Fabulous Peach Jam

Do you remember a while back when we got 2 crates of Peaches? We did Freezer Canned Peaches and also made 5 one quart bags full of diced peaches (mixed with approximately two tablespoons of lemon juice in each) that I promptly placed in the freezer. I intended on making Peach Jam later with these. Well FINALLY, I had time to can the Peach Jam!

I have canned strawberry jam, blackberry jam and tomatoes before but had never tried making Peach Jam. It was also the first time I used frozen fruit. I removed the frozen peaches from the freezer and put them in the fridge overnight. Although they were tossed with lemon juice, the peaches still darkened a little in color but thankfully the flavor was not affected. I was a little disappointed in the slight darkening but kept on going.

*Printable Recipe: Fabulous Peach Jam

First off, when you want to can, you need 5 basic equipment:

  1. Canning stockpot (super large pot with a jar rack for sterilizing)

  2. Canning jars with rims & lids (I used Ball 8oz jelly jars in a 12 count package)

  3. Canner tongs

  4. Wide-mouth funnel for wide-mouth jars

  5. Magnetic lid picker upper thingy (I’m sure there is a more appropriate name, lol)

There are tons of other great canning supplies out there but these 5 things will do the job just fine.

You then need the “food” ingredients to make the jam. I used the following:

  • 5 – one quart bags of diced peaches (it took 20 peaches to make the 5 – one quart bags, so if using fresh fruit, peel and dice up 20 peaches, don’t forget to remove the pits and all hard parts around it)

  • 7 cups of sugar separated (1 cup + 6 cups)

  • 4.7 oz plastic jar of Ball Classic Pectin

  • one cup water

Don’t you just love it?! Water, sugar, pectin and fruit, that’s it! No other junk you can’t even pronounce, lol.

Directions:

Before even getting the peaches out, you have to wash your jars, lids and rims in hot, soapy water. Rinse well under the hottest water you can tolerate. You can then put them in your dishwasher on high-heat dry setting to finish the cleaning process. Our dishwasher brand is Steve Jr. Never heard of that brand? It’s the best out there, lol! Our teenage son does the dishes; we don’t have an electric dishwasher, lol. We also have a Steve Jr. automatic car starter, lol! If you have a human dishwasher like us, you will need to add lots of water to your super large canning stockpot. Add water until the canner stockpot is 2/3 full of water. Heat water to a soft boil (I’m guessing a rapid boil is better but even after 30 minutes on a burner set to high, the water never came to a rapid boil). Trust me though, the water was super hot! Put the cleaned jars, rims and lids in the water and sterilize for 10 minutes. I used my canner tongs to remove the glass jars and placed them upright on paper towels to air dry. I used my magnetic lid picker upper thingy to remove the rims and lids and also placed them on paper towels to air dry. I kept the canner stock pot full of water on the burner boiling. If you used an electric dishwasher instead, now’s the time to go ahead and fill that super large canner stockpot 2/3 full with water and turn the burner up to high.

I put the 5 thawed-out quart bags of peaches into a large pot. In a bowl, I mixed the entire jar of Ball Classic Pectin with 1 cup of sugar. I added the pectin sugar mix and one cup of water to the peaches. I brought the peach mix to a full rapid boil (a boil that can’t be stirred away). This took a long time since the peaches were still cold from the fridge. It took approximately half an hour to get it to a full boil and I stirred the mix frequently. The peaches broke down nicely. There were still some small chunks of solid pieces that will give the jam great texture.

After the peach mix hit a rapid boil, I added 6 cups of sugar. I then stirred frequently until the peach mix came to another rapid boil. I removed it from the heat and skimmed off the frothy layer on top. Using my canner funnel, I ladled the peach mix into the jars up to 1/4″ from the top. I placed the lid on top and screwed on the ring. I repeated this process for the remaining 11 jars. Turns out I had enough peach mix made for probably another 12 jars! I put the remainder of the peach mix into 2 large Tupperware containers with lids and placed them directly into the fridge.

