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Peach Jam without Pectin

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Easy peach jam without pectin – preserve the wonderful summer flavors by making this homemade peach jam recipe.

Summer is almost over and the peach season is almost at the end as well, but we can still buy lots of peaches at the farmer’s market and pretty much anywhere. And they are better than ever: ripe, sweet, juicy… I eat one almost every day, over the sink, letting the juices run down my chin and hand… So good!

As long as they are really ripe, peaches are probably my favorite summer fruits. Or nectarines… they are so similar I don’t usually care which ones I am buying, those that look and feel better at the moment. And if you have a glut of juicy peaches or nectarines, how about making this amazing Nectarine Cake, this Peach Cake with Sour Cream, this Smoothie, or this Fresh Peach Compote. Or try a Chicken Salad with Grilled Peaches.

close up of chunky bright colored jam in a jar.

What do you need for this easy peach jam recipe?

Ripe peaches:

  • You will need 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs of fresh fruit weighed after stoning. If you buy 1.2 kg/ 2.6 lbs it will be fine.
  • The fruit should be ripe but not overripe or bruised.
  • Should they have some bruises, make sure to remove those spots with a paring knife.

What about the peach skin?

  • You can remove it you wish. However, I never do, and nobody was ever bothered by it. And if you decide to blend this delicious jam anyway, peeling makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, it’s just a waste of time.

Can I use nectarines instead?

  • Definitely, they are just as delicious as the peaches.
  • You can use the same recipe to make apricot jam as well.

Granulated sugar: about 3 3/4 cups of sugar.

One large lemon

Two star anise: they are optional, they impart the jam a wonderful flavor, but only use them if you like a spicier kind of jam, if you like anise flavor generally.

Optional spices: vanilla, cardamom, a touch of nutmeg.

collage of four pictures of fresh peaches, lemons, sugar and star anise.

Can you make peach jam without pectin?

What is pectin?

A kind of starch that occurs naturally in fruit or which can be produced commercially. When heated with sugar, pectin reacts and thickens jellying the liquid released by the fruit. Apples or most berries (currants especially) contain a lot of natural pectin, and they usually don’t need any help at all with jellying. Peaches have a medium natural pectin content, that is why adding lemon juice is a good idea. Lemons contain more pectin thus helping with the jellying process and also impart the jam more flavor.

For making today’s jam you will not need any powdered pectin, the pectin contained by the fruit and by the lemon will be enough to make the jam jelly nicely.

Keep in mind though, that the peach preserves will not be stiff, the soft fruit pieces will be preserved in a glossy, thick but still slightly runny jelly. A total delight!

How to make peach jam?

Steps:

Sterilize jars:

  • You should sterilize the jars while the peaches are cooking. Although the latest research states that sterilizing jars is not necessary if you can the jars in a water bath after filling, I prefer to do it. The habit, I suppose.
  • Hot oven method: Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius/ 280 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the jars and lids in soapy water. Place only the clean jars on a baking tray. Leave them in the oven for about 15 minutes. To sterilize the lids, boil them for about 5 minutes. It’s preferable to fill the jars while they are still hot.

Prepare the fruit:

  • Wash and dry.
  • Remove the stones, cut each peach into 6 or 8 wedges (1) and cut those into small pieces (2).
collage of two pictures of chopped peaches on a brown table.

Cook:

  • Place in a large pot (1). Add lemon juice, bring to a boil on medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the pieces are softer (2).
  • Stir in the sugar and add the star anise if using (3).
  • Turn up the heat and stir well for a couple of minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  • Bring to a low simmer and cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes until set. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot well when stirring to prevent the preserves from catching (4).
collage of four pictures of chopped peaches, cooked until soft, mixed with sugar and the ready jam.

How long to cook preserves?

There are two methods of checking if the peach jam without pectin is ready.

Thermometer: the preserves should have reached a temperature of 104 degrees Celsius/ 220 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature needed for the jam to set is slightly different depending on the altitude; the higher the altitude, the lower the gel point temperature of the preserves. Here is a list that makes things easier.

·       Sea level – 104 C/ 220 F

·       300 m/ 1000 feet – 102 C/ 216 F

·       900 m/ 3000 feet – 101 C/ 214 F

·       1200 m/ 4000 feet – 100 C/ 212 F

·       1500 m/ 5000 feet – 99 C/ 211 F

·       1800 m/ 6000 feet – 98 C/ 209 F

·       2100 m/ 7000 feet – 97 C/ 207 F

Cold saucer:

  • If you don’t have a digital thermometer, you can check with the cold saucer method.
  • Place a saucer in the freezing before you start preparing the preserves.
  • Start checking after 15 minutes. Pour about one teaspoon jam on the freezer-cold plate, leave it for about 30 seconds. Run a line with your finger through the middle of the pool of jam, it should wrinkle slightly, and the two parts should remain separated. If they don’t remain separated, continue cooking the jam for another two minutes and check again.
  • For a thicker consistency add another couple of minutes to the cooking time, but don’t overdo it, or you will not be able to spoon the peaches out of the jars anymore.
  • Always remove the pot from the heat while checking to interrupt the cooking process, if it continues cooking while you check, you might overcook it!
jam preserves without pectin in a small jar on a black board with a white cloth behind.

