It is peach season in Utah and I’m still experimenting with making the best peach jam ever! I’ve recently started using weight to determine the amount of sugar to add to jam recipes instead of cup measurements. For fruits like apricots, peaches, and sweet cherries, I’ve been measuring the weight of the processed fruit in grams and then dividing that number by 4 to get the amount of sugar needed. Last year I made peach jam using 15 pounds peaches and then 4 cups of sugar and that jam was delicious and lasted for the year. This year I was curious about the differences if I used weight, well luckily 15 pounds of peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped will come out to approximately 4,000 grams and 1,000 granulated sugar is about 4 to 5 cups, so my original recipe was spot on! I’m just glad to be using weight in grams to make my jam in the future as it is more accurate.
Speaking of accuracy…I think it is interesting here in Utah, that we identify peaches, not that they are peaches, but often times by the type of peach. We are all familiar with different types of apples: gold delicious, red delicious, honeycrisp, granny smith, etc. However, grocery stores only sell “peaches”. Where’s the variety? The first peaches in Utah are often Redhaven, hearty peaches with a firm texture, which makes them great for canning. Other peach varieties are John Boy, Diamond Princess, Rosa, Early Elberta, Lemon Elberta, Johny Henry, Angelus, O’Henry. Diamond Princess peaches are some of the sweetest peaches and are best for eating straight. Lemon Elberta are much more resistance to frost. O’Henry peaches often come into harvest as the Elberta are just finishing. O’Henry peaches are great for freezing.
Low Sugar, No Pectin Peach Jam
- 15 pounds ripe peaches, cleaned, peeled, pitted, and chopped (about 4,000 grams)
- granulated sugar, 1/4 of the weight of the peeled & pitted peaches (about 1,000 / ~4–5 cups)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Place the peaches and the sugar in a non-reactive pan or bowl, stir, cover and let macerate for at least 12 hours.
- Prepare water bath canner, jars, and lids. Don’t forgot to add 1/2 cup vinegar to canner water to keep your bottles looking nice.
- When peaches are fully macerated and softened, put them through a food mill (coarse).
- Transfer the fruit and sugar to a large shallow sauté pan (or electric skillet) and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer until the jam reaches desired gelling stage. Because I used a shallow electric skillet, it took me only about 15-20 minutes to reach the desired gelling stage.
- Once you have obtained desired gelling point, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and almond extract. Skim foam off if necessary.
- Remove from the heat and ladle the jam into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headroom.
- Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
- Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 5 minutes (0 – 1,000 feet elevation), 10 minutes (1,001 – 6,000 feet elevation), and 15 minutes (6,001 – 8,000 feet elevation).
- Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars sit in the hot water for another 10 minutes. This will prevent too much of the jam from pushing itself out the lids as it is cooling.
- Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand until completely cool, about 24 hours.
- Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.
- This jam doesn’t cook much, so it can be very “loose,” or liquid-y. If you cook it longer to thicken it up, you’ll lose some of the very fresh flavor. Accept the looseness and enjoy the flavor!
- Do not double this recipe. Making jams can be finicky and doubling the recipe could be disastrous!
- Use the widest and most shallow pan you have, the deeper the pan the longer you will have to cook your jam. You will lose the fresh flavor the longer the jam has to cook.