Pretty in Peach: Classic, Perfect Peach Jam

Peach Jam

Want to make a perfectly pink peach jam? Today I'm going to show you how to make peach jam using fresh white peaches to create the simplest, loveliest peach jam with a natural blush hue. Make the most of the short peach season to make this wonderful preserve! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

Usually when you make jam, you want to use slightly under-ripe fruit because that is when fruit has the highest amount of pectin in it. Pectin is a soluble fibre and the ingredient in fruit that thickens jam. Pectin levels vary between fruit; for example lemon and apple skins and seeds contain high amounts of pectin while fruit like strawberries and rhubarb contain low amounts of pectin. I prefer jams that are loose set and not too firm with a lot of pectin, I don't really like jams that are solid and jellied like aspic. Home made jams are often more loose set.

Tips For Making Peach Jam

Peach Jam

1 - For white peach jam, if you want to give it that beautiful, natural blush colour you will not achieve this with under ripe fruit. Instead you need just-ripe peaches. If that isn't important to you (or you're using regular yellow peaches) you could definitely use slightly under ripe fruit. However never user over ripe or bruised fruit for jam.

2 - Another reason I prefer to use just ripe peaches for peach jam because these peaches peel much easier. All you have to do is cut a cross in the base of the peach and then poach them for 1-2 minutes. The skin will change to a rose colour and they will easily slip off. Underripe peach skin will resist and when you do peel it, the peach flesh will have a furry texture underneath it.

3 - To ensure that you get a gorgeous natural pink colour, keep the pink peach skins and place them in a nut bag (for making nut milk) or a muslin bag and place this in the saucepan to cook with the fruit. The skins will release colour into the jam.

4 - If you halve the quantity the cooking time is still the same.

5 - Optional flavours: 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. However for white peaches, I like to preserve their more delicate flavour and not add any other flavourings.

I came across an unexpected bounty of white peaches recently. I had bought Mr NQN some gin from Costco for Christmas (not sponsored). On Christmas Day he unwrapped his present but he noticed that the quality seal was broken which was really embarrassing. I told him that we could go back and return it. Mr NQN hates grocery shopping but he loves gin so be begrudgingly agreed to go a week later. The man at the returns counter was slightly suspicious and kept saying, "We will have to take your word for it," but eventually agreed to take it back. I had assumed that someone else had returned it and filled it up with water and they hadn't noticed when they took it back but when he broke open the bottle we could all smell the gin.

Peach Jam

We did some shopping since we were there and a stack of boxes of white peaches caught our eye. They looked fantastic and they were selling a box for $10. I usually find their fruit overpriced but Mr NQN loves stone fruit so we bought a box. When they scanned them in they were half the price. This never happens at Costco, if anything we find that we sometimes get overcharged for items but since we live so far away it's a schlep to complain.

I checked the receipt and there they were, a box of perfect white peaches for $4.99. "Should I buy a couple more boxes?" I said to Mr NQN and he grinned and nodded. So that is how I ended up with three boxes of peaches! A lot were eaten by Mr NQN but I also made a few batches of peach jam because peach season can be quite short and we wanted to make the most of it.

Oh and when we went to buy the gin again, it was cheaper than when I bought it! So Mr NQN doesn't hate grocery shopping so much haha!

So tell me Dear Reader, do you do much preserving?

Peach Jam

White Peach Jam

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Makes around 800g/1.7lbs of jam enough for 2x400g/14ozs jars

  • 1.2kg/2.6lbs white peaches, just ripe (around 8-9 depending on size)
  • 550g/1.2lbs white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Peach Jam

Peach Jam

Peach Jam

Step 1 - Wash the peaches well and cut a cross in the base of the peaches. Place a pot of water onto boil and simmer the peaches in the water for 1-2 minutes. Remove with tongs and place in an ice bath. The skin will become a rose pink colour and slip off easily. Reserve the skins and place in a nut bag or muslin bag. Place a saucer in the freezer. Place 2x400g/14oz jars and lids in a 180C/350F oven (make sure there is no rubber seal) for 10 minutes to sterilise.

Peach Jam

Step 2 - Roughly chop the peach flesh and place in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the peach flesh, pits, sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the bag of peach skins. Allow to simmer for 40 minutes stirring occasionally and adjusting the temperature so that it is a gentle simmer. The jam is ready when you place a teaspoonful of the mixture on the frozen plate and you drag a finger through it and the line that you draw stays. Once it has cooled down a bit, squeeze the nut bag with latex gloved hands to get all of the jam off and the colour out. Remove pits and spoon the jam into sterilised jars. Turn upside down and cool completely. This will create a seal.

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