13 August 2010

Peach Freezer Jam with Less Sugar - Preserving Summer's Bounty






This is my last post about peaches this summer, I promise! In June I was on a strawberry kick and made vast quantities of strawberry freezer jam. Late July, early August, I've been on a peach kick (in case you haven't noticed). Up until last week, I had been buying a few pounds at a time. Then a wonderful organic farmer named Vern (also part of Homegrown Organic Farms) gave me a huge box of Zee Lady peaches.

So I froze enough for five Peach Pies with Lattice Crust, made two batches of jam and had some left to enjoy in the present. Just think how much I'm going to enjoy these luscious peaches in the middle of winter! And that's the thing about freezer jam--strawberry freezer jam tastes just like fresh strawberries and peach freezer jam tastes just like fresh peaches.

If you've made freezer jam, you know it has a softer set than regular jam. I'm okay with that, but still I just couldn't help thinking I could make it better. And I DID! I made my first batch according to directions and found that after 24 hours it was much softer than I would like--perhaps it's one of those that will take a couple weeks to "set up"--so I decided to experiment on the second batch. I heated the peaches a bit before adding them to the pectin mixture. When I tried the jam after 24 hours, I was amazed! The consistency was perfect, and it still tasted like fresh peaches!

If you'd like to experience a bit of summer in the middle of winter, break out the jam jars and make a batch or two of freezer jam. It's so easy. You can whip up a batch in under an hour. Please leave a comment and tell me what you're doing with fruit this summer.

Peach Freezer Jam(Makes six or seven 8-ounce jars)

I used the same ingredients as the Sure-Jell recipe but made a crucial change to the method, so this is my jam.

4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 3 to 4 pounds fully ripe peaches)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 box Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin for Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes
1 cup water

1 Rinse clean half-pint glass jars and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Straight-sided jars are best.

2 Peel and pit peaches. Finely chop fruit. I can't imagine doing it without a food processor (love my Cuisinart; see the "
My Little Shop" page for a current model). With metal blade in place, add 1-inch peach chunks to work bowl and chop finely using short pulses (about ten 1-second pulses). Don't puree, though; jam should have bits of fruit. Measure exactly 4 cups prepared fruit in 4-cup glass measure.

3 Pour fruit into 2-quart saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat just to the boil (bubbling in the middle as well as around the edges). Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice.

4 In 3-quart saucepan, stir together sugar and pectin. Stir in water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Immediately add peach mixture; stir 1 minute or until well blended. Pour into 2-quart glass measure; spout and handle make it easy to fill jars neatly.


5 Fill all jars immediately, leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion. Wipe any drips off top edges of jars; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.


22 comments:

Jenn said...

I always say I'm going to make my own jam, but each year goes by and I don't. This looks simple enough though.. and very yummy! I might not be a huge fan of peach pie, but I do love peach jam..silly, but true!!

Jean said...

Yes, it's easy. And you're just making six or seven jars, so it's not one of those all-day ordeals.

Cranberry Morning said...

I LOVE the look of that wonderful peach jam! Don't worry, you're not going to catch me complaining about another peach post! And I like that cute little toast holder. I need one of those! :-)

Jean said...

Thank you, Judy! I have always liked using a toast rack. Got this one, bone china, in England about 25 years ago. It's my favorite.

Melanie said...

You can NEVER have too many peaches, and your jam looks DELICIOUS! I am a disaster in the kitchen, but I would be willing to try your recipe to be able to enjoy peach jam all winter long. (Harry & David make a nice one, but it is pricey.)

Jean said...

Thanks, Melanie! I hope you will try it and let me know how it went for "a disaster in the kitchen"! Having peaches and peach jam in the freezer has me positively looking forward to winter.

Chef Dennis said...

now this is the recipe I have been waiting for!! I knew I would have so many peaches in the house, and I wanted to use some of them for jam....thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

Jean said...

Dennis, I'm so glad you're going to make my peach jam. You're sure to like it!

Oregon Kimm said...

It looks divine. I don't know what I love best about your posts: the recipes or the photos of the finished product. They are all wonderful!

Jean said...

Thank you so much, Kimm! The cooking comes easier to me than the photography, that's for sure!

Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said...

I haven't been a big fan of jam, but since I was in France and ate it for breakfast quite often I like it a bit more :)

Jean said...

Thanks for stopping by, Anne! This jam is so different from store-bought, and even most homemade, that you would be surprised. It tastes just like the fresh fruit. I hope you'll try it!

katyarobin said...

thanks for this,it sounds lovely, and still time to bottle the summer flavours (just).
I'm going to try your freezer peach jam recipe with English version of pectin, which is called Certo.
I stopped making boiled jam because of the effort, mess, and vast quantity of sugar, and don't eat sugar based jams anymore, can feel it eating my teeth.

I have been buying French fruit 'spreads' made with concentrated grape juice. Will be great to have home made jam again.

Jean said...

Super, Katya! I hope it works well for you with the Certo. I've always thought a fruit jam should be more fruit than sugar!

Wendy and Giesla said...

My friend Gisels and I just made the peach jam. So simple and good. It tastes just like the fresh fruit.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thank you, Wendy and Gisela! I'm so glad the two of you liked it. Wish I had some right now (just took a loaf of gluten-free bread out of the oven).

Jessica said...

I just finished a jar (from the freezer) that I made last summer. Thanks for introducing me to the wonderful world of freezer jam! I've made strawberry, peach, and fig-orange so far. Today I will try peach using the bulk package of Ball RealFruit Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin. I'm eager for advice on this product if you have any! Thanks!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Jessica, thanks for letting me know! I've never used the Ball RealFruit Low or No Sugar Needed Pectin, but I did some research. It said that 6 tablespoons (which is 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons) equals one box of other brands. Be sure to use level measures. And do let me know how it turns out for you!

Jessica said...

Hi Jean! My jam is good, but too firm, I think. I found a recommendation of 1 Tbs per cup of fruit of the RealFruit Low or No-Sugar pectin. I really liked the soft-set nature of last year's peach jam. I think I used Instant Pectin. Also I tried to get fancy with bourbon and thyme. Too ambitious. I LOVE the pure peachy-ness of your recipe. It still tastes like fresh fruit. Summer in a jar. In the freezer. Anytime.
Thanks for your recipe!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Jessica, then for this recipe that would be 1/4 cup of the Ball RealFruit Low or No Sugar Needed Pectin. Maybe I'll give that brand a try one of these days. I'm with you - no need to get fancy with bourbon or thyme or anything else that would detract from the perfect peachiness!

Laurie said...

HELP I have been looking for a peach jam recipe, and many are similar so I combined yours and two others.
The thing is, one said to just let the jam sit for 30 minutes. I let it sit over an hour, and then popped it into the freezer (except the one test jar). It is delicious, but runny. Was it the short time I let it sit?? It was only a small batch, but still, it cost money to get the supplies. I'd like to try again if the frozen ones are also runny (or make the ultimate sacrifice and eat it over ice cream). Suggestions?

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Laurie, freezer jam has a softer set than regular jam, which is why I developed my own special method to give it a firmer set. The batch you made might set up a bit with time, but then again it might not. Just use it as it is, over ice cream or whatever. And NEXT time follow my recipe precisely -- I think you'll be glad you did! :-)

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