Spicy Peach Preserves

September 10, 2015(updated on August 30, 2021)

peach pulp with spices

It feels bittersweet to write these words, but I do believe that this will be my last fresh peach recipe for this year. I’ve peeled, cooked, and processed about 25 pounds this season and I feel utterly done with them. However, if you’ve still got some peach energy, this sweet, spicy, tangy preserve might be a fun one for you.

spicy peach preserves close

To build this recipe, I took the bones of my beloved tomato jam and made just a few small tweaks. I reduced the amount of sugar, added a little salt for balance, and reduced the cooking time (because peaches don’t contain as much water as tomatoes do).

spicy peach preserves

The finished jam has a nice sweet and savory balance, and would be really great to use as a glaze for baked chicken or as a dipping sauce for roasted vegetables. I’m sure that when the days get a little cooler, I’ll stir some together with apple cider vinegar and use it as a tasty braising medium for chicken thighs.

If you make it, let me know what you think, since this one is more of an experiment that most of the recipes I post here.

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Spicy Peach Preserves


  • 5 pounds peaches peeled and mashed
  • 21/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold four pints of finished product.
  • Combine the mashed peaches, sugar, lime juice, ginger, salt, red chili flakes, cinnamon, and cloves in a large pot.
  • Place the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the peaches to a boil. Cook, stirring regularly, for 20 to 30 minutes (or even more, if your peaches are watery), until the fruit thickens into jam. You'll know it's done when the droplets fall off your spatula in chunky bits and the fruit in the pan doesn't look at all watery.
  • When the jam is done to your liking, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Funnel the finished 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.

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28 thoughts on "Spicy Peach Preserves"

  • Darn it! Just when I swore I was done with peeling my last peach, this great idea has me considering backing off my oath. Trade off…do I want to move on to the great looking apples and pears showing up in the market or regret not having this option in the pantry next winter?

  • Marisa,
    Your mention of a tomato jam reminded me of a question. I finally made Amy’s Tomato Jam from your book. It deserves all of the raves it has earned! But I noticed that it calls for fresh squeezed lime juice. You have mentioned fresh squeezed juice is for flavor, not preserving. Now I look longingly at those beautiful little jars in my pantry wondering if they are safe because they contain neither bottled juice nor citric acid.
    What do you think? Finally, thanks for all of the inspiration.

    1. That recipe contains more than double the amount of lime juice necessary for safety, so I feel comfortable using fresh instead of bottled. Even if the fresh lime juice you used contains a bit less acid than bottled, the sheer volume makes up for any difference. So your beautiful little jars are perfectly safe.

  • So everything not peachy keen, huh? hehe. That’s how I feel about tomatoes right now, I am so done with them. You’ve been fun tomatoes, but I am sick of making sauce in my grandmother’s victorian strainer!

  • I love your tomato jam recipe and have canned a lot of that the past month or two. I need to score some peaches to try this!!! I can’t wait!

  • Can this recipe be adapted to use with fall fruits like apples and pears. Spicy pear jam sounds like it would be really good!

  • This looks fantastic, but I swore peaches off two weeks ago after processing my third half bushel. I wonder how this would taste with apples though….

  • how much honey would you use to substitute for the sugar…..1 1/4c? thanks for another way to enjoy peaches this winter!

  • I have some fresh Scotch Bonnets I need to use. Do you think I could use them in place of the chili flakes in this recipe without affecting the acidity or processing times?

    1. I believe that you could use a very small amount of fresh Scotch Bonnet without changing the flavor. You wouldn’t want more than about tablespoon of diced pepper, though.

  • Made this today and WOW! Love Amy’s Tomato Jam and Smoky Tomato from your books. So glad to add this one with some of my last Oregon peaches of the season to my stash. Going to remind me of summer with a kick all winter long. Thanks Marissa!

  • I’m so sad – I’m not done with peaches yet, but they are turning pasty and losing their sweetness! Maybe I will buy some to make this jam. I don’t even know exactly what I would do with it (perhaps, like tomato jam, it would be awesome on an egg sandwich??).

  • Just made this recipe with nectarines and honey. I may not have cooked it long enough, I’m new to canning and still working on telling when things are thick enough. It seems a bit watery in the jar but maybe will thicken as it cools. The bit left in the pot tasted SUPER! I can’t wait to try it on crackers with goat cheese. Also made some gingery pickled nectarines because pickled peaches/nectarine are one of the best things ever! Thanks for such a great website (and books!).

  • made this with a combination of apricots and peaches, and it tastes amazing in the pot! Also hoping that I was patient enough for the right amount of thickening…

  • This reminds me of a dipping sauce I use for baked shrimp sticks (see epicurious).

    I could see making a sort-of bread stick by spreading this on puff pasty, slicing the pastry then twisted into “sticks” and baking.

  • Made a small batch today but used lemon juice as well as some zest…it is pretty darn tasty! I know got 3 pints so struggling with giving any away….might have to make more!

  • I also thought I was done with peaches for this season. I went to the farmers’ market last week end, hoping to buy tomatoes for my annual production of Amy’s tomato jam. I didn’t like the look of the tomatoes, but a beautiful box of peaches caught my eye. Of course, I could not resist! As always, when I am looking for inspiration, I check out your blog This recipe looked good and I cooked up a batch. I have several jars tucked away for holiday gifts, but, of course, I had to put it to the test. In a word: YUM! For brunch, I made an egg, ham, cheese, and egg sandwich on an English muffin slathered with the spicy peach preserves. For dinner, I served some of the preserves with grilled pork chops. I can see using this on spring rolls and grilled seafood, just for starters. At any rate, this is yet another wonderful recipe. Thanks so much, Marisa.

  • Very excited to discover your books and your site. I am new to canning, I did a batch of your Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam last night. Haven’t opened it yet but the bit leftover that wouldn’t fit in jars was amazing! Two questions: The recipe was supposed to yield 3 8 oz. jars, I got 2, is that normal? Did I do something wrong? I weighed my fruit so I know I started with the same amount. Also, I’ve noticed in the pictures on your site I don’t see what I think of as headspace. Am I missing something? Does the jam or product expand to fill the space? I have a 1/2″ gap from the top of my jam to the lid. Thank you!

    1. Yield can vary a lot depending on the amount of rainfall, how hot the weather was during the growing season, how wide your pan is, and how long you cooked the jam. Having that much reduction is yield is unusual, but not improbably.

      As far as the headspace goes, I always leave proper headspace when canning. Many products do expand during processing, only to settle back out again as the jars sit. I often take my pictures soon after processing (gotta do it before the jars are open or gifted), so sometimes they haven’t settled back down yet.

  • This is in the pot as I type. It smells wonderful. I’m betting that it would be a great base for an Asian dipping sauce – think plum sauce upscaled. Dinner tonight might be spring rolls to dunk in it.

  • This is one of the best preserves I’ve ever made. Had to balance with a little extra lime, but wow!

    I’m going to eat this on vanilla ice cream, and as sauce for seitan and root veg hand pies. Finding something I can use for both purposes is pretty amazing.