What to do with all of the peaches that were picked last week? Before the peaches were even picked, I knew that in addition to enjoying them fresh, I would be making a batch of Peach Jam. I have been making fruit jams for the past few years and the beginning of the canning season for me in Katy, TX starts with the peaches ripening on the trees. Strawberries come into season before the peaches, but I always seem to miss the picking season for Strawberries (February) in East Texas.
Making homemade fruit jams in the kitchen is not that difficult. Simply follow the recipe and canning instructions provided on the box of Pectin or from the Ball or Sure-Jell websites and you will be successful. The steps used are not that different than what is followed on the large scale commercial effort to produce jams, jellies, preserves and marmalade. Whereas most of the activity in the kitchen is manual, the steps in a food processing plant are mostly automated. The most significant difference is in the flavor and texture. Peach jam purchased at the grocery store is not even worthy of being compared to the peach jam that is made in your kitchen. The first taste of homemade peach jam from fresh picked fruit will have you hoarding your jars of jam and shamelessly lying to your friends that you have no more peach jam to share with them.
The most important things to remember are to have the ingredients, supplies and time available.
Ingredients & Supplies (To Make One Batch):
- 4 Cups of Peeled and Diced Fresh Peaches (3 Pounds, but I always am prepared to peel and dice more Peaches if I am short of the 4 Cups)
- 5 ½ Cups of Sugar
- 1 Package of Fruit Pectin
- 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
- Canning Jars, Lids & Caps (4 x 16 Ounce Jars or 8 x 8 Ounce Jars, or some combination that equals to 64 Ounces)
Below are the basic steps to successfully making peach jam in the kitchen. Over the last few years, I have made nearly a dozen batches of homemade jams and still reference the instructions provided by Ball and Sure-Jell.
- Peel and Dice Peaches for 4 Cups
- Wash Jars, Lids and Caps, then Sterilize
- Boil the 4 Cups of Peeled and Diced Peaches
- Add the Pectin, Lemon Juice and Sugar as instructed on the box of Pectin
- Bring the entire mixture to a roiling boil
- Fill the jars with hot Peach Jam
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth, center the Lids and secure with the Crew Caps
- Place the capped Jars into the boiling water bath and boil for 10 minutes (see instructions regarding elevation)
- Remove jars of jam from the boiling water.
- Within a few hours most of the Lids will “pop” indicating that a proper vacuum seal has been achieved. Ball and Sure-Jell provide additional instructions on what to do if the Lids do not seal correctly or the fruit has not properly set. Of all of the different fruit jams that I have made, Peach gives me the most problems with firmly setting, but I no longer reprocess unless it runs like syrup or water.
Once the Jars have popped, store the Peach Jam in a cook dark place (Pantry). They will remain good for a year. Trust me, no homemade jam has ever remained untouched that long in our house regardless of the size of the batch made. That first taste of Peach Jam will have you wondering how you were ever satisfied with store bought jam. The flavor is intense and will have you wishing that you had more peaches to process and more pantry space to store your homemade jam.