This brown sugar peach jam is seasoned with salt and spiked with a few tablespoons of bourbon, for a balanced, boozy spread.
Back in August, the Washington State Fruit Commission (follow them on Instagram for lots of fruit inspiration) sent me a big box of peaches and nectarines. I made a juicy nectarine tart, a batch of mixed fruit compote, and a batch of this smooth, boozy brown sugar peach jam.
I chose to use brown sugar as the sweetener, because it has a rich, molasses-y flavor that plays nicely with both peaches and bourbon. And while I could have left the jam chunky, I like to have some jams in my pantry that can double as a drizzle for desserts and ice cream. This one fits that bill nicely.
When it comes to adding booze to jams and preserves, I typically pour them in during the last few minutes of cooking. My goal is to evaporate the alcohol, but retain the flavor. However, you could certainly add the bourbon a little later if you wanted the finished jam to be a little more spirited.
Make sure that you don’t leave out the salt, as it brings balance and punches up the caramel notes of the spread. I canned this batch mostly in pints, but you could spread this out across seven or eight half pints and stash it away for holiday gift baskets. Because who doesn’t like brown sugar peach jam in the depths of winter!
On Peeling Peaches
To start this jam, you’ll need to peel four pounds of peaches. The easiest way I’ve found to peel a relatively small number of peaches is to cut them in half, arrange them in a heatproof pan, and cover them with boiling water for a minute or two. It’s a process I describe in this post, and it makes the work of peeling peaches nearly effortless.
Peach Jam with Brown Sugar and Bourbon
- 4 pounds peaches, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds brown sugar, approximately 3 1/3 cups
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- Prepare a canning pot and enough jars to hold 8 half pints.
- Combine the prepped peaches, brown sugar and lemon juice in a large, non-reactive pot and stir to combine.
- Once the sugar has started to dissolve and there’s some liquid in the pot, place it on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring regularly for 20-25 minutes, until the total volume in the pot has reduced by at least one-third.
- When you’re about three minutes away from the end of the cook time, stir in the salt, nutmeg, and bourbon.
- Remove the pot from the heat, and using an immersion blender, puree the jam until smooth.
- Funnel the jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- Once the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
Funny that you have this as a jam. I made something very similar a few weeks back as an ice cream flavoring base, complete with the alcohol. It’s very good too!
I suppose i could prepare a batch to put in the freezer, then, this winter, unfroze it and cook and can?
That might be hard on the texture of the jam. It will probably be a bit runnier than desired.
No pectin needed?
Not in this recipe. It gets its set from the cooking down and the pureeing.
mine was soup. I cooked it down for more than an hour and after I pureed it, it was still soup so i added some liquid pectin. We’ll see what happens.
WHY so much salt? It tasted great til that step, now I feel like I used all those ingredients and all that effort for something that tastes weirdly salty.
This recipe is designed to have a salty edge because it goes well with the brown sugar and bourbon. I’m sorry you don’t like it.
Yum!!! I just made this last night and am so pleased with it! I did want something that would be used by everyone in the family so decided to sub some high quality vanilla for the bourbon – I was afraid the kids might not like the bourbon flavor. Otherwise reduced the salt a tiny bit (since I used less vanilla than the bourbon called for here) but kept everything the same. I think the flavor profile is similar to intended, and boy were you right about how well that brown sugar pairs with the peach! My yield was 6 half pints and then just enough to pour warm right over bowls of vanilla ice cream. I’m not going to lie – that may be the way we eat it exclusively 🙂 I’m pretty sure I cooked mine down more than the recipe so wasn’t surprised by the slightly lower than recipe yield. Thank you!!
I’m so glad you were able to adapt the recipe to suit your needs! It sounds like your variation was delicious!
I followed directions, but mine has an overwhelming nutmeg flavor. :(. It’s not bad in a jam-for-Christmas-holidays kind of way, but you can’t taste the peaches at all…has anyone else had this issue?
I know you might not be checking your email much right now, but just in case: I’m going to make this jam over the weekend and wondering if I can substitute any of the other warm spices for the Nutmeg? Thanks and so happy for you and Scott. You have two beautiful boys!
You can always substitute spices as you see fit!
I am sad to agree with Nan. The tablespoon of salt was too much for mine. It tastes really sweet yet also pretty salty. A note for other folks making this: maybe add 1/2 tbs salt and taste. If you want it saltier, add the whole tablespoon.
