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How to Make Homemade Jam

July 22, 2019
6 min. read

There’s nothing quite like fresh fruit picked right in the heart of summertime. Summer is prime season for juicy-ripe peaches, plums, nectarines, and all types of berries. While these fruits are delicious when served fresh in salads, smoothies, or for snacking, preserving them is a great way to ensure you have the chance to enjoy them all year long.

Jams, jellies, and preserves are a fantastic way to harness your favorite fruit flavors even out of season. While you can find a wide spectrum of fruit preserves on your grocery store shelves, making them at home can be a really fun and gratifying activity. Not only is the process fairly simple, but you can also customize the flavors, sweetness, and consistency to your liking.

So, why not take a trip to your local farmers’ market or orchard, pick out some fresh fruit, and try it out?

How to Make Peach Jam - Peach Jam on Martin's Butter Bread

Homemade Peach Jam: Step-By-Step Instructions

Fresh peaches and summer go hand-in-hand! P.S., did you know that our hometown of Chambersburg, PA is well-known for its peaches, which are frequently in high demand? Check out our step-by-step instructions below for an easy tutorial on how to make homemade peach jam! (Scroll to the bottom of this recipe to see some basic guidelines for substituting other types of fruit.)

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes; Yield: About 2 cups


  • 2 Pounds Fresh Ripe Peaches (About 8 Peaches)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 Cups White Sugar
  • Martin’s Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread, for serving

Step 1: Wash and dry the peaches.

(Tip: It is best to use just-ripe peaches.)

How to Make Peach Jam - Crate of Peaches

Step 2: Blanch the Peaches.

Blanch the peaches; this will make them easier to peel later. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow ‘X’ into the bottom of each peach. Boil a large pot of water; submerge the peaches for about 1 minute.

How to Make Peach Jam - Blanch Peaches

Step 3: Transfer peaches immediately into an ice water bath, for about 1 minute. Drain.

How to Make Peach Jam - Ice Water Bath

Step 4: Peel off the skins; they should come off fairly easily. Discard skins.

How to Make Peach Jam - Peel Peaches

Step 5: Slice the peaches in half. Remove and discard the pits.

How to Make Peach Jam - Slice and Pit Peaches

Step 6: Chop the pitted peaches into smaller chunks.

How to Make Peach Jam - Chop Peaches

Step 7: Place peach chunks in a large (nonreactive) pot over medium-low heat.

How to Make Peach Jam - Cook Peaches

Step 8: Zest and juice the lemon. Add lemon zest and juice to the pot with the peaches. Stir to combine.

How to Make Peach Jam - Zest and Juice Lemons

Step 9: Cook for about 15 minutes, until the peaches are soft, and the juices are released. Stir frequently, using a wooden spoon to break them down slightly.

How to Make Peach Jam - Cooking Jam

Step 10: Add the sugar; stir until dissolved.

How to Make Peach Jam - Add Sugar

Step 11: Continue cooking until thickened.

Increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Check for consistency—jam is ready when the mixture is thick enough to leave a trail behind the spoon. If it needs more time to thicken, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes.

How to Make Peach Jam - Cooking Jam

Step 12: Transfer to jar or sealed container.

Transfer jam to cleaned and sanitized mason jars. Seal with lids and bands; allow to cool. Note: jars should self-seal (or “pop”) as the mixture cools. Once cooled, check that jars are sealed by attempting to push down on the center of the lid. (If you can’t press down then they have sealed properly.)

How to Make Peach Jam - Canning Jam

Step 13: Store or refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Note: refrigerate any jars that did not properly seal and use these first. Alternately, you can seal them using a hot water bath canning method.)

How to Make Peach Jam - Peach Jam in Mason Jars

How to Make Peach Jam - Peach Jam in Mason Jar

Step 14: Serve homemade jam with Martin’s Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread.

How to Make Peach Jam - Peach Jam on Martin's Butter Bread


View the full, printable recipe at:


How to Make Jam

The jam-making process is easy to master once you understand the basic components. All you need is fresh, just-ripe fruit (stone fruits and berries work great!), sugar, and lemon juice or pectin.

Pectin is a gelling agent naturally found in fruits such as citrus. This is what helps jams and jellies to thicken to the right consistency. Tart fruits like certain berries, apples, and citrus have high amounts of pectin, whereas sweeter fruits have lower amounts. See the below list for some examples of each.

  • High pectin fruits: green or tart apples, lemons, limes, blackberries, cranberries, currants, sour cherries, grapefruit, oranges, tart grapes
  • Low pectin fruits: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sweet cherries, sweet plums, peaches, pears, pineapple

When making jams and jellies (or other types of preserves), there needs to be a balance between the acidic element (or pectin) and the sugar. This means that for sweeter fruits, you may need to add lemon juice or additional pectin in order for it to “gel” properly.

Another method is to use a mixture of low-pectin and high-pectin fruits to achieve the proper balance. This is technically considered a fruit “conserve.”

Once you have this concept down, you are ready to try your hand at making jam! Don’t worry, you can always adjust the recipe as needed by adding additional sugar or lemon juice until it suits your preferences.

How to Make Peach Jam - Peach Jam in Mason Jars

Basic Jam Recipe {Customizable}

For a standard jam or preserve, you really only need three ingredients. Here’s a simple recipe “blueprint” that you can customize with any of your favorite fruits such as the ones listed above!


  • 3 Pounds Just-Ripe Fruit, chopped or crushed
    • Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries ≈ 1 cup fruit to 1 cup sugar ratio
    • Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines ≈ 1 lb fruit to 1 cup sugar ratio
  • 1 1/2 Pounds Sugar (3 1/3 cups)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice (1 lemon)


  1. Stir together fruit and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, mashing fruit with a wooden spoon. Add lemon juice and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. (Note: add more lemon juice or sugar as needed.)
  2. Ladle jam into clean containers, leaving 3/4 inch of headroom. Let cool completely. Cover, label, and refrigerate up to 1 month, or freeze up to 1 year.



Confused about the differences between jams, jellies, and preserves? Here’s an explanation of the main types of fruit preserves and some related keywords.

  • Pectin – A gelling agent naturally found in many fruits, particularly citrus.
  • Preserves – A broad term for various types of preserved fruit spreads. It is often used interchangeably with “jam.”
  • Jelly – A fruit preserve made from only the fruit juice, along with sugar and occasionally pectin. This method requires special equipment such as a jelly bag, strainer, or cheesecloth.
  • Jam – A fruit preserve made with crushed or chopped fruit, cooked with sugar until softened and mostly broken down. May or may not have added pectin.
  • Conserve – A fruit preserve (jam) made with two or more types of fruit. Often includes dried fruits or nuts.
  • Compote – A fruit preserve made with whole fruit or large pieces of fruit cooked down in a sugar syrup (no pectin added).
  • Marmalade – A soft jelly that contains pieces of citrus rind. No additional pectin is required because citrus peels are naturally high in pectin.
  • Chutney – A fruit preserve (jam) that typically includes savory spices, vinegar, and/or dried fruit, usually with no added pectin and lower sugar content. Popular in Indian cuisine.

Why not get creative with your homemade fruit preserves? Try out this recipe using an assortment of fruits or take it to the next level by making jelly or marmalade!


Happy Canning!



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