Homemade Peach Jam is fantastic, but the usual canning process can be an ordeal. This Small Batch Peach Jam makes a single jar, no canning - or liquid pectin - required!
Originally published August 26, 2020. Updated on 3/31/2023
Last year, it was as we were picking cherries in a local orchard. The craving hit, we got home, and I banged out a single jar of beautiful cherry jam with calamansi juice. Ooooh, it was good!
The thing is, the timing of “I’m craving jam” doesn’t always coincide with “I have the spoons to dedicate to a full day of canning jam”.
Luckily, small batch jams are a thing. In this case, I came up with a Small Batch Peach Jam recipe.
Oh, that fresh peach jam it hit the spot... and only took about an hour to make! This makes one jam jar worth of delicious peach jam, which should last 3 weeks in the fridge - the perfect recipe size for us.
I love spreading toast with a small amount of cream cheese, and topping it with one of these jams. SO good!
Anyway, let’s talk about making this Small Batch Peach Jam, specifically.
Before we get going with my easy peach jam recipe, I’d like to discuss the (very few) ingredients. You only need 4 simple ingredients, easily found in most grocery stores:
I use fresh fruit for this recipe, as peaches are plentiful at the local farmers' market, when it’s peach season.
Use fresh freestone peaches, as ripe as you can get them. You want them ripe enough that they’re a royal pain to use a vegetable peeler on.
Overripe peaches are better than under ripe peaches - you get far more fresh peach flavor from the really ripe ones.
If they’re REALLY ripe, sometimes you can just pick the skins off, with no preparation.
Otherwise, you can blanch them.
Blanching Peaches for Peeling
Cut a small “X” in the peach skin, for each peach you’re looking to blanch.
Carefully drop them in a pot of boiling water for 15 seconds, or until you can see the skin peeling back from the cut marks.
Remove from the boiling water, dump them in a large bowl of ice and cold water for 30 seconds.
Use your fingers to peel the skin off the peaches.
To be honest, I usually just use the vegetable peeler and curse while I make a mess. Your mileage may vary 🙂
Either way, I really do recommend removing the skins for this jam, as leaving the skins on gives it a weird texture and doesn’t look as nice.
Use plain white granulated sugar for this - other varieties of sugar will overpower the peach flavour, IMHO. Also, I don’t like the way it looks when you use brown sugar - just not as appetizing.
I like honey with peaches, and I like the flavour that a little bit of honey brings to this jam. It’s subtle, but nice. If you don’t want to use honey, just replace it with the same amount of sugar.
The lemon juice is necessary for flavour and texture. Lemon is pretty standard / “neutral”, but feel free to use the juice of whatever citrus fruit you like.
I’ll usually use calamansi juice, and regular fresh lime juice also goes really well with peaches.
LOL just kidding. I made this recipe for the times when I just want a bit of jam, and don’t want the whole home food preservation ordeal that tends to accompany jam making
Making jam can be a bit of a hassel, to be honest, and I wanted this nice and simple.
Some fruit has a lot of pectin, so you can just rely on the fruit pectin and added acid to react with the sugar and gel up normally.
Peaches don’t have a ton of natural pectin, however, so this is less about it gelling up like a jam, and more about cooking it down to a thick syrup-solid.
It’s almost like making a caramel, but you’re not actually caramelizing/ browning the sugars.
A bit different from normal jam making, but it does produce actual jam... without fussing with trying to measure out a small amount of pectin from a container meant to be used all at once.
How to Make Peach Jam
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is the pictorial walk through.
Peel and pit the peaches, chop into small pieces, or run through a food processor.
Add peaches, sugar, honey, and lemon juice to a medium pot, bring to a full boil over medium heat or medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
As the peaches soften, mash them a bit with a potato masher, or whirl an immersion blender through them.
If you’d like, you can use a stick blender / immersion blender to smooth it out a bit - this is good for fruit that takes its time to break down, like the out-of-season peaches I used here.
Run a spoon through the mixture - if it leaves a visible “wake” for a second or so, it’s thick enough to let the jam set.
For best results, don’t overcook it! You can always re-boil an undercooked mixture, but overcooked peach jam = solid
Use a clean funnel, and ladle the hot jam into a clean jam jar.
Note: I like to wash jam jars and 2-piece lids in the dish washer before making the jam. While you don’t need sterilized jars for refrigerator jam, you still want to start with an airtight container that’s as clean as you can get it!
Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge, use within 3 weeks.
Canning Homemade Jam
While I specifically designed this recipe to NOT need canning ... if you want to do a bigger batch, you’ll want to actually can the jam. This will give it a longer shelf life.
Here’s what you’ll want to do, to take this from a refrigerator jam, to a properly canned jam:
1. Buy new jar lids - just the flat pieces. You shouldn’t reuse those for actual canning, but you CAN reuse the half-pint jars and the rings.
2. Actually sterilize / sanitize your canning jars, lids, rings, funnel, and ladle. You can do this with heat - in a dishwasher - or you can use a chemical sanitizer, like Star-San .
This is something you should have on hand if you’re into brewing Homemade wine.
3. Once you’ve got everything sanitized / sterilized, wash your hands well, and be careful not to touch anything in areas that will touch the food - the underside of the jar lids, the inside or rims of the jars, etc.
4. As you’re making the jam, get a large pot of water boiling. If you have a water bath canner, use that.
Either way, the boiling water canner should be wide enough to accommodate all the jam jars you’re going to use, and have enough water in it to cover the canning jars by about 1" when they’re in there.
FYI: This recipe makes 1 jar. If you triple the recipe, you’d need 3 jars... on paper.
As each batch may have slightly more - depending on how big your peaches are - I recommend adding an extra jar. 4 jars for a triple batch, 5 for a quadruple batch, etc.
You may not end up using that extra one, but it’s a lot easier - and less annoying - to prepare that extra jar/lid/etc in the batch, than to find yourself short one or more sterile jars, when you need it!
4. After you’ve made the jam - and it’s still boiling hot - carefully use your sanitized items to ladle the hot jam into the sterilized jars.
5. Use a wet paper towel to wipe any jam off the lip of the jars. You might want to make a second pass, to be sure. This is important for the seal, and for food safety.
Note: The United States Department of Agriculture recommends adding 5 minutes processing time for altitudes above 1,000 feet; add 10 minutes for altitudes over 6,000 feet.
7. Carefully use a jar lifter to remove each hot jar from the water.
Note: I like this set for canning. Everything you need, in one cheap package!
8. Allow to cool overnight. I like to carefully remove the rings - without disturbing the lids - to allow it to dry out between the jar/ring. This prevents rusting.
9. The next day, check all lids for a proper seal: they should have sucked down into a vacuum seal as the jars of peach jam have cooled. Screw bands on tight.
10. Store properly sealed jars in a cool, dark place for later use; refrigerate any jars of jam that did not seal for use in the coming weeks.
Looking for More Peach Recipes?
Got a bountiful harvest to take advantage of? I’ve got you covered! Here are few favorite ways to cook with peaches, or type “peach” into the search field on my site to find even more!
Balsamic Peach Bruschetta
Blackberry Peach Popsicles
Boozy Raspberry-Peach Bread Pudding
Fresh Peach Daiquiri Recipe
Fresh Peach Salsa
Fuzzy Peach Candy Cocktail
Grilled Halloumi Salad
Grilled Peaches with Lime Honey
Homemade Peach Wine Recipe
One Pan Balsamic Chicken with Peaches
Peach Cobbler Muffins
Peachy Southern Comfort Cheesecake
Rosemary Peach Balsamic Scones
Small Batch Mango Peach Jam
Southern Comfort Peaches N Cream Popsicles
Southern Comfort Peach Pie
Spicy Southern Comfort Glazed Chicken with Grilled Peaches
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Small Batch Peach Jam
- 3 large Fresh peaches
- ¾ cup Granulated sugar
- ¼ cup Honey
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- Peel and pit the peaches, chop into small pieces.
- Add peaches, sugar, honey, and lemon juice to a medium pot, bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently.
- Once mixture is boiling, turn heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- As the peaches soften, mash them a bit with a potato masher. I like a bit of texture - not pureed, and not TOO chunky.
- At the 30 minute mark, start testing for thickness. Run a spoon through the mixture - if it leaves a visible “wake” for a second or two, it’s thick enough. Don’t overcook it!
- Once your jam is thick enough - it can take 45 minutes or more, heads up - remove from the heat.
- Use a clean funnel, and ladle the hot jam into a clean jam jar.
- Use a wet paper towel to wipe the top edge of the jar, and affix a clean jam lid and ring.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge.
- Use within 3 weeks