A few weeks ago, I had dinner with my friend Grace and she brought me the most delicious homemade blackberry jam. Since making jam isn’t really my jam, I asked her if she would come over and share a recipe for the blog. Peaches were in peak season, so we decided on spicy peach jam. And last weekend, we jammed. Well, technically, she jammed. I watched. Jack took pictures.
(Canning aside), I was surprised how easy this was. The recipe looks long but, really, the most time consuming part is macerating the peaches overnight. The hands-on steps went pretty quickly.
I just love the sweet & spice combination. I’ve been eating this jam on toast all week – it’s especially delicious with a slather of ricotta or almond butter. I’m also thinking it would be a fancy, unexpected addition to tacos similar to these.
- 3 lb. peaches
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 cup lightly sweet white wine (I used a Viognier)
- 7 dried pequin chile peppers, stems removed
- 3 Granny Smith apples (or pectin)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Zest from 1 small lemon (about 1 tablesoon)
- Peel: Cut a small "x" into the bottom of each peach, drop it into boiling water for a minute or two (you'll know when it's ready when you see the skin start to separate near the "x"), remove, and then drop into an ice bath. Once the peach is cool enough to handle, slip the skin off. I've also found that the ease of removing peach skins really depends on the ripeness of the fruit and how it's been grown. If the peach is overripe or underripe, it always seems like it's much harder (sometimes impossible) to remove the skins. In that case, I just cut the skin away.
- Cut and mix: Add a little sugar into the bottom of a medium-sized glass (or non-metal, non-reactive) bowl. Slice each peach in half, top to bottom, and remove the pit. Cut each half into 12-16 thin slices and add to the bowl. Between each peach, add a little more sugar until you've added all the peaches and all the sugar. Then add the wine and the chiles and stir gently until combined.
- Macerate (2-3 days): Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least two days (and up to three). If you want a little extra kick, try this: on the second day, simmer the mixture again, allow to cool, and transfer back to the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for one more day. (This will infuse more spice into your jam).
- Cook: (If you're canning, start preparing your boiling water bath, jars, and lids now). Pour the peach mixture into a colander suspended over a bowl and strain the juices. Transfer the juices to a preserving pan or a heavy-bottomed, wide, deep, non-reactive, uncoated sauté pan. Add the lemon juice to the pan. Cut the apples into quarters and either add straight to the pan or bundle in a cheesecloth and add to the pan. (You can substitute the apples with homemade or commercial pectin, if you'd prefer.) Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil, stirring from time to time, until the liquid is bubbling thickly and reduced, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the apples and discard or save for another use. Add the peach slices, lemon zest, and any accumulated juices to the syrup in the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is bubbling thickly and the foam subsides, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir gently for a few seconds to distribute the fruit.
- Can: (optional) Fill your hot, sterile jars to ¼" headspace, remove any air bubbles, wipe the rims, put your lids on, and process for 10 minutes in the boiling water bath.
- Store: Refrigerated, the preserves will keep up to 1 month. Canned, they'll keep in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.