I have to tell you at this point I was so upset. The peach jam didn’t appear to be “gelling”. It was still pretty runny. I went back to the directions I was following and was kicking myself for not reading the directions more closely. It says that jam has to be made in small batches so that it can gel up. The small batch they were talking about was 1/4 of what I made. I was then confused about the sugar bit. It said 7 cups in the beginning but then later in the directions said only 4 cups? I was frustrated but kept on going. I put the filled jars in the canner stockpot for processing. I completely submerged the jars (I used the wire holder to prevent the jars from directly touching the bottom of the stockpot) and allowed the jars to boil for 10 minutes. I used my canning tongs to remove the jars and placed them upright on a bed of paper towels. At this point, I was damn near in tears. I could see the jam inside the jars sloshing around and thought for sure I ruined all those peaches and wasted all that money on those jars because it sure didn’t look like jam, it instead looked like syrup. I forced myself to put a smile on my face because I may not have created jam but I at the very least created a nice peach syrup that can be served over ice cream. It didn’t work, who am I kidding? I was down right mad at myself for not reading the directions correctly. Damn my impatient self! I turned the stove burner off and went to bed feeling defeated.

I woke the next morning to find the jars were all sealed! How do you know they are sealed and shelf-safe? You push down on the lids and if it doesn’t pop up and down (you will hear a popping sound) then it is sealed. So yay! I have sealed Peach Syrup! No worries though, if your lid pops, then put the jar in the fridge (it just means it is not safe to store it on a shelf if the lid didn’t seal) but will be fine if immediately refridgerated. Then I picked up a jar and almost dropped it in my excitement . . . it actually gelled up!

Yes, Yes, Yes! So scratch the Peach Syrup . . . I have Peach Jam! 

Spencer and I quickly opened up a jar and made some toast and jam for breakfast! Let me tell you, all my fears about it being overly sweet and not jelly-like were completely unfounded! It was perfectly sweetened (remember, I started off with way more peaches than the recipe I was following so the 7 total cups of sugar worked out beautifully) and it was a wonderfully thickened consistency! Actually, if I had followed the other recipe correctly, the Peach Jam would have been way more sweet so I am glad I was a bit impatient, lol, because it turned out to be just the right amount of sweetness!

I found labels in the bottom of the box the jars came in. I promptly wrote “Peach Jam” and the date on each label. I proudly stuck those labels on my Fabulous Peach Jam!

How did it taste? FANFREAKINGTASTIC! Yes, that is really a word, lol. I successfully made my first jam from peaches and peaches that were frozen even! Woohoo! It was sweetened to perfection, just the right gel thickness and had these wonderful, small chunks of peaches in it! I certainly will do this again next summer! I won’t change a darn thing about my recipe because it really turned out perfect! Small batch my butt, lol! Well, there is one thing I would change . . . I would buy another dozen canning jars, lol!

Lessons Learned:

  1. Always have a back up plan. Peach Syrup would have been OK too!

  2. Have Faith. Things may not first appear like you want it to, just rest on it. It may just later turn out the way you had hoped for or into something even BETTER.

  3. Don’t ever doubt yourself. You are your own type of “AWESOME”!

Hmmm . . . Now who to give all this Peach Jam too?

Update:

I’ve already passed out several jars and the reviews are all the same . . . folks LOVED it! One friend ate a 1/4 of the jar by herself with her finger on the way to her yoga class, lol. Brings whole new meaning to the phrase “finger licking good” and additionally, she now doesn’t have to share it with the rest of her family, lol!

Disclaimer:

After opening a jar, be sure to put it in the fridge like you would do with any other jams or jellies. If you open a canned jar (no matter if it is peach jam, strawberry jam or tomatoes) and it smells funny or looks funny, don’t be a dummy, toss it. It may not have sealed correctly and spoiled. If after processing your jam your lid “pops” to the touch (meaning it didn’t seal properly), put that jam directly into the fridge. I am not a canning expert so use common sense if you attempt to can yourself. Research thoroughly the canning process. I just know that what I did worked well for us! I will be doing it this same way for years to come.

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