Easy Peach Jam

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This easy peach jam recipe requires just three ingredients; fresh peaches, sugar, and lemon juice, and is made without pectin! If you have a bumper crop of peaches, this is the perfect way to use them.

A few years ago, ok, almost 10 years ago, I decided I was going to teach myself the art of water bath canning.

I found a vintage pressure canner being sold by a little old farmer’s wife – she was so excited to see a new generation getting into canning that she gifted me some vintage jars.

Unbeknownst to me, those vintage jars would become my favorites, the ones I reach for every single time I’m canning. Unbeknownst to Kevy, who simply goes along with my whims, my first canning project, peach jam, would become his favorite.

This easy peach jam recipe is dedicated to special gifts.

Peach jam in vintage jars.
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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> This fresh peach jam recipe is made without pectin, it relies on the natural pectin in the peaches and lemon juice to make delicious peach preserves!

No. 2 –> This recipe can be water bath processed or it can be frozen like a freezer jam – I prefer to water bath my peach jam because I always run low on freezer space, especially during the late summer when peach season is bumpin’!

No. 3 –> Don’t keep this jam confined to breakfast! Drop a dollop of your delicious jam on top of some equally delicious homemade ice cream, or spread it on a toasted piece of sourdough bread for a delicious afternoon snack, use it to baste your smoked ham, or spritz your pork butt!

No. 4 –> If you love homemade peach jam, you’ll probably love my peach jelly recipe, and maybe even my smoked peach jam recipe!

Overhead view of glass sealed jars.

Key Ingredients

Peaches: Choose ripe, soft but not mushy, freestone peaches that are intoxicatingly fragrant! These will give you the best jam! Try to use your peaches as soon after harvest as possible, whether that means straight from the peach trees or soon after they come home from the grocery store.

Sugar: This recipe calls for granulated sugar, which dissolves easily in the heated jam and has a great neutral flavor allowing the flavor of the peaches to really shine. Sugar also helps to preserve the flavor, color, and texture of the jam while also making it shelf-stable!

Ingredients required for peach jam.

How To Make Easy Peach Jam

Make the jam:

  1. Wash and dry 4 pounds of peaches thoroughly before peeling, coarsely chopping, and placing them into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add 4 cups of granulated sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to the saucepan.
  3. Bring the sugar mixture to a low simmer and simmer for 60 minutes, then mash the peaches in the pot with a potato masher. Return the peach mixture to a simmer and simmer until the jam reaches the sheeting stage (see below for more information on the sheeting stage) – another 45- 60 minutes.

Prepare water bath canner + jars:

  1. Meanwhile, wash and sterilize canning jars, rings, and lids.
  2. Prepare a hot water bath canner and bring to a low boil.

Can the jam:

  1. Place clean jars on a heat-proof surface, then ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars leaving about 1/4″ headspace.
  2. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean paper towel dampened with vinegar, top each jar with a new lid and close the rings finger tight.
  3. Lift the jars with a set of jar lifters, and carefully place them into the boiling water bath. Ensure the water level is 1-2″ above the top of the jars, and bring the water bath canner to a hard boil.
  4. Cover and begin the processing time. See the chart below for processing times and elevations.

To Blanch Or Not To Blanch

I’m sure this is going to be a hot-button topic, but I’m here, wearing oven mitts, ready to push that button!

Traditionally, the way to peel ripe peaches has been to score the bottoms with an X, drop them into a pot of water at a full boil and boil for a few seconds before transferring them to a large bowl filled with fresh lemon juice and ice water before slipping the skins off.

If that’s your method and it works for you, keep on truckin’!

I have personally found that the best way to remove peach skin is to place ripe peaches into the fridge for 12 or so hours, then peel them with a serrated euro-type peeler. I find this method takes no time at all, that it makes fewer dishes, and it makes way less mess.

NOTE: The peeler is important in this equation – a regular peeler clogs up with the fuzzy peach skin. Look for a serrated peeler.

As with all of my recipes, choose your own adventure, but I highly recommend my way HA!

Homemade peach jam in a vintage jar.

Sheeting Stage

When making jam without pectin, it’s important to check the consistency of the jam often. One way to do this is to watch for the sheeting stage. As the water evaporates from the jam, the properties change.

