How to Make Peach Jam
Peach trees at Les Trois Chenes
A peach jam recipe from Limousin
Why make peach jam? Peach trees grow easily here in Limousin, South West France and every year we have a huge glut of peaches, so what to do with them? We eat as many as we can fresh from the tree, we make desserts, peach jam, peach chutney and the rest we freeze for winter.
We use the peach jam for our guests in Les Trois Chenes, our B&B in Videix, and the chutney we sometimes serve at dinner together with delicious baked peaches and peach crumble desserts.
It's so easy to grow a peach tree that you don't even need to try. Our peach trees grow as weeds from fallen peaches, from compost heaps with peach stones, from peach stones discarded by the animals or tossed to one side by humans who have picked them from the tree and eaten them in the garden. Needless to say, in a good year like this, we have peaches by the bath-load! My peach jam and peach chutney recipes come from my granny's old Hamlyn cook book.
For more recipes from Les Trois Chenes, have a look at my on-line recipe book.
Who on earth makes jam?
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My grandmother's recipe book is still in print
This is a later publication of the book my grandmother gave me - mine was published in 1963 - it still has the same cover (but not the same price - mine was 2/6!
Peach jam ingredients
For every kilo of stoned peaches you will need
- A kilo of sugar
- A little water ie 6 tablespoons ( a bit more if under-ripe fruit is used)
- Juice of one lemon
Chop the fruit
After stoning the fruit, chop it up. I chop mine roughly because, as a rustic cook I like chunks of fruit in my jam. It does tend to boil down though anyway, so you don't have to bother to dice it finely.
Jam making equipment and utensils
This is what I use:
- Copper jam pan - it is also decorative when not in use
- I have second cheaper jam pan for large quantities. Just as good
- Wooden spoon with long handle
- Large ladle
- Perforated skimming tool (don't know the word for this!)
- Old jam jars. You can use any other sort of jar but beware lingering odours such as ex-olive jars or, worse still, asparagus
- Heatproof jug or special jam funnel
- Jam covers, if you like, but I don't bother with these
- Labels, but I only use labels for jam I am going to give away.
Do you need special equipment to make jam?
Why do I need jam making equipment? Why should I make jam and jelly? There's nothing like home made jam and jelly, especially if you use fruits and vegetables from the garden or pick them from the wild. Take advantage of that autumn glut of cheap and
Put all the peaches into the preserving pan
Put the fruit into the pan and simmer gently until the fruit is soft. Then add the sugar, lemon juice and water, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly until set. How long? I never know. I'm not an expert cook, but what I do know is that all those books written by expert cooks who say "Boil for 5 minutes" are wrong! Usually, my best jam is the one I have forgotten about - but didn't forget to the point of burning! Lets say boil for ten minutes, then carry out regular checks, see below.
What you will find is that a scum will for on the top. Take a spoon, or the special flat, perforated spoon shown below, to carefully skim off the foam.
Ho do you know when the jam has set?
You need to do a setting test.
After ten minutes or so, take out a spoon of liquid, put it on a plate and pop it into the fridge for a few minutes. Then, take it out of the fridge, give it a push and see if it has thickened. A wrinkled skin should form on the surface.
Carry out this check every five minutes or so.
How to find the setting point in jam making
- How To Find the Setting Point in Jam Making
How to find the setting point in jam making. Finding the setting point is the hardest part of producing your own homemade preserves. The recipe to successful homemade jam and jelly making every time.
Sterilize all your utensils and jar tops in boiling water
Steralise your jars, tops and utensils
Pour a little water into the bottom of each jar and microwave until the water has boiled. If you don't have a microwave you can put the jars into the oven instead. For the tops and utensils, boil in a pan of water, but take care of plastic tops as these can sometimes distort. I boil or boil/steam for about 5 minutes.
Then pour the jam into jars using the funnel
Cover the jam quickly with the sterilised tops
How do you rate my jam recipe?
Fruity flavours all winter
That's all there is to it! You can enjoy the goodness and the flavour of peaches all winter.
Try adding a little alcohol! A bit of brandy or a fruit liqueur. Also I have started to save a jar of un-set jam to use as a fruit sauce. Please feel free to leave any tips you have for peach jam or jam-making in general in the comments box below.
Medlar Jam and Jelly
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Find Out More About Our life in Limousin
- Painting courses at Les Trois Chenes B and B, Limousin, France
Les Trois Chenes, painting holidays, Bed and breakfast and self-catering holiday cottage in Videix, Haute-Vienne, Limousin. We are situated ten minutes from the town of Rochechouart, between Limoges and Angouleme, deep in the heart of rural France
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