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A perfectly ripe peach, fresh from the tree, is one of summer’s great gifts, and of the fruits you can grow yourself, there is nothing more perfect, or more flavorful, than a homegrown peach. Unlike pomme fruits however, peaches cannot be stored for long in their natural state, so it’s not uncommon to find yourself with a glut of fruit, that needs to be used quickly.

Too many peaches? Make jam!

This is a very simple jam recipe, perfect for novice and seasoned jam-makers alike, and produces a jam far superior to the sugary sweet products available in the grocery store.

To keep the added sugar content lower, preserving the natural sweet flavor of the fruit, this recipe does not use commercially prepared pectin.  However, it’s important to note than on the pectin scale of fruits, peaches naturally have relatively low amounts of pectin in their skin.  As such, it’s important not to use overripe peaches for this jam recipe, and not to peel your peaches!

Yield: 8-9 8fl oz (250 ml) jars

5.5 lbs Peaches (2.75 kg)
3 Cups Sugar (750 g)
3/4 Cup (180 ml) Fresh Lemon Juice

Gently rub the fuzz from the skins of the peaches with a damp dish towel.  Halve and pit the peaches, and cut each half into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Gently toss the peaches and sugar together in a large nonreactive (i.e. stainless steel, glass or ceramic) bowl.  Cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 4 hours (alternatively place the covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight).

Peaches, with sugar and lemon juice, ready to cook

Have 9 hot, sterilized jars and their lids ready (see video below for tips on preparing your jars for canning).

Transfer the peach and sugar mixture to a large nonreactive saucepan, and add the lemon juice.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the jam is thick, 15-25 minutes.

The jam will gradually thicken as it cooks

To avoid overcooking the fruit a large flat skillet, rather than a deep saucepan, will help reduce the liquid more quickly.

Ladle the hot jam into the prepared jars, and leave 1/4 inch of head-space.  Remove any air bubbles, and adjust the head-space as needed.

Wipe the rims clean and seal with the lids, and finger tighten the rings.  Do not over-tighten the rings.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Homemade Peach Jam

Sealed jars may be stored for 1 year in a cool, dark place.  If the seal has failed, store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

If you don’t have your own peach trees, try asking vendors at your local farmer’s markets if they have seconds fruits available for jam making at their local farms.  Many farms often have slightly blemished, undersized, or misshapen fruits they’d be happy to sell, sometimes at a discount, so it’s worth asking. Otherwise, check with a neighbor or friend.  Perhaps you can arrange to pick their extra fruit, in exchange for returning some jam.

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The following helpful video demonstrates the boiling-water bath canning technique, including basic required equipment, and how to prepare your jars and lids for canning:

Visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more helpful information on canning home produce.