To test for the sheeting stage; using a cool metal spoon, take a spoonful of jam and hold it above a plate. Then, tip the spoon sideways and observe the behavior of the jam. If the jam breaks up into small syrupy droplets, it needs to cook for longer. If the jam sheets off of the spoon in one continuous sheet, it is ready.

The sheeting stage is important because it indicates that the jam has reached the correct consistency. If it is too runny, it will not set correctly and will not be as enjoyed. On the other hand, if the jam is too thick, it will be difficult to spread. The ideal consistency is somewhere in between, where the jam can be easily spooned onto bread or pastries without being too runny.

Another way to test the sheeting stage is with a candy thermometer, which should register 220f, or 8 degrees above boiling point, for you, depending on elevation. This is a great way to double-check that you’ve reached the sheeting stage the first time you make pectin-free jam!

Another way to test the jam for doneness is the plate test. Place a small dollop of jam on a plate, and place the plate in the freezer for a couple of minutes – you want the jam to reach room temp. Once it reaches room temperature, run your finger through the jam. If it separates and then returns to its original form, it’s ready. If the jam just rolls around the plate, it needs to cook longer.

Simple peach jam in glass lidded mason jars.

Processing Times

Your elevation plays a role in your canning! Higher elevations have longer processing times to account for the lower boiling point of your water.

ElevationProcessing Time*
0-1,000 feet10 minutes
1,001 – 3,000 feet15 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 feet20 minutes
*Processing time is based on half pint jars, if using pint jars add 5 minutes to processing time.

Don’t Toss The Pits + Peels

You’re going to have a few peels and pits left over after this process, as well as some discarded fruit due to bruises and mold. This doesn’t all have to go into the trash!

The easiest way to deal with your discarded fruit material is to feed them to your backyard chickens, just remove the pit first! If you don’t have backyard chickens, the next best thing to do is to compost them! Though the pits may take a while to break down, they certainly won’t harm your plants or garden in the meantime.

More Canning Recipes To Try!

Variations + Substitutions

Spiced peach jam: Add a few whole cloves, a cinnamon stick, and some freshly cracked nutmeg into a spice bag, simmer the spices with the fruits and remove before canning.

Vanilla bean peach jam: Slice a vanilla bean in half lengthwise, leaving the seeds intact. Add half of a vanilla bean and 1 teaspoon of Tahitian vanilla extract to each jar of jam.

Brown sugar peach jam: Substitute 1 – 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar with brown sugar. Avoid using all brown sugar as its flavor can easily overwhelm the delicate flavor of the peaches.

Homemade jam in special jars.

Making Peach Jam Without A Canner:

This recipe is developed for a water bath canner, but there is no fancy equipment required. If you want to can this peach jam and don’t have your own canner, follow the directions below:

  1. Find a large stock pot and a short flat trivet to fit the bottom of the pot. Ensure the pot can be filled with water 2″ above the top of the jars you’re using.
  2. Follow the directions below for sterilizing jars, making the jam, and filling the jars.
  3. Meanwhile, fill your pot with water and set it over medium-high heat and bring it to a bowl.
  4. Place the jars into the prepared water bath and process as directed above.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

This recipe makes between 5 and 7 half pints. It’s a great idea to always prep 1 jar that’s a size smaller than the jars you’re using to deal with leftovers! For example, in these photos, I used vintage Gem jars with a 12 oz capacity, but I didn’t quite have enough to fill the 4th jar, so I used a half-pint jar I had sterilized with my main jars and set aside in case!

Storage:

Properly water-bathed jam can be kept in a cool, dark place, for up to 12 months. While the lids may seal for longer, flavor, texture, and color can change in an undesirable way. Even properly processed and stored foods can lose their quality over time, so it’s important to cycle the stock of your canned goods. The degradation occurs more quickly in temperatures above 70f or 21c.

A row of homemade peach jam jars.

Water Bath Canner: I have and LOVE an ALL-AMERICAN CANNER. Yes, it’s a pressure canner, but it doubles as a water bather too! The 925 model is a beast, she can handle whatever I toss her way! If you’re new to canning and not sure you’ll love it, there are some really reasonably priced WATER BATH CANNERS out there too.

