Peach Jam

Peach jam is a fantastic way to savor the taste of summer all year long, and this simple, pectin-free recipe makes it easy. Using just sugar or honey, a bit of lemon juice, and fresh peaches, you can create a delicious homemade jam that captures the natural sweetness and vibrant flavor of ripe peaches.

Making peach jam at home is simpler than you might think. With just a few ingredients, you can prepare a batch that rivals any store-bought brand. Homemade peach jam not only tastes better but also allows you to control the sweetness and ensure that there aren’t any funky additives.

I made several types of jams and preserves, all on the same day recently, and this peach jam was everyone’s favorite. When I said I was about to add some vanilla, my husband protested, saying that adding anything to it would ruin perfection. 😆

What I love most about this jam is that it so strongly tastes of peaches – much more so than store-bought! And that’s because this recipe uses WAY less sugar than store-bought jam and many homemade recipes as well.

Ingredients

  • Peaches – I used fresh peaches. You can use frozen peaches as long as they’re tasty.

    If you use store-bought frozen peaches with very little flavor, your jam won’t have much flavor either. Some store-bought frozen peaches are flavorful! Just not all of them.

    If you don’t like peaches, another type of stone fruit should work just fine. However, you might need to increase the amount of sweetener unless you’re using some super sweet fruit.

  • Sugar or honey – if using honey, you’ll need to boil it longer and to a higher temperature.

    If using sugar, you’ll need to cook it to 220 °F (104 °C), but for honey, I had to bring it to 227 °F (108 °C) before it was ready.

    But you do not need a thermometer! There’s an easy way to tell if it’s ready. All you need for that is a cold plate!

  • Lemon juice – this doesn’t add any lemon flavor to the jam. I talk about why it’s added below.

What type of peaches to use

When making peach jam, the best peaches to use are those that are ripe, juicy, and full of flavor. Here are some tips to help you choose the best types of peaches for your jam.

  • Freestone – these peaches have pits that are easy to remove, making them ideal for jam. Varieties like Elberta, O’Henry, and Red Haven are popular choices.

  • Clingstone – while these peaches have pits that cling to the flesh, they can still be used for jam if you don’t mind the extra effort. They’re often sweeter and juicier.

  • Yellow – these are the most common type of peaches used for jam. They have a balanced sweet-tart flavor that works well in jam.

  • White – these peaches are sweeter and less acidic than yellow peaches, offering a delicate flavor. They can be used for a milder peach jam.

No matter what type you use, select peaches that are ripe and fragrant. They should give slightly when gently pressed. Overripe peaches can be too mushy, while underripe peaches can be too firm and lack sweetness.

Fresh peaches that are firm yet yielding are the best choice to ensure a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity in your jam.

Can I use nectarines instead?

Yes! They work as a direct sub. You don’t need to make any adjustments to the recipe.

Why no pectin?

Pectin isn’t inherently bad, but most people don’t have it readily available. That’s why I never use it in my jam recipes.

Peaches have a moderate level of pectin. Pectin is a natural fiber found in fruits that is often used as a gelling agent in jams and jellies.

This jam turns out perfectly fine without it. If you prefer a more gel-like consistency, you might want to add pectin. Be sure to follow the package instructions for the correct proportions.

Using too much pectin can make the jam too firm while using too little can result in a runny texture.

Purpose of lemon juice

Lemon juice helps activate the natural pectin in peaches. Pectin needs an acidic environment to gel properly, and the acidity of lemon juice provides this, ensuring the jam achieves a thick, spreadable consistency.

The acidity in lemon juice also helps lower the pH of the jam, making it less hospitable to bacteria and mold, which extends the shelf life of the jam.

The acidity in lemon juice also helps preserve the bright color of the peaches, preventing them from turning brown during the cooking process.

How to peel the peaches

Sometimes you can just cut an X into the peach and peel the skin right off. If that doesn’t work for your peaches, you’ll want to blanch them.

It makes peeling a breeze! It’s especially great for big batches.

It really helps to loosen the skins for easier peeling. The process is quick, taking 30 seconds, so be careful not to leave the peaches in the boiling water for too long.

Then you’re going to plunge them into ice water.

This technique, called shocking, rapidly cools the peaches and prevents them from becoming mushy and overcooked. Be sure to prepare your ice bath in advance to avoid any last-minute rush.

How to make peach jam

These photos are here just to give you an overview of how to make this jam.

The full recipe is below.

If you’d like larger chunks of peach in your jam, then you can cook the jam over lower heat than the recipe calls for.

Can I can it?

I’m not well-versed in canning. Many people say it’s not as intimidating as it seems, but I’m still cautious. Here’s a step-by-step guide on canning that might help!

To answer the question – I’m unsure. I thought a certain amount of sugar was required for safe canning, but I recently learned this is a myth. This guide to sugar-free jam might be interesting if you’re considering canning.

If you do try it, I’d love to hear the results!

