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Peach basil jam brings together two favorite summer harvests to form a unique combined flavor that somehow just works. It’s even beautiful to look at, and livens up a sometimes-boring PB&J sandwich.
It’s also a great way to preserve basil in a new way.
This recipe yields 4 big jars of jam, which should satisfy your cravings for a while. Or maybe not, since I find myself eating this whenever I want something sweet.
For this recipe, I used 5 pounds of peaches that I sourced from a local farm (unfortunately, we haven’t planted peach trees yet, let alone gotten them to produce fruit).
I didn’t remove the skins, although you can certainly do so by first plunging the whole peach in boiling water, then immediately dunking it in cold water.
I personally prefer the skin to remain on because I like the texture it brings to a jam.
I also used a 1/2 cup of boxwood basil (that was sourced locally too – right outside my door!)
Bringing it all together takes about an hour.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
1. Select peaches, and chop
For this recipe, I used 5 pounds of peaches.
When selecting peaches to preserve, you want to pick ones that are firm, with no visible bruising or brown areas.
If there’s a small bruise on it, but the rest of the peach seems okay, then just cut out the brown area.
Chop the peaches, being sure to leave the pit and the red area surrounding the pit out of the slices.
You want to chop them into 1/2″ slices, or if you prefer a more consistent jam without large chunks of fruit, cut them to 1/4″.
2. Select your basil
Any basil will work, I used boxwood basil because that’s what grows in my garden. If you use a larger leaf of basil, you will need to chop them finer than boxwood.
Whatever basil you use, you will want to chop it to release the aromatic oils that will infuse your jam with their flavor.
Before chopping your herbs, however, be sure to wash them well in a fine-meshed colander to remove any dirt or bugs.
3. Heat your sliced peaches and add your sugar
Toss your sliced peaches into a large non-reactive pot, and add 2 cups of sugar.
Turn the heat on medium high. If you use low heat, it will take a while for the peaches to fully break down and it’s possible the jam will be runny.
If the heat is too high, however, it will scorch the fruit, so I’ve found medium high heat lets the peaches break down without it taking forever.
If you prefer to not use refined sugar, you can substitute honey or your sweetener of choice (or none at all.)
I personally do not add water because although it’s possible the peaches might scorch, over medium heat, in my experience it’s not necessary. The juice from the peaches will weep, making the water unnecessary.
Stir the peaches as they begin to break down, making sure to get the bits on the bottom. As the peaches begin to break down, it gets easier to incorporate the sugar.
After about an hour, the fruit should be broken down so that chunks of fruit are mixed with a juice/jam like liquid.
Begin to mash the fruit chucks (they should be soft enough) to break them down further.
If, after mashing, the fruit seems too solid or you want a jam without chunks of fruit, continue to let the heat break down the peaches.
Once the consistency is fine, add your chopped basil.
You don’t want to add it before this point, because you don’t want it to cook – you’ve already chopped it, so the plant’s oils have been released, and the herb will heat up and combine flavors with the peaches as the jam cools.
Remove from heat and add to your mason jars for storage (you should pre-heat your mason jars to sterilize them and to ensure they won’t shatter when you add the hot jam).
If you plan to use immediately (or in the near future), allow to cool, making sure to either use a loose fitting jar seal or put cloth over the top to keep out dust or bugs.
If you plan to use a water bath method to can your peach basil jam, begin that process as soon as you fill your mason jars.
Once you’ve made Peaches & Basil Jam, try my recipe for strawberry jam to double your fun!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.