Punch up your homemade peach jam with fresh basil! It lends a refreshing herbal note to the jam in this recipe from Amy Deaver, owner of Lemon Bird Handmade Jams. Use the most flavorful peaches you can find, preferably locally grown ones. Be sure to adjust all canning and cooking times for altitude — click here for more of Amy’s tips on making jam.
Peach Basil Jam
4 lb. ripe peaches, preferably local
5 cups sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
10 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
Have ready a large bowl filled with water and ice. Fill a deep pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Blanch the peaches in the boiling water until the skins begin to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath. Peel the peaches, remove the pits and cut the peaches in half. Cut each half into 6 to 8 slices. In a ceramic or glass bowl, combine the peaches and sugar. Cover with parchment paper and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Pour the peach mixture into a large, heavy nonreactive pot and set over low heat. Cook, stirring gently, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and then pour the mixture into a ceramic or glass bowl. Cover with parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, prepare 6 to 8 half-pint canning jars by washing and then boiling them for 10 minutes to sterilize. Place 5 small plates in the freezer to use for testing the jam.
Combine the peach mixture and the lemon juice in a large, nonreactive pot and set over medium-high heat. Slowly bring to a boil, using a flat metal spoon to skim off the foam while continuing to stir. Cook until the jam begins to gel, 12 to 15 minutes. The temperature on a thermometer should register 221°F.
Test if the jam is set: Drizzle a few drops of jam on a plate from the freezer. Wait 15 seconds and then run a finger through the jam. The jam should wrinkle slightly and have a thick consistency. If the jam is not set, return the pot to the heat for 1 to 2 minutes and test again.
When jam is set, turn off the heat (leave the pan on the stovetop) and stir in the basil. Let stand for 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the stovetop and skim off any remaining foam. Ladle the jam into the prepared canning jars. Dip the lids in boiling water to sterilize. Wipe the rims clean and place the lids on the jars.
To heat-seal the jam, place the jars in a boiling-water bath and boil for 10 minutes to seal. Makes 6 to 8 half-pint jars.
Recipe courtesy of Lemon Bird Handmade Jams. Click here to read our Q&A with Amy!