Peach Jam

I finally bought the home canning kit they sell at the hardware store. You know, the one I check out while my husband inspects the lawnmowers and grills. Canning is some sort of home cook rite of passage and I was ready to give it a shot. The following Saturday we went to the Farmer’s Market and came home with beautiful fresh peaches, okra (first time for that one) and pickling cucumbers for these. I had high expectations and wanted this jam to be bursting with peach flavor. I looked at the recipe in the Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving and they used pectin and loads of sugar. I still have research to do on natural pectin, but I read through pages and pages of information on canning and found permission to reduce the sugar content with no ill-effects to the safety of the jam since it does not affect the acidity necessary to keep out harmful bacteria.

Sugar acts as a preservative that will keep your jam looking beautiful during its shelf-life (after proper canning) of about a year. I had a feeling my jam wouldn’t last nearly that long and opted for reducing the sugar content. Since I did not use pectin, I also had a possible thickening problem on my hands. To make sure it had a nice consistency, I adapted my favorite plum jam recipe and cooked the fruit for 30-40 minutes until it was thick and delicious.  Whether you want to give canning a shot for the first time or you just want to make a batch and keep it in your refrigerator for a couple weeks, it’s worth it. I made 3 pints of this peach jam and I gave one away, one resides in our pantry and the other is in the refrigerator with spoonfuls disappearing daily. I was ultimately very happy that I reduced the sugar because the resulting jam had a wonderful peach flavor and was definitely sweet. Try it on your favorite bread or put a small dollop on a cracker with some goat cheese for a heavenly snack.

Recipe: Peach Jam

makes 3 pints

5 lbs. ripe peaches

1 1/2 C. sugar

2 lemons,  zest and juice

1. Get a large pot of water boiling to remove peach skin. Put peaches in boiling water for 10 seconds and transfer them to an ice water bath to cool. Skins of ripe peaches will remove easily. Remove pit and cut peaches into 1/2″ chunks.

2. Using tongs, put your jars, lids and rims in the boiling water for 10 minutes to sterilize. Use tongs to remove your sterilized jars, lids and rims and allow to dry on a clean, dry towel.

3. Transfer cut peaches, sugar, lemon juice and zest into a large pot (preferably wide to promote the reduction of juices). Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer for 30-40 minutes or until mixture has reduced and is thick. Stir frequently, especially towards the end when the mixture has thickened. I like my jam chunky, but you can use a potato masher or immersion blender to break down the peaches further. Be careful during this process, though, the jam gets very hot.

4. Ladle into pint jars (leave 1/4″ of headspace if doing the full canning process) and cover with lids and bands. Transfer to the refrigerator when jars have cooled or process immediately in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, cool to room temperature and store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Canning Resources

Food in Jars

Tigress in a Jam

Doris and Jilly Cook

6 Notes Leave a Note

  1. Great post, Nicole! I have been really wanting to try making some jams but the whole sterilization process makes me nervous. I have a huge supply of strawberries in my fridge, though, so I think my plan is to boil the jars in water (as you did) and have at it. I’ve read, too, that you can sterilize jars in the dishwasher. In any case, your peach jam looks fabulous!

    • Thanks, Kasey! I’ve heard of the dishwasher idea and it sounds perfect, but sadly we do not have one. You can also put them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven, but I opted for the boiling water method since I already had it going for the peaches. I’m sure your strawberry jam will be delicious!

      • Naomi-I am mourning the summer as well. Where did it all go? It’s a blur of heat and wedding to-dos 🙂

        NS-I did not add pectin to the recipe, but cooked the fruit longer to reduce the mixture to a nice jam consistency.

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