I think bourbon is the perfect spirit to pair with peaches and this Bourbon Peach Jam with Vanilla Bean is a decadent start to the day! Serve it on toast or ice cream or even make a cocktail with it, it’s absolutely delicious!
Forget the old adage of ‘When life hand you lemons, make lemonade.’ This month I’m going with ‘When life hands you peaches, make this Bourbon Peach Jam with Vanilla Bean.’ And life has handed me a ton of peaches! You want peaches…we’ve got peaches!
Maybe one of Colorado’s best kept secrets is our amazing peaches. Not produced in the abundance that Georgia peaches are, they are mostly shipped to all points in Colorado and though not heralded like their southern cousins, they should be!
Grown on the Western Slope (the west side of the Rockies), they are subjected to warm days and cool night and that makes them sweet and juicy and seriously the best I’ve ever had. I decided to include some Fireside Bourbon from Mile High Spirits; made in Colorado of course!
One thing that would typically keep me from making this Bourbon Peach Jam with Vanilla Bean might be the tedium of peeling 20 peaches. But wait!! Peaches (and tomatoes) are actually so easy to peel. Simply cut a crosshatch in the bottom and blanch them for 1 minute in boiling water.
Remove them from the water and dunk them in a big bowl of ice water to cool and voila…the peel will have started to curl back where it was cut and it’s as easy as just slipping that sucker off!
I first tried it on an English Muffin and then I had English Muffins for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then I tasted some on vanilla ice cream. I believe swoon would be the word.
This week I’m going to use a jar to make the peach barbecue sauce in this recipe for smoked chicken. It was good with store-bought peach preserves; I can’t wait to try it with homemade Bourbon Peach Jam!
I call them drip down your chin peaches; that pretty much sums up how they are eaten…unless you take a bit of time and make this A-MAY-ZING peach jam. How good is it? I made 6 pounds of peaches into jam and I swear I’m going to have to hide it from myself. I’m giving it away to protect the innocent (me) from finishing it all off in the first week.
Bourbon, vanilla bean and brown sugar are so perfect with peaches there simply are no adequate words…OK, maybe yummaliciousness works but still does not completely convey how stunning this jam is.
PIN ‘Bourbon Peach Jam with Vanilla Bean’
Bourbon Peach Jam with Vanilla Bean
- 1/2 cup bourbon, divided (Set aside 1 Tbsp)
- 4 pounds ripe peaches
- 3 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 vanilla bean, 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon butter
- One (6-ounce) package liquid pectin (two foil packets)
- Prepare the jars and lids: place six clean half-pint jars on a tray and put into a 225 degree oven; keep warm until ready to fill.
- Put the bands and lids into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium heat until the water is simmering, then remove the pan from heat and keep the bands and lids in the hot water until ready to use.
To Prepare the Jam:
- Put a small plate in the freezer to use for testing the jam.
- Simmer all but 1 Tablespoon of the bourbon in a medium size pot and reduce to 1/4 cup. Allow to cool.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill another large bowl with ice water. Cut an X into the bottom of each peach and drop them into the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. Remove the peaches from the hot water and immediately plunge them into the ice water.
- Once cool, pull off skin and chop the peaches. Transfer HALF of them to a blender and pulse just until they are coarsely pureed. You should have about 4 cups of puree.
- Put a large pot for canning on the stove filled with water and heat on high.
- Put both the pureed and chopped peaches in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add both sugars, lemon juice, lime juice, the reduced bourbon, vanilla (See Notes) and butter.
- Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the liquid pectin and return to a boil. Boil hard for one minute.
- Test the mixture by dropping some of the jam on the cold plate that you put into the freezer; it should setup. If not, simmer the mixture until you can pull a large spoon over the bottom and see the pan.
- Turn off heat and let mixture settle; skim any foam from the surface with a metal spoon. Discard the vanilla bean if used and mix in the remaining 1 Tbsp of bourbon.
- Remove the jars from the oven and ladle the hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Wipe the rims of the jars, cover with lids, and screw bands on until just barely tight.
- Place the jars on a rack in the canning pot with boiling water and cover the pot. When the water in the pot returns to a boil, boil for 10 minutes for half pint jars and 15 minutes for full pints.
- Turn off heat, remove jars from pot and allow them to rest undisturbed on counter top for six hours or overnight.
- Preserved jam will keep for up to one year in a cool, dark place.
- If you choose to not preserve the jam, it will keep refrigerated for about 6 months in the fridge.
Vanilla - If using vanilla bean, scrapes the seeds out of the bean and put them into the mixture. Then throw the whole bean in too. You'll have to look for the whole bean and remove it once you start canning but it should be pretty obvious!
While I have had success with this recipe several readers experienced problems with it setting up. I consulted an expert canner who sells her products and we've modified the recipe a bit. The bourbon is being reduced before being added to the peach mixture and, while I've been back and forth on the use of pectin, I've decided to continue suggesting it's use. The recipe calls for liquid pectin; however readers have wondered about using dry instead of liquid pectin.
Use two tablespoons of powdered regular pectin for every packet of liquid pectin. The difference in usage is that instead of adding the pectin at the end of cooking like you do with liquid, you whisk the powdered pectin into the sugar before you combine it with the fruit. It responds better when you cook it the entire time and you avoid the risk of pectin clumping that can appear if you try and add powdered pectin at the end of cooking.
My expert's method for preparing jams never uses pectin but it can take a long time to reduce the jam to the consistency expected so we've added it back in. I've tested this method with success and I live at 6,200' altitude. I hope you will try it; it's the best tasting jam I've ever made but it can take some time to get the consistency just right!
I had more than six jars of jam; so I was scrambling to prepare more jars and lids. I would suggest you over estimate and have a couple of extra jars ready.
Also, don't be intimidated by the notion of canning. I am a 'small batch' canner. Meaning I don't have a lot of specialty equipment. I use a large stockpot for the canning process and I've simply bought a trivet meant for cooling cakes to put into the bottom of it to keep the jars stable in boiling water. Before I found them? I put a kitchen towel in the water and it worked too.
Get a jar gripper though and a funnel for the jars; they both do simplify the task of both filling the jars and getting them into and out of the hot water. Most grocery stores have a canning section with any supplies you would need including jars, lids, funnels and jar grippers.