I’m a little late in posting this though in Texas peach season goes through September. I had mine stored in the freezer and the week of our move I decided that better get them into a more transportable form. So in the midst of packing boxes I made up three batches of peach jam.
This really is not hard and it is a good jam to start with if you have never done it before. First I’ll go through some of the basics of canning in general. Once you get the process down the details of the recipe are nothing.
Introduction to Canning
I know there are a million “intro to canning,” tutorials out there and I figured I would throw mine in the mix.
The general idea is:
You sterilize the jars by either boiling them or running them through a hot dishwasher (on sterilize mode). Then add food that has also been sterilized by boiling and seal them with a special two piece lid. Then boil the entire jar again to fully sterilize them. The rest is just details.
So for any canning project you will need:
Jars– reusuable so stock up now and then as you use them you can start caning something else. This recipe makes about 6 of the 8 oz jars.
Lids-not reusuable for canning. You can still use them to keep food stored in the pantry or fridge but the seals themselves are only good for one use.
Bands– this is the round part that you use to tighten the lid to the jar. This part is reusuable.
A large pot of boiling water. Used to sanitize jars.
A smaller pot to simmer lids and bands. Don’t boil just simmer, making this one too hot can damage the seal.
Tongs– For a my first try we made do without any special equipment. Once I started doing this more often I bought the special canning tongs which fit nicely over the top of a jar (you can usually buy a starter canning kit for about 7 dollars that contains these and the next three items).
Wide Mouth Funnel– You can make do without this too, it is just a bit messier. I find that I use mine all the time now that I have one.
Lid Lifter– This is a little magnet on the end of a wooden or plastic rod. It is convenient to get the lids out of hot water though not necessary.
Plastic rod- To run along the edge of the jar to stir out any air bubbles. A butter knife works fine, though I’ve read that there is a risk of chipping or scratching the glass with metal.
Several pot holders and clean dry towels.
A pot of boiling food. In this case pickles. (Note: you can use this method for anything acidic, pickles, tomatoes and jams etc. When it comes to canning beans and soups and other vegetables you need a pressure canner which cooks the cans at a hotter temperature)
Rack– I’ve never had this but you can use a rack or just put a trivet or towel in the bottom of your pan where you are boiling jars to prevent them from banging around too much.
Now that you have your equipment here are the basic steps of canning in a little more detail.
1. Boil clean jars. Put your jars in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for at least 10 minutes. You can add a splash of vinegar to the water to help prevent mineral deposits on the side of the jars ( I never do this but I should).
2. Place your jar lids and bands in a smaller pan of water. Heat until just before boiling, you want to soften the rubber seals with hot water but you don’t want to heat them so much that the rubber edge becomes damaged or misshapen.
3. Once your jam is ready, remove one jar (it will be hot so use a good potholder). Set it on a dry dish towel. If you have one, place a wide mouth funnel on the jar.
4. Scoop jam into the jar until you are about a halfinch from filling it up.
5. Take a plastic rod and run it along the inside of the jar to stir out any air bubbles.
6. Wipe the rim of the jar clean to ensure a good seal.
7. Take a lid and place it on the jar. Then take a band and screw it on, tighten the lid but don’t make it too tight, just enough to get some resistance.
8. Once you have made up all of your jars put them back into your pot of boiling water (or if you used a dishwasher for the first part you need to start a pot of boiling water and put them in there). Boil for about 10 minutes, time will vary by recipe and altitude.
9. Remove and set on a dry towel and let cool at room temperature.
You should hear the lids popping as they seal. Check each lid, the top should be sucked down so you can’t press it down any further.
When you go to use your jars check again, make sure the lid is still depressed, the seal is good and tight, and there are no bubbles inside of the jar before you open it.
Let’s Get Set Up
I set up my jars boiling on the front left burner (usually the most time consuming part is just waiting for this big pot of water to come to a boil), and my pickles or jelly or whatever on the front right burner. My lids are on the back right burner and my work space is on the counter to the right covered in a clean dish towel.
In addition to sterilizing my jars by boiling them in water I dip anything that is going to contact my food, (like the wide mouth funnel) and make sure it is sterilized too.
If you are using a dishwasher you may run your jars through the “sterilize cycle” and keep them hot in there rather than boiling them for this first step.
On to the Peaches:
You will need:
4 1/2 cups of finely chopped, or mashed (peeled )peaches. However mashed up they are now is how they will be in the jam so if you want a smooth jam you can run them through a food processor. If you are fine with chunks just mash with a fork.
2 Tbs of fresh lemon juice
3 cups of sugar (brown or white)
1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. of ground allspice
1 packet of low/no sugar pectin, which is equal to 3 Tbs if you have a container.
A note about pectin, normal pectin requires a higher sugar content, usually about 6-7 cups for a recipe of this size in order to gel. Low sugar pectin works best with at least some sugar but but doesn’t require as much. Make sure you follow the directions on your pectin packet, they will vary by brand. Also never try to double or triple jam recipes, pectin can burn or not heat properly in bigger batches.
1. Boil jars and set lids in a pan of hot water.
2. Peel peaches or take frozen peaches out of the freezer. You can read more about blanching, peeling and freezing peaches here. To peel, all you do is make a X shaped slit in the skin and then drop them into boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove and place in ice water to cool and the skin should now peel easily.
3. Mash up peaches as you like them.
4. Add lemon to peaches.
5. In a small bowel mix 1/4 cup of sugar with your pectin and then add this to the fruit.
6. Heat fruit and pectin mixture. You can use medium to high heat but stir often so nothing burns.
7. Once your fruit has reached a full rolling boil (a boil that can not be stirred away) add the reminder of your sugar and your spices. Return for a full rolling boil.
8. Boil for one minute. Then remove from heat.
9. Scoop jam mixture into hot jars and seal lids.
10. Once all the jars are finished return them to the pot of water and boil for an additional 10 minutes.
11. Remove jars and let them cool on the counter.
12. Once cool check the lids, they should all be depressed and not flexible when you push on them. If one isn’t you can still use it but it needs to stay in the fridge not in the pantry.
13. Now enjoy delicious fresh peach flavor all year.
This recipe is reprinted from here
This is a link to the National Center for Food Canning and Preservation.
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