Preserving Know-how/ Summer

Peachy Keen

Peachy Keen Jam

Peaches have an incredible history here in Ontario. According to “”, in 1797 peaches were harvested at the mouth of the Niagara. By the mid 1780s, Peter Secord, brother of Laura Secord, was the first Loyalist farmer to accept a grant to grow peaches. Although peaches originated in China and were introduced to Europe 2000 years ago, our history is relatively recent. Today, 81% of peaches are sourced from Niagara and 18% from the Okanagan. This year has been a bang-up year for peaches. And who doesn’t love peaches in everything from fresh salads, baked pies or crisps and the options for preserving are endless!

I confess that I am not as adventurous with peaches as I should be. But I do have some peach favorites. I also have to make and freeze my husband’s favorite peach pie!

In the last two weeks, I’ve made a pure and simple Niagara Peach jam (a few batches) (Canadian Living), a fiery peach salsa and peach-ale mustard (Ball). I have also made peach jam from Test Kitchens of America which uses grated Granny Smith apple as the pectin booster. Reading that recipe changed my approach to peaches entirely!

In the past I would go through the process of blanching and peeling the peaches. It’s a labour-intensive process but I thought it was necessary to create a fine jam or condiment. Well, no longer! It is not necessary to peel peaches for jams or the mustard I made. Anything that has a longer cooking time will allow washed with their skins to dissolve into a wonderfully fine texture that has the benefit of enhanced colour from the skins. The moral of the story is, don’t bother blanching and peeling the peaches. If you have a short cooking time, you can always use your immersion blender to quickly blend the peaches, skins into a smooth and silky texture. But most of the time, this won’t be necessary. It’s amazing how well the skins blend into the flesh, unlike tomatoes.

Compliments of both Canadian Living and Test Kitchens of America, here is the pure and simple Niagara Peach Jam recipe.

This is seriously simple and delicious jam. Enjoying the summer and the bounty from Niagara.

For more about peaches and other preserving topics, see my website:

Niagara Peach Jam

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  • 6 cups peaches washed and thinly sliced. Then mash to measure 4 cups.
  • 1 package light pectin (like Certo or Bernardin)
  • 2 TBSP bottled lemon juice
  • 3.5 cups sugar



Prepare peaches and measure 4 cups crushed.


Mix peaches with pectin and lemon juice in a large Dutch oven pot. Stir to combine.


Bring mixture to a boil stirring often.


Once boiling, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Turn off heat, skim if necessary.


Ladle into 250 jars that have been warmed. Leave a ¼ inch headspace. Clean rims and screw on lids and rings to “finger-tip tight”. Process in a boiling water bath or atmospheric steam canner for 10 minutes. Let rest with the lip off the canner for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and let rest.


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