peach jam

Small-batch Peach Jam

When you don’t have much fruit – or don’t have much time – try a small batch. Don’t double this one, it’s perfect just as it is. Goes together easily. The peaches stand with the sugar while you get the jars ready, and then the jam is finished, and canned, within 60 minutes. Makes 4 8-oz jars plus a bit for tomorrow’s breakfast.

  • 2 lb ripe peaches, unpeeled  (slight bruising is okay, but cut out any dark brown bits)
  • 1 lb granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp lemon juice)
  • tiny pat – 1/2 tsp – unsalted butter

Start with the peaches: rinse them well, but don’t bother peeling them. Pit them, and cut them into small pieces, and put them in a large heavy-bottomed pot. (I used my favorite 4 qt pot, which was perfect for the task.) Add the sugar and lemon juice, then stir well, cover with a clean tea towel, and let stand 1 to 2 hours to bring the juice out of the peaches.

Now prep your jars.  Put 4 8-oz jars in a pot, cover them with water, and bring the pot to a boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the jars stand. Put the bands nearby, and the lids in a heat-proof bowl. Pour some boiling water over the lids – cover them – and let the lids stand. Put a saucer or small plate in your refrigerator to chill (this will be for testing doneness.) Have an extra small jar, or custard cup, clean and ready for any excess.

When you’re ready for the cooking – you’ll need 45 – 60 minutes, no more – add a tiny pat of butter and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then simmer the mixture until the fruit is translucent and cooked through. The smaller the pieces are, the faster this goes. When the fruit is all soft and tender, remove the pot from the heat, and whiz with an immersion blender, to make a smooth puree.

Return the pot to the heat, and bring it back to a boil. Stir often, because the jam is easy to burn if the heat is too high. Cook until the jam thickens and will pass the wrinkle test – this will go surprisingly quickly. Ladle jam into prepared jars, wipe rims, and apply lids and bands. Anything that won’t fit in your four jars can go into the clean custard cup – chill it in the fridge, this is perfect with yogurt or on toast for breakfast!

Process the jars in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.

 

Small-Batch Peach Jam

Course: Jams and Jellies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: jam, small batch, peach
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
standing time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 4 8-oz jars
A small batch of a favorite jam
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ripe peaches, unpeeled
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (1 lb)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp unsalted butter (optional, but helps with texture)

Instructions

  • Start with the peaches. Any with slight bruising are okay to use, but do cut out any dark brown bits. Rinse the peaches well, but don’t bother peeling them.
    Pit them, and cut them into small pieces, and put them in a large heavy-bottomed pot. (I used my favorite 4 qt pot, which was perfect for the task.) 
    Add the sugar and lemon juice, then stir well, cover with a clean tea towel, and let stand for 1 to 2 hours to bring the juice out of the berries. (You can actually let them stand, covered, in the refrigerator overnight, if you need to.)
  • Meanwhile, prepare one more jar than you’ll think you need. The jars do not have to be sterile, but they do need to be sparkling clean. I like to take clean jars right out of the dishwasher. Wash the lids in warm sudsy water, then rinse and set aside with the bands. Put a saucer or small plate in your freezer to chill (this will be for testing doneness.) Have an extra small jar, or custard cup, clean and ready for any excess.

COOKING TIME

  • After the fruit macerates with the sugar and lemon juice for hours, there will be plenty of juice in the pan. Add a tiny pat of butter, then bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low, then simmer the mixture until the fruit is translucent and cooked through. The smaller the pieces are, the faster this goes.
    When the fruit is all soft and tender, remove the pot from the heat, whiz the fruit mixture with an immersion blender to make a smooth purée.
  • Return the preserves to the heat, and continue cooking, stirring often, until it bubbles and looks quite thick. I like to test for doneness by putting a spoonful on a saucer, and chilling it in the refrigerator for 2 minutes. After that time, if I can drag my finger through the jam, and leave a clear track that doesn’t fill in again, it’s ready.  In my kitchen, this took about 10 minutes more.
  • When the jam is ready, remove the pot from the heat. Ladle jam into prepared jars, wipe rims, and apply lids and bands. Anything that won’t fit in your four jars can go into the clean custard cup and chill it in the fridge.
  • Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or steam canner. Cool jars, label, and store in a dark cool place.