Smooth or chunky?

Smooth jam:

  • Blend the preserves with an immersion blender (or in a food processor). Make sure you wear mittens and clothes with long sleeves, the hot jam might splatter slightly.
  • If you blend it, you can fill it into jars immediately. Use a funnel, it really makes things easier. Leave about ½ cm/ ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and close well.

Chunky jam (like in the pictures):

  • Leave the preserves as they are without blending. This makes for a beautiful, glossy jam, that allows you to still bite on the pieces.
  • In this case, leave to cool in the pot for about 10 minutes, this will allow for a more even distribution of the pieces.
  • Ladle the hot preserves into the jars leaving a little headspace. Clean the jars and close well.
  • For a medium chunky spread, mash with a potato masher.
  • Place the jars on a folded kitchen towel to cool completely at room temperature.
slice of bread with peach jam and some spilled jam beside it.

Canning the jars

This is a small batch recipe, you will have about 4 jars of peach jam. You can keep the jars in the fridge, they will be fine for at least 6 months, probably longer. You can also freeze it for at least one year.

If you make a large batch, can the peach jam without pectin in a water bath canner for about 10 minutes. The processing time depends on the altitude as well. Carefully remove from the water bath using a jar lifter, place on a folded kitchen towel, and let cool completely.

For reliable and more detailed information on water bath canning, make sure to read these Canning Guidelines, they are able to answer probably any question you ever had about canning.

How to store?

  • Refrigerate: If not canned in a water bath, keep in the refrigerator, the jam will be fine for at least six months, probably longer. Once you open a jar, try to consume it in about one month.
  • Freeze the jars if you wish, the preserves will keep even longer.
  • Cool dark place: Keep jars that were canned in the water bath in a cool dark place. They will keep for about one year.
  • Once you open a jar, keep it refrigerated.

Make this a gift!

I love making homemade presents for my friends and family and this fresh peach jam makes a wonderful present. Some of my favorite things to give as a gift are infused oils or vinegar, like the Wild Garlic Oil and the Cherry Vinegar. Preserved fruit either with or without alcohol is great as well. How about the Kirsch or Amaretto Cherries or some simple Canned Rhubarb or Blueberries? Or try these amazing Cheese Crackers or some Ginger Snaps.

chunky peach preserves in a small jar overhead view.

More summer jams:

jam preserves without pectin in a small jar on a black board with a white cloth behind.

Peach Jam without Pectin

Simple peach jam without pectin, flavorful preserves that make the most of the summer fruit. It can be made with nectarines as well.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Preserves
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 small jars
Calories: 853kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lbs peaches weighed after stoning Note 1,2
  • 1.7 lbs granulated sugar
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 star anise optional

Instructions

  • Sterilize the jars (See blog post for more instructions).
  • Wash the fruit and remove any bruised spots with a small knife. Remove the stone. Cut each peach into 6-8 wedges, cut the wedges into smaller pieces. Place in a large pot. Add lemon juice.
  • Bring the peaches to a boil on medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the pieces are softer.
  • Add sugar and star anise if using. Stir well for a couple of minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  • Cook on medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes until set. Stir every few minutes and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot well when stirring to prevent the jam from catching.
  • Check if the jam is set. (Note 3)
  • Chunky jam: leave the preserves cool for about 10 minutes, this will allow the pieces to distribute more evenly. Transfer to jars and seal.
  • Smooth jam: blend the preserves with an immersion blender. Transfer to jars and seal.
  • Fill the jam into the sterilized jars using a funnel.
  • Can in water bath for 10 minutes, if desired, for longer shelf-life. Otherwise, keep the jars refrigerated or freeze them.

Notes

  1. Buy about 1.2 kg/ 2.6 lbs fruit, you will have about 1 kg left after stoning.
  2. Substitute peaches with nectarines.
  3. Star anise is optional as are other spices. You can also use some vanilla or cardamom.
  4. It should have reached a temperature of 104 degrees Celsius/ 220 degrees Fahrenheit, however, it depends on the altitude; the higher the altitude, the lower the gel point temperature of the preserves.
  • Sea level – 104 C/ 220 F
  • 300 m/ 1000 feet – 102 C/ 216 F
  • 900 m/ 3000 feet – 101 C/ 214 F
  • 1200 m/ 4000 feet – 100 C/ 212 F
  • 1500 m/ 5000 feet – 99 C/ 211 F
  • 1800 m/ 6000 feet – 98 C/ 209 F
  • 2100 m/ 7000 feet – 97 C/ 207 F

Nutrition

Serving: 1jar | Calories: 853kcal | Carbohydrates: 219g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 522mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 214g | Vitamin A: 821IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: peach jam without pectin, peach jam no pectin, peach jam, peach preserves
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