So…what do you do when you go peach picking and the peaches are rock hard—way too hard to even taste while you’re doing the picking which makes you think you’ll have at least 3-4 days to figure out all the pies, crisps and cobblers you’re going to use them for, but then instead they magically seem to ripen overnight and you are left with 6 pounds that are rapidly deteriorating?!!
You churn out a double batch of peach jam ASAP!! Whew! Fruit picking tragedy avoided!!
I love making (and eating) jams and contrary to popular belief, making them is pretty simple especially when you’re not going the canning and sterilizing route. The jams I make come together with only a minimum of ingredients (think fruit, sugar and lemon juice/zest) simply get boiled/simmered on the stovetop, and last for a few weeks in the fridge. Easy-peasy!
The only sort of annoying part in making this peach jam is the peeling of the peaches and only because it’s a drippy juicy mess, which it should be if your peaches are ripe and of course all that juiciness will in the long run only make your jam that much better, but be ready with a sponge!
And I know I’ve talked about this before on the site, but if you don’t know the peach peeling trick here it is again: simply boil the peaches in water for 1 minute and then plunge them into an ice bath for another minute. This loosens the skins and makes it a snap to peel them off!
And all that messiness is so, so worth it when you bite into a piece of toast or muffin with a dollop of peach gold atop it. It’s like summer in a jar and no store bought brand can compare!
Makes about 2 ½ cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: Approximately 1 and 1/2 hours
About 3 pounds fresh ripe peaches
The juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar
1. Place two small plates in the freezer. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Set a large bowl of water and ice next to it. Boil the peaches for 1 minute and then use a slotted spoon to drop them into the ice bath for 1 minute. Remove and peel off and discard the skins.
2. Cut the peaches up and place them into a large heavyweight pot and add the zest and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10-12 minutes, mashing up peaches with a potato masher or spoon to help release their juices. Then add the sugar and stir well until dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to keep it at a simmer and cook for another 45-60 minutes (or longer if you need to—it will depend on how juicy the fruit is) stirring every so often, until the mixture has reduced and thickened considerably.
3. Remove one of the plates from the freezer and place a small dab of jam on it. Swipe your finger through the middle of it and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. If the jam does not run back into the clean space created by the swipe, you’re all done. If not, let the mixture cook another 5-10 minutes and repeat the frozen plate test.
4. Transfer the jam to clean glass jars (I use a ladle to make it easier) and let sit until room temperature. Then cover and store in the fridge. The jam should last about a month. Also, this recipe doubles well.