As I’ve thought about it, there’s a good chance I cooked mine down more than you did so when I added the tablespoon of salt, it was just too much for the amount of jam I had remaining. I like a thick set jam so I will just plan to cut the salt in half next time. Thanks for the recipe!
Just bought a ton of peaches and I’m excited to try this recipe! I would like to make this in my unlined copper pot. I know the recipe says to use something non-reactive, but is it safe to use my pot if I combine my sugar/peaches in another bowl before cooking them in the pot? I used your other post about the safety of copper pots to obtain that advice, but wanted to check just in case there is something else about this recipe that would make a copper pot dangerous. Thanks!
Yes. Copper pans are perfectly safe for jam making as long as you macerate the fruit with the sugar in another vessel first. Just make sure that it’s not a low sugar recipe, because those often don’t use enough sugar to prevent a reaction.
Hi! I just made a batch of this jam and realized that I used all the measurements you gave but instead of 4# of peaches, I used 5# 4 oz. ; i.e less sugar. along with the other ingredients. Will this be an issue health wise? Thank you ROBERT
It’s not a safety concern. The jam may discolor faster since there’s less sugar per jar, though.
OOPS! I accidentally added the nutmeg before I cooked it. Is this ok?
That’s not a big deal.
What if I don’t have fresh ground nutmeg and just the spice in a jar how much should I use?
Use the same amount.
Oops. I was using 4 oz jars and accidentally processed them for only 10 mins since all the other peach jams I’ve made recently only required 10 minutes of processing. Would love your input on whether that was sufficient processing time or if I now have a lot of jam that I need to eat asap! Thanks in advance for your input.
As long as the seals are good, it should be fine. Ten minutes should be enough to penetrate to the center of 4 ounce jars.
4 lbs peaches raw whole peaches or 4 lbs after after peeling and chopping?
It’s four pounds of peaches prior to peeling and chopping.
This is amazingly delicious. But it doesn’t make 8 half pint jars. Mine made six and I didnt cook it until it reduced much. I started with 4 cups of peaches, chopped. I don’t know how many lbs it started as, since I had small peaches. I also used a pack of pectin. Absolutely make this though, it’s great!
So glad you like it!
This is really excellent. I loved the original recipe but the update with the salt takes it to another level. Really delicious.
I am so glad you like it!
Can I substitute some of the brown sugar for regular white sugar? Thank you for a great recipe idea!
Question for you, recipe states 4 pounds peaches, is that 4 pounds whole or 4 pounds after peeled and pitted?
When a recipe says “4 pounds peaches, peeled and chopped” it means you take 4 pounds of peaches and then peel and chop them. If a recipe wanted you to take the weight after peeling and chopping, it would say, “4 pounds peeled and chopped peaches.” So start with 4 pounds of peaches and proceed.
Looking forward to trying this recipe! Just read through the comments, and wanted to say that, now that I have a really convenient flat kitchen scale, I am a convert to recipes which specify ingredients like fruit by prepared weight.
I am new enough to canning and preserving that I don’t feel confident eyeballing the consistency of jams before putting them in the jars to process. I’m still looking for the slight reassurance of scales and thermometers, lol!
Bourbon peaches!!!! I’m going to makes these right away!!!!!
I made one batch…..the next day made another batch. It’s wonderful! Will make a great gift too for my canning worthy friends! Peach Mostarda up next. Thank you for your great recipes, information and encouragement in the world of food preservation. I’ve been following you for years…when you had your blog, before your books were even published. At 66, I’m very proud of you young lady. Stay safe and be well.
I ended up making two batches because it is so delicious.
I’m so glad you like it!
Shoot. Only just read that it is 4lb peaches before peeling and chopping. I just used 4lb peeeled and chopped peaches, with a touch less sugar than called for. They are all currently bubbling away on the pot. What do I do? Add more sugar and lemon juice?
Honestly, it will be fine. You might need to cook it a little longer to achieve set, but that’s not a big deal.
This is amazing
I agree! 🙂
This looks amazing. Can this be made in a crock pot? I make blueberry Jam that way and find it so easy. Thanks for any suggestions.
I find that it’s hard to make true jams in a slow cooker, because they need high heat in order to get the sugar to elevate in temperature so that it can bond with the pectin and create a set. Blueberries have a lot of natural pectin, so I can see how they could create something serviceable in a slow cooker. But I don’t see this jam doing the same.
I want to make this soon, but do have one question. Can you substitute frozen peaches for fresh? Thanks for any help, this looks amazing.
Yes! Just make sure to add the sugar to the peaches while they’re still frozen, as that will help prevent discoloration.