Canning is, unfortunately, almost a lost art in the U.S. these days.
While it’s true that there’s a pretty wide variety of flavors available in stores, sometimes homemade jam is the best thing in town.
Besides saving a ton of money by canning your own, you can also customize flavors and play around with sugar levels and stuff. It’s really a lot of fun and not that much work once you get some basic equipment.
Since it’s the tail end of peach season right now, I thought I’d make a jam with a peach base and kick it up a notch with lots of fresh jalapenos. This Jalapeno Peach Jam
is an easy recipe for people who are interested in learning how to can.
If you aren’t
interested in canning, you could still make this recipe
. I would just divide it by six and make a smaller batch, which would keep fine in the fridge for two weeks.
Assuming you do want to make the larger batch though, you’re going to need a lot of peaches and a few large jalapenos. Even though there are only four pictured here, I recommend using six at a minimum.
To prep the peaches, just wash them really well and cut off as much of the flesh as possible. You don’t even need to peel these guys. Just slice them up.
Add the peaches to a food processor and pulse them a few times. You’ll probably have to do this in batches, as it’s a lot of peaches.
The key here is to make sure the peaches have some texture still. You don’t want them completely smooth. Chunks are good!
Next, pulse up your jalapenos. You can leave the seeds in and everything, but cut off the stems. You want a pretty fine dice on these so someone doesn’t get a huge piece of a jalapeno in the jam.
Throw the peach mixture and jalapenos in a large pot and start cooking it down over medium-high heat. Be sure to stir it frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Once the jam is simmering, add in the sugar, lemon juice, pectin, and butter. The small amount of butter will keep the jam from foaming a lot. It still might foam some. If you can, scrape off the foam as it forms.
Keep simmering the jam until it’s really nice and thick, probably another 15-20 minutes. Make sure all the sugar and pectin is completely dissolved.
It’s pretty much impossible to can without a few basic pieces of equipment. Luckily, you can buy all of this stuff in a small kit for a few bucks. You’ll make your money back in your very first batch of jam.
These are the basic pieces of equipment you should be looking for.
There are a few key things to remember when canning. The first, and possibly most important, is to make sure everything is really sterilized. If you don’t sterilize everything well, then bacteria will completely take over your food!
The easiest way to sterilize your equipment and jars is to boil in water for at least 10 minutes. Do this with your jars, lids, bands, and any equipment that will touch your jam.
Once everything is sterilized, fill up your jars with your hot jam mixture! Don’t fill up the jars all the way to the top. Leave about ¼ inch of space at the top of the jars.
Once the jars are full, wipe off the rims of the jars and stick a lid on each jar. It helps to have a magnetic lid holder for this since the lid and the jar are both very hot. Then screw on the band. You don’t need to screw it on super-tight. Just make sure it’s relatively tight. No need to crank down on it.
Once all your jars are filled and lidded, you need to process them in boiling water. This is the part of the process that seals the jars and makes them air tight so they can be shelf-stable for a long time.
Boil the jars for about 15 minutes and make sure you have enough water to completely cover the jars by about an inch.
Once the jars come out of the water, let them cool at room temperature for 24 hours. They should seal completely. You’ll know if they sealed correctly by trying to push down in the center of the lid. If you can push the center down and it pops up then that means the jar isn’t airtight.
If this does happen (unlikely), then get a new band and lid for that jar and re-process it in boiling water. Be sure to wipe off any dirt or food on the rim of the jar as that could create a bad seal.
This jam is fantastic on a huge number of things. I put it on sandwiches, on pork chops, and on almost any breakfast food you can think of.
My favorite use for it so far, though, is on a cracker with a little bit of Brie cheese.
More Jam RecipesNick wants canning to have a big resurgence in popularity. Check out his blog, Macheesmo and his Tablespoon profile.