Summer fruit season is upon us! There is nothing better than preserving that fresh fruit flavor, and filling the pantry shelves with delicious homemade treats to enjoy all year. Are you looking for some easy recipes? Then you need to know how to make peach jam.
It’s easier than you think, and uses only four ingredients, including peaches. Nothing beats homemade jam!
Fresh, tree-ripened peaches have always been my favorite fruit. There’s just no comparing them to what you find in the store.
Did you know that peaches stop ripening once they’re picked? True, they get softer, but they don’t continue ripening. That’s why peaches from a local orchard taste so different; peaches in the store have to have been picked before they’re ripe in order to withstand shipping, so you’re missing what a ripe peach actually tastes like if your go-to is grocery store fruit.
Anyway, because I love peaches so much, I always have my fingers crossed in the spring that a late frost or hale storm won’t knock out our peach blossoms or early fruit. And on years when they do get knocked out, I make a point to drive down to the hill country here in Texas and get some from another orchard.
Sadly, this year was one of those years where a big hail storm came through and devastated local orchards, so a trip to Fredericksburg was warranted.
Ingredients needed to make peach jam
As I mentioned, you only need four ingredients to make this jam.
- Lemon juice
If you’ve never made jam before, you may be shocked at just how much sugar is in it. You can make sugar free jam, such as this sugar free strawberry jam, and it’s really good! But keep in mind that jam is consumed in relatively small quantities, so the amount of sugar isn’t as scary as it seems at first glance.
The lemon juice adds a nice counterbalance to the sweetness of the peaches, and also helps the jam set.
Can you make peach jam without pectin?
Yes, but it’s not my favorite. Peaches tend to be a fairly low pectin fruit, and don’t set as firmly as some others like apple or blackberry which have more natural pectin. So for me, it’s worth it to use added pectin to give the fruit a boost, and know my results will be jam – not syrup.
That said, if you want to make pectin free jam, follow a specifically formulated recipe – don’t just omit it. (Scattered thoughts of a crafty mom has one here).
Easy Peach Jam Recipe
Here’s the basic recipe instructions:
- Prep your peaches by peeling, pitting, and dicing them (we’ll cover this in more detail below)
- Stir in lemon juice and pectin and heat
- As peaches heat, use a potato masher to release the juice
- Bring mixture to a full boil, then add sugar
- Stir sugar in until it dissolves, the bring to a full rolling boil
- Boil for a one minute, then remove from heat
- Use a spoon to skim foam that has formed on top into a bowl (Save foam to use on biscuits!)
- Ladle jam into canning jars, or freezer safe containers
- Fit with lids, and let cool, or can
Okay, now to unpack some of those steps…
How to peel peaches
If your peaches are ripe, peeling will actually be very easy, and fairly mess free.
- First, bring a saucepan of water to a near boil
- Fill another bowl or pan with ice water
- You want each pan to be full enough to fully submerge a peach
- Blanch peaches by dipping into the hot water for about 30 seconds
- Immediately transfer to ice water to stop the cooking process
- Once cooled, Transfer peaches to a colander or bowl
- Use a knife to break the peel and pull it away from the flesh
- It should come off very easily without taking any of the peach flesh with it. If it doesn’t, it may be that your peaches need to blanch a little longer – this usually happens with less ripe peaches
- After peaches have been peeled, pit and chop them.
When you have freestone peaches, they will be very easy to pit – just cut the peach in half all the way around, and pull each side free.
If your peaches are clingstone (as mine in these photos are), you will need to cut them away from the pit. It’s not as pretty, but your jam will never know the difference.
How to can fresh peach jam
Once you’ve made the actual jam, you need to preserve it.
This can be by freezing it in freezer safe containers such as freezer jam “jars”, or be keeping it in the fridge – it can last for months unopened.
Thirdly, and most practical for storage, is canning.
To can the jam, all you need to do is ladle your fresh, hot jam, into sterilized canning jars. I usually use half pint jars, but if you have a large family, or use a lot of jam, you may like pint jars.
