind it all, so it was a learning experience as well as a bonding one. Just be ready for plenty of dishes afterwards.
Final verdict: I will definitely be doing this some more, especially considering how much the boys and I enjoyed it as well as learning a valuable, yet seemingly vanishing, skill.