I love peaches. Every year I look forward to going peach picking at the U-pick farm near my house. The peaches are so juicy you have to lean over to keep from dripping juice on your clothes. It runs down your arms and drips from your elbows. Usually my mom, sister, and I go, but this year, on the day I wanted to go, my mom had an appointment. My uncle came into town to visit that same day, so out of the blue I asked if he wanted to go peach picking with me. So it ended up with my uncle, my dad, my sister and me going.
It was tons of fun, and we ended up with 2 boxes of peaches. I froze 4 trays of sliced peaches for smoothies, pies, and ice cream during the off season, then took the especially bruised ones and pureed them with lemon to flavor kombucha. Of course there will be paleo peach cobbler and pies as well. But I also love canning, and jam is so simple and easy, I thought it would be the perfect thing for some of the peaches.
The key to jam is that you need to use sugar equal to at least 35% of the weight of the fruit. Most people use equal parts sugar and fruit, but these peaches were so sweet, I just didn’t want to use that much- they didn’t really need it. But you have to use at least 35% sugar or the jam won’t thicken properly. The sugar also helps preserve the jam.
- 3.25lbs. fresh, ripe, juicy peaches
- 1.25lbs. organic cane sugar
- juice of 1 large lemon
- optional but recommended: 1/2 tsp. cloves. Because peaches and cloves are divine.
Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then shock in a bowl of ice water. Peel off the skins, then slice the peaches into chunks, discarding the pit or stone. Place the peaches into a large pot and add the sugar, lemon juice, and cloves. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to mash the peaches, or use an immersion blender for a smoother jam. The longer it simmers, the more you want to stir it. As the water evaporates and the jam reduces, it can start to stick to the bottom and can burn, so keep an eye on it. The jam is done when you drip it off a spoon and two drops run together before falling off the spoon.
Place into sterilized mason jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove air bubbles with a wooden skewer or butter knife. Wipe the top rim of the jar and the threads with a clean, damp cloth to remove and bits of jam that might be there, then place on the lid and the band. Tighten fingertip tight. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.