Once jars are filled, leaving about 1/2 an inch headspace, make sure the rims are free of any debris, and screw down rings and lids firmly.
If I’m using brand new jars, I’ll usually use the lids that came with them (unless they’re a really unreliable lid like the one’s that come with the Walmart housebound jars). After that, I use Denali canning lids, which have a 30 day seal guarantee, and I have yet to have one fail.
After jars are filled and fitted with lids, fill a stockpot, or water bath canner with hot water.
Make sure there is a rack in the bottom of the canner. A water bath canner likely came with a rack. The rack from a pressure canner can also work. Anything to give a little space between the glass jars, and the heat source.
Place hot jars in hot canner, making sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch.
Cover canner, and bring to a rolling boil.
Process half pint jars for 5 minutes, and pint jars for 10 minutes.
Remove canner from heat, and let cool.
If you need to take the jars out of the canner before they’re cool, carefully lift them out of the hot water, and protect them from drafts with a towel. I recommend lining your countertop area with a towel, and then covering them with another towel as they cool. This just helps prevent any sudden temperature changes that could cause a jar to crack.
How to store homemade peach jam
Once the jam is canned, you can place the jars in a cool place out of direct sunlight, such as in your pantry.
For freezer jam, keep frozen until ready to thaw and use.
How long does home-canned jam last?
Different sources say different things. Some base their suggestion upon best quality and flavor. most agree on a time frame of between one and two years.
According to USDA.gov, you can store unopened jams for 12 months in a pantry, and 6 months in the refrigerator once opened.
Tips for serving peach jam
Perhaps my favorite way to enjoy peach jam is on hot homemade biscuits. With butter, of course.
It’s also a great topping for pancakes, toast, ice cream, or yogurt, and my son really enjoys using it to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Peach jam is very sweet and fruity, which makes it a great pairing for strong or spicy cheeses such as Pecorino Romano, Formaggio di Fossa, or Gorgonzola.
Other recipes you may enjoy:Print
How To Make Peach Jam
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
- Category: canning
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- 4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced
- 1 box of Sure Jell fruit pectin
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- Combine peaches, Sure Jell, and pectin in a large pot (at least 4 quart capacity)
- Heat, mashing and stirring peaches until mixture has become somewhat pureed. Alternatively, you can pulse with an immersion blender until mixture reaches a juicy, puree consistency with a number of chunky pieces still remaining
- Bring mixture to a strong boil. Since it is thick, it will likely not reach a full, rolling boils that a thinner liquid would, but rather a vigorous popping and steaming
- Add sugar all at once, and stir until dissolved
- Bring this mixture to a full, rolling boil, and set a timer for one minute
- When the minute is up, remove from heat
- Skim off foam with a spoon. The foam is perfectly good to eat, but doesn’t can well, so save it in a bowl to eat fresh
- Ladle jam into canning jars, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace
- Wipe rims with a clean cloth to ensure that they are free of debris
- Screw down lids and rings
- Prepare a waterbath canning kettle with hot water, making sure that your canner is fitted with its inner rack, and contains enough water to cover jars by at least an inch
- Lower jars into canner, cover with lid, and heat kettle to a rolling boil
- Process half pint jars for 5 minutes, and pint jars for 10 minutes
- When done, remove from heat, and let canner cool naturally
- If you need to remove jars before canner is completely cool, use a jar lifter to avoid burning yourself, and carefully transfer jars to an out of the way place, and protect them from drafts or sudden temperature changes until they are cool
- When the jars have rested for 24 hours, you can wash them (sometimes they’ll be sticky, or if you have hard water, they may have mineral residue on them), and store them in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
Keywords: homemade peach jam, how to make peach jam
Get Your Garden Cheat Sheets!
Want to know exactly when, where, and how to plant your vegetables? Sign up to get our FREE companion planting guide, and garden planting cheat sheet printable.