Our peach tree was glorious this year.
And now, other than the piles of decomposing peaches that fell off the tree and are now feeding the yellow jackets, the peaches are pretty much done.
But! Not before picking enough peaches for:
- Baby Homesteader to a) know where the peaches were coming from and b) try to pick the rotting ones off the ground for a quick snack
- Make peach chutney. Awww yiss
- Make a buttload of peach jam, some with bourbon
- Eating and baking various tasty things, like pound cake with peaches and peach salsa
Today’s recipe is for #3, in case you’re blessed with some late-season peaches, or want to have a recipe in your back pocket for next year. I find making peach jam to be a little fussier than berry jams, since you need to pit and peel peaches before making the jam itself.
However, my Christmas gift of a food mill from a couple of years back has made this process oh so much easier, so I’ll be including instructions for processing your goodies with and without this wonderful manual machine. (Pro tip: if you’re gonna process a lot of fruits and veggies, I highly recommend getting a food mill. You won’t be sad. You’ll be the opposite.)
The rest of the process is pretty simple and straightforward, and results in a tasty, not-too-sweet jam for all of your toast and dessert purposes.
Let’s get to it!
Use the ripest peaches you can get, any variety. A food mill makes quicker work of the peeling process.
you will need:
- 5 c granulated sugar
- 4-5 c fresh peaches, pitted, peeled, and finely chopped (see note at the bottom)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (bottled is fine)
- ¼ tsp butter (optional)
- 50 g powdered fruit pectin (1 standard package)
- If canning, prepare canning equipment. See my Pickled Okra post for a refresher.
- Measure sugar in a large bowl and set aside. (It’s super important, when working with powdered pectin, to add the sugar all at once; otherwise, the jam may not set properly.)
- Measure chopped peaches into a large stainless steel saucepan. Add lemon juice to the peaches, and whisk in the pectin until it is fully dissolved. Add butter, if using. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Add the sugar to the boiling mixture all at once, stirring constantly to combine, and return to a full rolling boil that doesn’t go down when you stir. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 full minute, stirring constantly. Remove the mixture from heat, and remove foam, if desired, with a slotted spoon. (This is where the butter is helpful – the fat keeps bubbles from forming on the surface! But it’s totally optional.)
- If canning, follow hot-water bath canning procedures, leaving ¼ inch headspace between the jam and the lid. Process jars in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes, then remove the jars from the canner, and allow to rest, upright and undisturbed, for 24 hours before testing the seals.
A note on peeling peaches:
You can do this in three ways:
1. Peel by hand with a peeler.
2. Slice an X on the bottom of each peach (similarly to processing tomatoes), boil peaches for 1 minute, and blanch them in ice water before peeling them by hand.
3. My preferred method: If you have a food mill, you can place halved and pitted peaches in your stainless steel saucepan with just enough water to prevent scorching (about ¼ cup) and cook them, covered, just long enough to soften the peaches and peels, about 3-5 minutes. Process in your food mill (it will puree the peaches to whatever consistency you choose) and proceed with the recipe.