How to Make Peach Jam

How do you Make Jam When the Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines and Raspberries are Plentiful?

How to Make Peach Jam

It’s good to know how to make peach jam before the peaches come into season. Peaches are delicious right off the tree and buying from the orchard is an amazing way to acquire them in season. Unfortunately, peaches are not in season all year, and to enjoy fresh peaches in the winter, you will need to preserve some during the summer months.

If you learn how to care for apple trees and other varieties of fruit trees, you can preserve much of the excess fruit. Making preserves or jam from peaches, strawberries, raspberries and other fruit is very simple and takes just a few ingredients. Pomegranate jelly recipes are also popular. There is the option to make lower sugar versions of a lot of recipes for jam, too. Learning how to make peach jam will make you feel successful at preserving fresh fruit.

What are Preserves, Conserves, Jam and Jelly?

So many delicious spreads can be made from fresh fruits. Learning how to make peach jam is just one of the possibilities. You might also want to learn how to make conserves, containing two or more fruits and often mixed with bits of nuts, raisins or other dried fruit.

Fruit butters are made from concentrated cooking of the fruit with spices added. Fruit butters are normally rather thick in consistency.

Preserves have larger chunks or pieces of fruit suspended in the gelled mixture. Some refer to the home canned fruit as preserves.

Jams were traditionally made with a long cooking method using fruit and sugar. Today we also have the option to use added pectin to shorten the cooking time to get to the gelling stage. Jams use fruit pieces and the juice and should be a firm consistency without becoming hardened.

Jelly is made from the fruit juice. The resulting spread is translucent. Bottled fruit juice can be used to make jelly. Added pectin is often called for in the recipes for jellies.

how-to-make-peach-jam

What do you Need to Make Jam?

  • Pectin, natural pectin
  • Sugar
  • Fruit, fresh or thawed from frozen
  • Lemon juice
 how-to-make-peach-jam

How to Make Peach Jam (or any Fruit Jam Using the Pectin Method)

Jams are made by cooking diced or mashed fruit, sugar, and pectin over medium heat on a stove until the mixture starts to gel. This does not take too long. Sugar is often considered bad, but sugar acts as a preservative and also gives the fruit and pectin a structure to build on. When you are learning how to make peach jam or any other variety of fruit spread, follow the recipe closely. Canning recipes are specific for safety reasons and when you alter the ingredients, you need to be sure that you are not altering the PH of the mixture. When the fruit itself has some natural pectin and is very sweet in season, it is possible to cut back on the sugar a little and still get a good result.  This tweaking of the recipe is not something you want to try on your first batch of jam. When you are learning how to make peach jam or other varieties, you will also be able to learn how to use a water bath canner. If you are not water  bath canning the jam, make sure you store it in the refrigerator.

What You Will Need
2 to 3 pounds of fresh peaches enough to make 1 quart of chopped fruit
7  cups of sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (one large lemon) or bottled real lemon juice
(2) three ounce packets of liquid pectin
  • Prepare your soft fruit such as peaches by blanching to remove the skin. 
  • Chop or dice the fruit into small pieces.
  • Pour the lemon juice over the fruit to prevent browning.
  • Add the peaches in the lemon juice and the sugar to a large saucepan. Don’t use a pan that will be filled almost to over flowing.
  • Bring the fruit, lemon juice and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Use a medium heat setting.
  • When sugar is dissolved, add the liquid pectin. Stir and bring to a boil again.
  • Boil hard for one minute. Stir while it is boiling. Remove the pan from the heat. If foam covers the top of the fruit, use a wooden spoon to skim it off.
  • Using your canning tools and funnel, fill the jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top of the jars. Remove air bubbles using the tool for this or a bread knife slid down into the side of the jars. Wipe the jar rims and cap the jars with the lids.  (fingertip tighten)
  • Process in a water bath canner for ten minutes for half pint jars.
Making batches that fill 5 to 8 jelly jars is better than trying to make huge batches that might not gel correctly. Lower sugar recipes are commonly used too. Low sugar jams are made by adding more pectin, a naturally sweet fruit juice or a substitute sweetener.
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Peach Preserves

Alternative Methods of Making Jam

Lower sugar recipes are commonly used too. Low sugar jams are made by adding more pectin, a naturally sweet fruit juice or a substitute sweetener. There are many recipes, and methods to follow when learning how to make peach jam or other fruit jams.  If you are not interested in water bath canning your jams, perhaps a freezer jam method will appeal to you. Variety is unlimited when trying different combinations of fruits. There is no reason to limit yourself to only peach and strawberry jam!
My favorite book on canning in general is the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Preserving and for unique flavors try the recipes in The Fiercely D.I.Y. Guide to Jams, Jellies and Fruit Butter

How Long will the Jam Keep?

For most home canned products, vegetables, jams, fruits, etc, it is recommended that the product be used within the year of being canned. Sometimes when you are learning how to make peach jam you will notice some darkening of the color of the fruit as it is stored. If the canning procedure was safely followed and the jar is still completely sealed, the food may still be ok to eat. Use your own judgement and any time you are unsure, toss it out. Learning how to make peach jam also includes learning about food processing and food safety.

How Can the Jams and Jellies be Used?

Your home canned delicious treats make wonderful gifts for family, friends, and co-workers.  Depending on your local laws and ordinances, you may be able to start selling homemade food.  In some areas with a strong farmer’s market set up, this can lead to some extra income.  Serve your homemade jams with fresh bread, waffles, french toast or crackers and cream cheese.  For a classy looking appetizer, spoon some of your homemade jam over a block of cream cheese, and serve with crackers on a serving dish.  Now that you know how to make peach jam, try some other varieties of jam.  Nectarine Jam is surprisingly easy to make and tastes great. Add a small amount of cinnamon to the jam mixture for an added zest. Strawberry jam is always a favorite.
What is your favorite summer fresh fruit to use in jam and jelly? Let us know in the comments below.

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