Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Peach Jam

Jalapeno Peach Jam | Will Cook For Friends

Moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches… millions of peaches, peaches for free. Millions of peaches, peaches for me!

If I lived in the south, you can bet my house would have a peach tree. I’d be making peach pie, peach scones, peach cobbler, and yes, peach jam all summer long. And if we were friends, I’d invite you over for a peach party, and we’d sip peach cocktails and eat all things peaches. Life would be juuuuust peachy.

Sadly, I don’t live in the south, I live in Michigan, where peaches are scarce. At least, ripe peaches are. Instead, we have what I like to call “rocks”, which generally require at least a week of sitting around on the counter before being edible, and even then, there’s no guarantee how good they’ll be. I rarely think about moving away from here, but peach season is one that makes me dream.

Jalapeno Peach Jam | Will Cook For Friends

Against my better judgement, I gave in and bought a bushel of these rocks a while back, and set them on the counter to ripen. A week later, to my happy surprise, they had transformed into some of the best peaches this side of Ohio — sweet, juicy, drip-down-your-chin delicious. Maybe my dreams of having a peach party aren’t that far off, after all?

It took every ounce of willpower I had not to eat every last one, but resist I did. Oh yes, I had plans for these.

Jalapeno Peach Jam | Will Cook For Friends

If sweet and spicy are your kind of wonderful, let me introduce you to my new favorite indulgence: jalapeno peach jam. Perfectly sweet preserves, with just enough punch from the jalapenos to make things interesting. Let’s be honest here, we could all use a little more  jalapeno in our lives.

You might be thinking that hot peppers in jam might make it’s uses limited, but that’s where you’d be wrong. That touch of heat makes this the perfect accompaniment to spice up a cheese plate (I’ve been spreading it on toast with brie or cream cheese, and on crackers with cheddar) or just about anything else, for that matter. I am a huge fan of foods that dance the line between sweet and savory, so I’ve also been brushing it liberally over grilled chicken and pork, schmearing it on sandwiches, and having it on toast with my eggs in the morning.

The more I eat it, the more things I think to try. Next on my list: shaking it up in a cocktail shaker with some bourbon and ice. Who wants to come over and taste test with me?

Jalapeno Peach Jam | Will Cook For Friends

Rumor has it summer is coming to an end (it’s still hotter than bacon grease here, how should I know), so hurry up and grab yourself some peaches while you still can. I’m hoping to make one more batch of this jammy goodness before it’s too late, to last me through till next year. Or, at this rate, September or so… who knows.

What’s your favorite sweet and savory flavor combo? I’d love to hear in the comments below. Also, please RSVP if you’re coming to my peach party. I need to know how many cocktails to make.