Mason Jars: MASON JARS are an investment, but they’ll last you for years and years with proper care and maintenance. The fact that my favorite jars have been out of production for decades just drives that point home.

If you love this recipe, please give it a star rating or leave a comment below! This helps me to create more content you enjoy!

📖 Printable Recipe

Homemade peach jam in a vintage jar.

Easy Peach Jam Recipe

Allyson Letal
This easy peach jam recipe is perfect for using up fresh, juicy peaches. It's a quick and simple recipe that anyone can make, and it yields delicious results.
4.48 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Water Bath 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Course Dips, Spreads + Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 6 half pint jars
Calories 39 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 lbs fresh juicy peaches
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons bottled lemon juice

Instructions
 

Make the jam:

  • Wash and dry 4 pounds of peaches thoroughly before peeling, coarsely chopping, and placing them into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Add 4 cups of granulated sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to the saucepan.
  • Bring the sugar mixture to a low simmer and simmer for 60 minutes, then mash the peaches in the pot with a potato masher. Return the peach mixture to a simmer and simmer until the jam reaches the sheeting stage (see below for more information on the sheeting stage) – another 45- 60 minutes.

Prepare water bath canner + jars:

  • Meanwhile, wash and sterilize canning jars, rings, and lids.
  • Prepare a hot water bath canner and bring to a low boil.

Can the jam:

  • Place clean jars on a heat-proof surface, then ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars leaving about 1/4" headspace.
  • Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean paper towel dampened with vinegar, top each jar with a new lid and close the rings finger tight.
  • Lift the jars with a set of jar lifters, and carefully place them into the boiling water bath. Ensure the water level is 1-2" above the top of the jars, and bring the water bath canner to a hard boil.
  • Cover and begin the processing time. See the chart below for processing times and elevations.
  • Once the processing time is complete, remove the lid to the water bath canner and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before using jar lifters to remove the jars from the canner and place them on a heat-proof surface to rest, untouched for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, the rings can be removed from the jars, the jars wiped, and placed in long-term storage.

Notes

Sheeting stage

To test for the sheeting stage; using a cool metal spoon, take a spoonful of jam and hold it above a plate. Then, tip the spoon sideways and observe the behavior of the jam. If the jam breaks up into small syrupy droplets, it needs to cook for longer. If the jam sheets off of the spoon in one continuous sheet, it is ready.

variations + substitutions

Spiced peach jam: Add a few whole cloves, a cinnamon stick, and some freshly cracked nutmeg into a spice bag, simmer the spices with the fruits, and remove before canning.
Vanilla bean peach jam: Slice a vanilla bean in half lengthwise, leaving the seeds intact. Add half of a vanilla bean and 1 teaspoon of Tahitian vanilla extract to each jar of jam.
Brown sugar peach jam: Substitute 1 – 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar with brown sugar. Avoid using all brown sugar as its flavor can easily overwhelm the delicate flavor of the peaches.

processing times

Your elevation plays a role in your canning! Higher elevations have longer processing times to account for the lower boiling point of your water.
Elevation (Processing Time*)
0-1,000 feet (10 minutes)
1,001 – 3,000 feet (15 minutes)
3,001 – 6,000 feet (20 minutes)
*Processing time is based on half pint jars, if using pint jars add 5 minutes to processing time.

Batch:

This recipe makes between 5 and 7 half pints. It's a great idea to always prep 1 jar that's a size smaller than the jars you're using to deal with leftovers! For example, in these photos, I used vintage Gem jars with a 12 oz capacity, but I didn't quite have enough to fill the 4th jar, so I used a half-pint jar I had sterilized with my main jars and set aside in case!

Storage:

Properly water-bathed jam can be kept in a cool, dark place, for up to 12 months. While the lids may seal for longer, flavor, texture, and color can change in an undesirable way. Even properly processed and stored foods can lose their quality over time, so it's important to cycle the stock of your canned goods. The degradation occurs more quickly in temperatures above 70f or 21c.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 39kcalCarbohydrates: 10gSugar: 10g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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