Perfect Peach Jam Recipe

What You'll Need

  • Large stock pot
  • colander
  • good kitchen knife and clean cutting surface
  • heavy bottomed pot
  • water bath canner with canning rack
  • canning tools
  • clean kitchen towels
  • 5 half pint canning jars with lids
  • 2 1/2 pounds peaches
  • 3 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup homemade pectin

Peaches are divas, it’s true. They demand special consideration to grow; hot hot summers and cool winters, careful pruning and protection from peach leaf curl. In the hot fields of the Central Valley of California, pink blossoms cover the trees in spring; an impossible, unapologetic pink, seemingly at odds with their rigid branches and the strict rows of cultivation. Their fruit must be ripened on the tree to have any flavor (but what an exquisite flavor it can be!) and the soft fruits are easily bruised in transport. Yes, peaches are divas, but we love them all the more for their trouble. How tender and juicy they are! How aromatic and succulent and full of the sweetness of summer.

This peach jam is summer in a jar, a perfect way to preserve these fleeting emblems of summer before they vanish in the fall and bare winter. Like a scrap of melody that sparks a far-off memory, the taste on your tongue will transport you straight back to the sticky, golden warmth of July, on even the grayest day.

This recipe requires that the peaches be peeled before making the jam; the peel does not fare well in preserves, and the fuzzy texture distracts from the soft texture of the preserve. Use either freestone or clingstone peaches for this recipe; clingstone varieties are more difficult to remove the pit from, but they appear earlier in the year, and are often juicier than the freestone type. Nectarines may be substituted, as well.

If you are not familiar with the water bath canning method watch our water bath canning video workshop. Always make sure you are following all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything

Makes 5 1/2 Pint jars


1) Peel the peaches

Prepare an ice bath or fill your sink or a large bowl with cold water. Start a large pot boiling on the stove. You will need a pot large enough to fit all your peaches.

To peel the peaches, dip them into the boiling water for one minute; a large colander or steamer works well for this. After removing them from the boiling water, dip them immediately into the cold water or ice bath. Remove them from the ice bath and set aside for peeling. You may want to wait a few minutes until they cool enough to handle. 

Slice each peach in half, removing the pit as you do so. The skins will slip off easily after the brief immersion in hot water; use a paring knife to catch the edge and peel it back.

how to peel peaches

2) Prepare your canner

Prepare a water bath canner and 5 half-pint jars. Set the canner to boil while the jam cooks.

3) Chop and mash the peaches

Chop the peeled peaches into 1/2 inch pieces, and set them in a jam pan or heavy bottomed pot. Mash them lightly with a potato masher.

homemade peach jam

4) Cook the jam

Add the sugar, pectin, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Raise the heat to medium-high and cook it down until it has thickened enough to mound on a chilled spoon, or sheets rather than drips from a spoon. You can learn more about jam setting methods and timing here; check out our article on How to Find the Perfect Jam Setting Time. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the bottom of the jam.

5) Pack your jars and process

When the jam passes the gel test, ladle it into half-pint mason jars and lid the jars. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

canning peach jam

If you are not familiar with the water bath canning method watch our water bath canning video workshop. Always make sure you are following all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything

Over to You

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.