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, see note
- 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.