 Yum

4.7 from 3 reviews
Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Peach Jam
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 8oz. jars
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs (about 7-8) very ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped (you should have about 8 cups of fruit)
  • 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar*
  • ½ tsp. Lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. Freshly grated ginger
  • 3 TBSP (half a 1.75oz packet) powdered pectin
  • 3 jalapeno peppers**
Instructions
  1. Before you begin, place a small plate or saucer in the freezer so you can check the jam's consistency towards the end of cooking.
  2. (Optional), if you plan on canning your jam, bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and cook your (clean and empty) jars and lids to sterilize them. Using canning tongs, remove the jars to a clean dish towel to dry. Keep the stock pot of water at the ready for sealing the jars later.
  3. To peel the peaches, blanch quickly in boiling water (thirty seconds should do), then transfer to a bowl of cool water. This will help the skins slide off easily using just your hands. One peeled, remove the pits and roughly chop the peaches. Place in a large pot or enameled dutch oven (stay away from bare cast iron or aluminum, as the acidity of the jam can react with the metal).
  4. To the pot with the peaches, add the sugar, 2 TBSP lemon juice, cider vinegar, lemon zest, ginger, and pectin. Stir to combine, and let sit for 10-15 minutes to macerate.
  5. Meanwhile, prep your jalapenos. Remove the stems, and cut the peppers in half lengthwise. If you want a spicy jam, leave all of the seeds and veins in the peppers. For a milder jam, remove some or all of the seeds and veins by scooping them out with a spoon. (See recipe notes for more details.)
  6. Add the peppers to the bowl of your food processor, and pulse until very finely chopped, scraping down the sides if needed.
  7. Add the chopped peppers to the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and place over high heat. As the mixture heats up, gently break up the peaches with a potato masher or fork. (If you prefer a smoother jam, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture BEFORE turning on the heat.)
  8. Bring the mixture to a full boil, and let cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from scorching. As the mixture boils, skim off any foam that appears on the surface.
  9. To test the jam, spoon a small amount onto the saucer that's been chilling in the freezer. This will give you an idea of how thick the jam will be once it's cooled. If the jam sets up to your liking, it's done. If it's too loose, cook a few minutes longer and test again. (Once the jam has cooled on the plate, this is the perfect opportunity to give it a taste. Keep in mind that the jam will taste significantly spicier while it's fresh than it will the next day. If you're worried that it is still going to be too spicy, or if it isn't sweet enough, you can add an additional ½ cup of sugar and cook until completely dissolved.)
  10. Once the jam starts to set up to your liking, remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining TBSP of lemon juice.
  11. Carefully ladle the hot jam into your clean jars (a canning funnel is a big help, if you have one) leaving about ½ inch of head room in each jar. Once the jars are filled, wipe the rims with a damp towel to ensure a clean seal, and screw on the lids.
  12. (Optional) if you want to preserve your jam, return the sealed jars to the stock pot of boiling water, lowering them in carefully with canning tongs, and making sure the water is deep enough to cover the jars completely. Cover the pot with a lid and let the jars process in the water bath for 6-8 minutes. Remove the jars and set them carefully onto a clean kitchen towel. Let sit at room temperature, undisturbed, until completely cool. If you're using ball jars, the metal lids should make a “pop” or “ting” sound as they cool, and the bump in the center of the lids should no longer flex when pushed down on, letting you know the jars have properly sealed. If any jars don't seal completely, store these in the fridge and use within a couple months. Jars that are properly sealed can be kept in a cool dark place for up to a year.
Notes
*Living here in the midwest, the sweetest peaches I can come by still pale in comparison to true southern, tree-ripened peaches. If your fruit are especially sweet, you can feel free to start with less sugar, and add more to taste. (Keep in mind that if you plan on canning your jam, less sugar means a shorter shelf life.)

**The heat of a hot pepper is contained (mostly) in the seeds and veins. To control how spicy your jam is, you can leave these in (hot!), or remove some or all of them (mild). I found I really liked the level of heat from de-seeding one of the peppers, while leaving the other two. If you aren't sure how much heat you want, I suggest de-seeding all but one of the peppers, and adjust from there with future batches to find what you like best. (And of course, if you just want some good ol' fashioned peach jam, you can leave the jalapenos out all together. Ain't nothing wrong with that!)

Keep in mind that the jam will mellow considerably over the first 24-48 hours after being made, so don't worry if it seems spicier than you want at first. When I first tasted my batch, it was waaaay spicier than I wanted. The next day? Perfection!

 

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16 Responses to Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Peach Jam

  1. Lan | morestomach August 20, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    not to make you feel bad or sad or envious, but maybe to make you feel like you should probably make your way south east to MD, we went peach picking a few weeks ago. the farmer told us to pick the ones that are still hard as they will ripen at room temp within a day or so. we picked 20lbs. HE WAS NOT LYING. the jewels became perfect within 24-36 hours. i have since sliced and froze quite a bit for smoothies, ice cream and popsicles. but i added good dozen into the fridge to slow down the ripening process and we’ve been enjoying them as is. SO GOOD.
    i really like the combination of peach + jalapeno. i don’t have the equipment to can jam and i don’t have the patience to do much in the kitchen lately anyway. BUT, inspired by this recipe, i’m thinking my next popsicle creation will have the peach + jalepeno combo.

    my fave sweet + savory: watermelon and salt. SO SIMPLE, SO SOUTH. when we lived in thailand a combo that i saw often: pineapple dipped in chili salt. SO GOOD.

    • Willow Arlen August 20, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Okay, that is AWESOME, and I am definitely jealous. I’m not sure I’d be able to control myself if I had twenty pounds of perfect, freshly picked peaches… you’d probably find me huddled in a corner somewhere, stuffing my face and dripping with peach juice like a kid sneaking into the stash of halloween candy. HOW GOOD THAT WOULD BE. Thankfully, it sounds like you have a better handle on it than I would, haha!

