Monday, July 2, 2012

Peach-Habanero Jam (Or, Adventures in Jam Making)

Two Sundays ago I ventured into the world of jam making for the first time. So far as I can tell the results were amazing. I can't wait to make more jam. I'm only waiting on the arrival of my "real" canning pot and rack...when it arrives there will be many more Sunday morning jam making sessions. I've been using a make-shift canning set-up and my canning life will be greatly simplified by the arrival of a real canning pot.
But as I was saying, my first foray into the jam making world: peach-habanero jam.

Yum! We made a few jars to use right away and processed the rest in a boiling water bath for longer term storage. The eat-right-away jam was fabulous. As long as the other jam sets up okay it should be wonderful too. The jars seemed have sealed correctly so I'm hopeful they will be fine. We'll have to open and test one soon!

The recipe I used is based on this recipe from An Austin Homestead (now relocated to Pocket Pause). Since I didn't have as many peaches as the original recipe called for and because I was using a different brand of pectin, my recipe is slightly different than hers. I used Ball RealFruit Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin and used an online pectin calculator to work out the measurements listed below. It's a really neat tool. You can choose the fruit you're using and it will give you measurements for how much sweetener/fruit/water/pectin you need for your recipe.

And now, here's what I used to make our peach-habanero jam.

4 cups peaches (peeled, pitted, and diced)
6 habanero peppers (stemmed and seeded and finely chopped)
1 cup water
4 1/2 Tbls. Ball low-sugar pectin
2/3 cup raw honey
1/2 cup agave nectar*
3 Tbls. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. butter

And here's what I did in case you get the urge to do it too...

First, prepare and heat the jars. If you're new to canning, check out this guide to preserving high acidity foods. I'm by no means an expert. This is my first time making jam remember? Keep the jars and lids warm (simmering) until you're ready to fill them.

Next, peel the peaches. I think the easiest way to do this is to take a knife and make a little X on the top and bottom of the peach. Then drop the peach into a pot of boiling water for about a minute. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, move it to a bowl of ice water. When the peach is cool enough to handle you should be able to peel the skin right off by rubbing it gently.

Once the peaches are peeled, cut them in half to remove the pit. Dice the peaches and set them aside.

Next cut off the stems of the peppers and remove the seeds. After I did this I tossed mine in a mini-food processor to chop them. Wear plastic gloves while working with the habaneros. Seriously. Even if you use gloves, do not touch your eyes or rub your face (or anywhere else). It will burn. I didn't have gloves so used plastic sandwich baggies over my hands. Some of the juice still made it through to my fingers. These are seriously strong peppers!

After the peaches and peppers were prepared I followed the directions on my bottle of pectin to make the actual jam: 

Combine the prepared peaches and peppers in a saucepan with the water and lemon juice. Stir in the pectin gradually. Add butter (it reduces foaming). Over high heat and stirring constantly, allow mixture to reach a full rolling boil. You should not be able to stir it down.

After it's boiling stir in the honey and agave and return the mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute. Do not stop stirring. Remove from heat and skim any foam that has formed on top.

Again, for canning, I followed the instructions on my bottle of pectin. You can find them here, starting with step 6 (although I admit I didn't not use a funnel to fill my jars. I just ladled the jam into the jars). 

Essentially, I filled the hot jars with jam one at a time, removed air bubbles, wiped the rims, centered the lids, applied the screw bands to fingertip tight, put the jars in the canner and covered with 2" of water. I turned up the heat until the water was boiling and started timing. I boiled for 10 minutes (be sure to adjust the boiling time depending on our altitude). After 10 minutes I turned off the heat, removed the lid and let the jars sit 5 minutes. Then I removed them from the pot and let them cool on a towel, undisturbed, on the counter for 24 hours before checked the seals. 

After 24 hours I checked the seals (I removed the screw bands and could pick the jars up by the lid without it coming loose). They all seemed correct so I wiped the jars, lids, and screw bands down with a bit of vinegar and then water to remove the film that had formed during boiling. We have really hard water and it always leaves a residue. I replaced the bands, labeled the jars, and moved them to our pantry (okay, I took some pictures of the jars first). 
And there you have it. My first jam making experience!

*If you don't want to use agave you could use all honey instead...just add a little at a time to see how sweet you want it.

This post is part of Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Simple Lives Thursday, Farmgirl Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.  


  1. Mmmm. That looks delicious!! How spicy is it? I want to give it a try, but at least until this baby comes out, I'm having to be very careful how much spicy food I eat. :(

  2. It's not overly spicy but it is definitely warm. When you first taste it it's sweet and then after you swallow you feel a little burn in the back of your throat. At least that's how it is for me. We used it in several dishes and I've eaten it with crackers and cream cheese and it's been fine...but my idea of spicy (and my husband's) may differ from a lot of other people's opinions : )

  3. Hi there! I'm so happy you liked my jam recipe! I love the way peaches and habaneros go together: they're a perfect combo. I definitely recommend this jam served over cream cheese or as a glaze on chicken or pork.
    I'm missing my local peaches and peppers up here in Oregon... i'm thinking i'll try out a strawberry or blackberry and roasted jalapenos this Summer!

  4. Oh, and PS: cutting up habaneros is easier if they're frozen. You can cut off the stem/top and use that flat end as a base for the pepper and easily dice them up. ;)

    1. Miranda, Thank you for the inspiration : ) I hope I did your jam justice! I definitely think trying it with berries and roasted jalapenos sounds like a good idea!

  5. Sounds awesome, we will have to try!



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