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How to Make Peach Jam - For Fresh Use, Canning, or Freezing

Updated on September 3, 2017
ButterflyWings profile image

Butterfly has been gardening and preserving food of all kinds for many years, and she thrives on the creativity involved in these processes.

Step One - Wash and Drain the Peaches

Wash whole peaches gently in a sink of water, just to remove excess dirt and matter, then set aside to drain a few minutes.
Wash whole peaches gently in a sink of water, just to remove excess dirt and matter, then set aside to drain a few minutes.

Peach Jam, To Drive the Cold Winter Away

Of course, there are many wonderful things you can do with peaches. But if you have a whole tree full, or have bought a large box and are satiated on fresh peaches eaten out of hand, peach cobbler, peach pie, and peaches and cream, a wise step would be making jam...especially if your peaches are beginning to get soft.

Besides, there is nothing quite like peaches for serving with breakfast at the start of a mid-winter day. They are almost as good as sunshine for bringing smiles.

Equipment and Ingredients for Making Peach Jam

The equipment list is short:

  • A boiling waterbath or steam canner
  • Canning jars (any size), with appropriate lids
  • Jar lifter
  • Tongs, or magnetic lid lifter
  • Kettle or sauce pot, for cooking down jam
  • Ladle or large spoon, for filling jars with jam
  • Canning funnel, especially if using regular-mouth (versus wide-mouth) style jars. A canning funnel has a wide mouth which fits just inside the rims of canning jars.

The ingredients list is even shorter:

  • Peaches (1 quart finely chopped peaches makes about 4 pint jars of jam, or 8 half-pints)
  • Sugar or other sweetener, to taste (some recipes call for almost twice as much sugar as peaches, but I think this is exorbitant)
  • Lemon juice, if desired
  • Spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, or allspice, if you like (tie whole spices up in a little mesh or cloth bag before putting into cooking jam)
  • Pectin (optional) - 1 pouch per quart of peaches

Technically, what I made in these pictures is peach butter, which is a bit simpler than peach jam, but is ever so good on toast, or stirred into homemade yogurt, or eaten from the jar...

The reason my peaches made "butter" instead of "jam" is because I used nothing more than peaches, sugar, and a hint of spices. It is a less thick product, with a full flavor.

Step Two - Blanch the Peaches and Slip the Skins

You may peel your peaches without blanching them, but I think blanching the fruit and slipping the skins is easier. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, put in a few peaches, wait for the water to return to a boil, and count three minutes.
You may peel your peaches without blanching them, but I think blanching the fruit and slipping the skins is easier. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, put in a few peaches, wait for the water to return to a boil, and count three minutes.
Remove peaches to ice-cold water, and let sit three minutes.
Remove peaches to ice-cold water, and let sit three minutes.
Slip skins, remove pits and slice in two (or smaller).
Slip skins, remove pits and slice in two (or smaller).

Step Three - Cook Down the Peaches Into Jam

Place peaches and sugar (to taste) in a pot, and simmer until thick, stirring frequently. If you are adding pectin, do it early, also lemon juice and spices.
Place peaches and sugar (to taste) in a pot, and simmer until thick, stirring frequently. If you are adding pectin, do it early, also lemon juice and spices.

Whether to Freeze or to Can Your Peach Jam

At this point, you can choose to freeze your jam in freezer boxes (a quick, painless method), or you can proceed to put it up in jars. If you freeze your jam, be sure to label it clearly with the contents and date, as many frozen things look alike.

I choose jars, because, whether through hunting or private sale, our meat comes to us on the hoof, and our freezers very often are full of it. All that is required to store properly processed jars of jam is a cool shelf.

Step Four - Prepare Your Jars and Equipment

Wash smallish jars (sterilize if necessary), and examine for chips and cracks. Also rings (bent, excessive rust), and lids (misaligned rubber). Heat boiling waterbath canner, about two-thirds full of water for a full load.
Wash smallish jars (sterilize if necessary), and examine for chips and cracks. Also rings (bent, excessive rust), and lids (misaligned rubber). Heat boiling waterbath canner, about two-thirds full of water for a full load.
Either gently simmer the lids (don't boil!), or set them in a small pan and pour on boiling water to cover, to scald them.
Either gently simmer the lids (don't boil!), or set them in a small pan and pour on boiling water to cover, to scald them.

Step Five - Fill the Jars and Process in a Boiling Waterbath Canner

Using the ladle and funnel (if desired), fill your warm jars with hot jam, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
Using the ladle and funnel (if desired), fill your warm jars with hot jam, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
I used an assortment of small jars - some pints, some half-pints. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth, and screw on lids firmly (not tightly).
I used an assortment of small jars - some pints, some half-pints. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth, and screw on lids firmly (not tightly).
Process in a boiling water bath canner 10 minutes, beiing sure the water is at a full boil before you start timing. With a jar lifter...
Process in a boiling water bath canner 10 minutes, beiing sure the water is at a full boil before you start timing. With a jar lifter...
...remove jars to a towel away from drafts, and let sit overnight. The jars often "pop" or "ping" as they cool and seal. Refrigerate or re-process any unsealed jars.
...remove jars to a towel away from drafts, and let sit overnight. The jars often "pop" or "ping" as they cool and seal. Refrigerate or re-process any unsealed jars.

In Case You Have Peaches Left Over, After Making Jam

© 2009 ButterflyWings

Comments

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    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      6 years ago

      Nancy, you are certainly welcome.

    • profile image

      Nancy 

      6 years ago

      First time I've ever tried canning! Thank you so much!!

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      7 years ago

      Eatlikenoone, thank you very much!

    • eatlikenoone profile image

      eatlikenoone 

      7 years ago from Saline, MI

      Looks delicious. I like how you have so many picture showing the process. Great hub!

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