Peaches have become one of those fruits that is nearly always available, but they are only transcendent during the months of July and August. Those mealy, impenetrable fruits that you pay a small fortune for during the winter can’t possibly compare.
Every summer, I make a point to buy between 25 and 50 pounds of peaches. I slice and freeze a bunch, can halves in light syrup and make sauce (like apple only peachy), butter and jam. Glorious peach jam!
After the jump, you’ll find my basic peach jam recipe. I like to flavor mine with cinnamon and nutmeg, but you could also go with vanilla, a bit of bourbon, ginger, lavender, rosemary or thyme.
I apologize for the slightly weird picture of the peaches floating in water above, but somehow, I didn’t manage to take a single picture of the jam-making process. I made my jam on a Friday night, after an evening of cocktails and sushi, so I must have been a little addled.
- 5 pounds peaches peeled and chopped (about 10 cups)
- 6 cups of sugar
- 4 tablespoons powdered pectin
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 lemons zested and juiced
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 6 pints of jam.
- Pour the peaches into a large, non-reactive pot.
- Whisk the pectin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the sugar to combine and add that to the fruit.
- Stir so that the peaches begin to release their juice and the sugar begins to dissolve.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring regularly for 15-20 minutes. If the fruit hasn’t broken down much after that time is up, use a potato masher (taking care not to burn yourself with hot jam) to break down the chunks.
- Add the lemon juice and zest and continue cooking until the volume in the pot has reduced by approximately half and the jam passes your set test of choice (temperature, freezer, sheeting).
- Remove the pot from the heat and 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 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When 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.