      Peach and jalapeno popsicles are a fantastic idea! Now I’m really curious what it would be like to have a spicy popsicle. I might just have to give that a try if I can get more peaches! As for canning, I rarely do the real deal — I included instructions in the recipe for processing your jars, but ninety percent of the time, I just cook the jam, ladle it into my jars, let it cool, and then refrigerate, no special equipment required. :)

      So glad you reminded me of watermelon and salt! I’ve had a major lack of watermelon in my life this summer, and need to grab some before it’s too late. Also, pineapple dipped in chili salt = mind blown. I would not have thought of that, but now it has my gears turning and I’m wondering if it could be made into a cocktail… oh, summer, don’t be over quite yet!

  2. Jennie @onesweetmess August 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

    I so badly want to ship you some ripe, juicy peaches. No one should have to deal with what you call “rocks.” Technically, I live in the south, but Maryland doesn’t really have that southern feel. However, we do have some damn good peaches. This jam sounds amazing. I love a good sweet and spicy combo.

  3. Elise August 31, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    This recipe sounds terrific! How many 8 oz jars can I expect to get from preparing this recipe?

    • Willow Arlen September 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

      Thanks Elise, I hope you make a batch! Mine made exactly eight 8-oz jars.

  4. Eusa October 4, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    Good morning!

    I loved your site. I make a lot food for friends too.
    And I have a channel on YOU TUBE. I love that I do.

    • Willow Arlen October 4, 2015 at 10:31 am #

      Hi Eusa, thanks you! Loving what you do is what it’s all about. Will check out your channel when I have a chance!

  5. Barb August 22, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    I used 2 cups of sugar and even that was a lot. Tree ripe peaches are sweet on their own. Really nice marriage of sweet and spicey.
    I glazed a roasted chicken with the jam – it was OMG delicious.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Willow Arlen August 23, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

      Hi Barb, I’m glad you liked it! There can definitely be a ton of variety in the sweetness of fruit. Many traditional jams are made with equal parts fruit and sugar by weight — this increases the shelf life considerably — but I typically reduce that ratio by quite a bit, because I prefer less sugar when I can get away with it. This recipe uses a little less sugar than traditional jams, but living in the northern midwest those super sweet peaches are hard to come by! I’ve updated the recipe to include a note that you can use less sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit. :)

  6. Sabina September 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

    Willow, your photos are incredible – absolutely beautiful! I just made this jam and oh my! It was delicious! I tasted it like 5 seconds after putting in the jalapenos and it was already spicy and amazing. Thank you for the lovely tutorial!
    I’d love to be one of your lucky friends who you cook for… either I’ll have to move to MI or you’ll need to head west to Utah. ;)
    I also went with only about a cup and a half of sugar with these sweet peaches. Added teeny bits of diced yellow and red bells for color. And I sliced my jalapeno really thin, but left it in circles as I liked how pretty that looked in your pics!
    Thanks again, this was fantastic!

    • Willow Arlen September 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much Sabrina! I’m so glad you liked the jam (what a great idea adding some bell peppers for color, too). I’d be happy to cook for you any time, just let me know when you’re in MI! :)

  7. josh September 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    hey guys i read some of the comments u no if u use the heat from the product it self it will self seal in a mason jar what u do is flip it upside down throw on burner to give a little extra heat after about 30sec just push to the side let time do the rest ull literally hear a random pop at some point i have done this a few times works great

    • Willow Arlen September 21, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, Josh! I’ve heard this method can work, but I’ve also heard that it’s a little more hit-or-miss than the water bath method. Will have to give it a go next time, though!

    • Mia December 4, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

      It’s not considered “safe” canning or a true vacuum seal when you do this inversion method.

  8. Monica September 25, 2016 at 11:40 pm #

    I am not crazy about ginger. Have you made this without the ginger?

    • Willow Arlen October 3, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      Hi Monica, sorry for not replying to this sooner! You can definitely leave out the ginger. It’s such a small amount that it doesn’t taste gingery in the final jam, it just adds a little more spiciness — but absolutely feel free to leave it out, the jam will still be totally delicious!

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