I have been so fortunate to receive fresh peaches from the Washington State Fruit Commission this month. When they were delivered, it was an unseasonably cold September day in Minnesota, that felt like the onset of winter was near. So, it really brightened up the kitchen when we tore open the box of fresh yellow peaches.
I went straight to work by washing, chopping and simmering the peaches, making small batches of different flavored jams. I did have a few “OK” outcomes and a few winners that dazzled our tongues. I spent eight hours straight in the kitchen, preserving all but 10 peaches that I kept aside for fermented recipes. I’ll be keeping a couple recipes a secret for now. But I had to share a couple of the winning recipes with you, and I’m starting with this drunken peach jam recipe.
Peaches are one of my favorite fruits to preserve with because they don’t require much prep work and they boil down to a jam consistency in a timely manner, which means it’s a quick and easy fruit to preserve – and that makes them favorable to me. I’ve seen tons of peach jam recipes that require added pectin to set, but that is totally not the case with this recipe… no need to take the extra step by adding pectin, this will set perfectly without.
I leave the skins on the peaches in this recipe because leaving them on makes the prep work even that much easier. I do not mind the skins in my jams, in fact I hardly notice them. And if anything, I think they offer a prettier colored jam in the end.
Drunken Peach Jam
Yield: 3 – 8 ounce jelly jars
4 cups diced yellow peaches, pitted, skins on (or off if you prefer it that way)
1 1/4 cups granulated organic or non-GMO sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup whiskey (you will taste the flavor, so pick one you like)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup finely chopped apple, peeled (optional – I like the additional crunch, but they are not required)
Wash peaches, remove any bruised or flawed areas from fruit. Remove pits and rough chop into chunks (bite-sized). Add peaches to a large heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot and use a potato masher to carefully breakdown the peaches somewhat. Add sugar, vanilla, whisky, apple chunks (optional) and lemon juice and bring the fruit to a medium-high simmer. Simmer until the peaches breakdown and the mixture begins to thicken (about 20-30 mins). Stir often to avoid burning, especially as the mixture thickens and is close to being done. If you aren’t sure how to determine when your jam is set, click here.
TO WATER BATH CAN: Ladle the hot peach jam into warm prepared jars. Use a funnel to safely transfer the mixture, leaving ½” of head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a dampened, clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel and again with a dry towel. Place the canning lid over the rim of the jar, and screw the ring on until just-snug on the jar. Process in the water bath canner for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the water bath with canning tons and place them on a towel-covered surface for 12 hours without touching. Once completely cooled, remove the ring and test that the lid has securely sealed onto each jar. Refrigerate after breaking the seal.
SKIP WATER BATH CANNING: Allow the jam to cool, add the lid and ring and store in the refrigerator. The jam will keep for several months refrigerated.
For more stone fruit inspiration, follow: