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.
Note: this is an updated and more detailed version of a post from last year. This time I’m including a photo!