Can I make a bigger batch?

Definitely! This recipe only calls for 2 pounds of peaches, so if you went peach picking or have a peach tree, you’ll probably want to double or quadruple the recipe.

If you quadruple the recipe, then quadruple all the amounts. There are no adjustments that you need to make other than the cooking time.

If you use a thermometer, you’ll know exactly when the jam is ready. If you don’t have one, it’s not a problem.

Just do the cold plate trick I talk about in the recipe, and then you can be sure that the jam is ready.

If you still have some peaches left after making this jam, this Peach Kuchen looks like a great use for them!

How to store

Once the jam has completely cooled, transfer it to a clean, airtight container and store it in the fridge. It should last for about 2 to 3 weeks.

I prefer to freeze any jam I haven’t consumed after about a week, or even right after making it. If you don’t think you’ll eat all the jam within a week, freeze some once it’s cooled.

How to freeze

You can use the same methods I discuss in my Frozen Bananas post.

So, freeze the jam in the portions you typically use in recipes. If you have a recipe that calls for 1/2 cup of jam, freeze 1/2 cup portions in small Ziploc bags.

For smaller amounts to spread on toast, I use a silicone baby food mold to freeze my jam.

To defrost, place a frozen jam cube in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave it at half power for 10-20 seconds, or defrost in the fridge overnight. The jam doesn’t freeze rock hard, so an hour at room temperature also works.

You can freeze jam for up to a year, or even longer if properly packaged without a noticeable decline in quality.

Serving suggestions

Breakfast ideas

You can obviously spread peach jam on a piece of toast, bagel or English muffin. But you know what’s even better? Spread some cream under that peach jam!

You can also mix it into yogurt or oatmeal, like these Overnight Oats without Chia Seeds, for a refreshing change.

You could also make PB&J overnight oats by adding a bit of jam to these PB2 Overnight Oats.

Peach jam is also perfect for topping pancakes and waffles.

Dessert ideas

Peach jam is a great addition to many different types of desserts.

  • Ice cream – it pairs wonderfully with vanilla (I’ll be sharing a recipe for that next week!) but also complements peach ice cream for a double dose of fruity goodness.

  • Cake filling – use peach jam as a filling for cakes, cupcakes, or between layers of sponge cake.

  • Cheesecake topping – spread over cheesecake for a fruity topping.

  • Pastries – fill pastries, turnovers, or thumbprint cookies with jam for a sweet treat.

It also makes great snacks, like PB&Js, or as a component of a cheese platter with brie, cheddar, or goat cheese.

I hope you’ll love this jam as much as I did! If you try it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks! :)

Peach Jam

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Peach Jam
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: about 1 1/3 cup (408 grams)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (907 grams) ripe peaches
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar or 1/3-1/2 cup (106-180 grams) honey for a non-vegan version
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place a small plate in the freezer before you start cooking.
  2. Wash the peaches.
  3. Blanch and peel:

  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Right before it starts boiling, prepare a large bowl filled with ice water.
  5. Once the water is boiling, carefully add the peaches.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the pot after 30 seconds in the water and immediately transfer them to the ice bath.
  7. Once the peaches have cooled, take them out of the ice bath. Gently peel away the skins using your hands. They should come off with minimal effort.
  8. Make the jam:

  9. Remove the pit and cut the peaches into fourths or eighths. The exact size isn’t important - mine were about 3/4” chunks.
  10. Combine the peach chunks, sugar or honey (1/3 cup for a lightly sweetened version or 1/2 cup for a more traditional sweetness) and lemon juice in a medium or large saucepan. The larger the surface area, the sooner your jam will be ready. Mash about half of the peaches with a potato masher.
  11. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring frequently. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to the lowest you can to keep it at a full boil.
  12. Let boil for about 12 minutes, turning the heat down, if needed, towards the end to prevent the peaches from burning, until it reaches a temperature of 220 °F (104 °C) for the sugar version or 227 °F (108 °C) for the honey version. It’ll still be a bit runny but will thicken as it cools and more as it’s chilled. From the time I added the peaches to the pan until they were done, it was 21 minutes total.
  13. When you think the jam is ready, drop a small spoonful onto the cold plate and let it sit for a minute. Push it with your finger - if it wrinkles and holds its shape, the jam is done.
  14. Remove the saucepan to a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Then refrigerate in an airtight container.
  15. Yields about 1 1/3 cups (409 grams) of jam. Could be more or less depending on exactly how long you cook the peaches.
  16. How to store:

  17. Transfer into clean jars and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Many sources say 2-3 weeks, but I like to play it safe and freeze whatever I haven't eaten after 1 week. It also freezes great and can be frozen for up to 1 year.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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1 comment on “Peach Jam” — Add one!

1 comment is awaiting moderation!

  • Aubrey
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    says
    June 28, 2024 @ 7:36 pm

    This peach jam is so delicious! It tastes great on toast! Will definitely be making this again

    Reply

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