Peach Jam and More Lessons Learned

24 Aug

When I went to the farmer’s market with my mom a few days ago, I saw some really beautiful peaches and a woman selling peach jam. And then of course I said, “I need to make my own peach jam!” So here we are. Jam number three this summer. My sister tells me I’m starting to go a little crazy on the jam front, but I honestly don’t think there is such a thing. So allow me to tell you my escapades in making peach jam, which was by far the most difficult jam I’ve made yet. I think this has more to do with me being a moron rather than the difficulty of the recipe.

Yes, okay, I used another recipe from Food in Jars. I have an obsession. You can find the full recipe here. For this recipe, you will need:

  • 10 c. chopped and peeled peaches
  • 6 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 packets (or 1 box) liquid pectin

This recipe makes about 6 or 7 pints of jam, but I ended up getting 11 half pints because I cooked mine down quite a bit. You’ll notice that the flavors in this jam resemble those of the blackberry jam from a couple weeks ago. I initially wanted to try to substitute the grated nutmeg in this recipe for a vanilla bean, but I forgot to buy vanilla beans at the grocery store. Womp womp. So I used nutmeg. It turned out delicious this way, but feel free to play around with the spices.

Okay, so let’s start cooking. Fill up your canning pot with water, and put it on the stove. Prepare your jars for canning by washing them and setting them aside. Put the lids in a small pot of water, and heat them. But don’t boil them.

Add your peaches and sugar to a large, wide pot over heat and stir. When this mixture comes to a boil, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest and juice. At this point it’s okay to marvel at the fantastic color the cinnamon brings to the jam. It’s pretty great. Now let the jam cook for about 15 minutes, and if desired use an immersion blender or potato masher to blend the fruit a little more. I use a potato masher both because I don’t have an immersion blender and because I like my jam a little chunky. Now add the two packets of pectin, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil for at least five minutes. I think I let mine go for a good 15 minutes, and this is how I ended up with only 11 half pints. But I was unsure of the set. Once you feel your jam has set, take the pot off the heat. Put your jam into prepared jars, wipe the rims, and put on their lids and bands. Place the jars in the canning pot to process for 10 minutes. Once the jars are finished, set them to cool on the counter for 24 hours. At the end of this time, check to see if they’re sealed by poking the top of the lid. If it moves, put that jar in the fridge because it didn’t seal.

This jam tastes absolutely amazing, but this particular batch gave me a hard time. One of the biggest problems I had was with a jar that didn’t have its lid or band on tightly enough, and water from the canning pot leaked in to fill the cavity at the top of the jar. A real tragedy. When I saw this, I opened the jar, and my first thought was to use a straw to suck the (boiling) water out of the top. I’m a genius. Naturally, this ended with me spitting hot water all over the counter. Then I decided to just use a spoon to get the rest out, and I took off the top layer of jam for good measure. After my initial panic attack, this wasn’t actually a huge deal. I just put that jar in the fridge. Problem solved. The other problem I had was with jars sealing. About half of my jars decided not to seal for over 15 minutes, and I was convinced I was going to have to eat five jars of peach jam within two weeks. Yikes. So let me reiterate: Be patient with the sealing process. They all sealed eventually. This is why you let them sit for 24 hours without disturbing them. Some just need more time than others.

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3 Responses to “Peach Jam and More Lessons Learned”

  1. mgeorge3 August 24, 2012 at 1:08 PM #

    Lovely post, thank you for sharing! You can never have too much homemade jam. And if you do… thats what Christmas and birthdays are for!

    • sreagle August 26, 2012 at 11:14 PM #

      Thank you! That’s what I said about the jam. Never too much of anything so delicious.

  2. Chloe March 9, 2014 at 6:33 AM #

    hmmm sounds yummy

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