I was thinking of saving this recipe for the September Can Jam but; who am I kidding? We all know that I couldn’t wait that long. And it gives me the perfect excuse (as if I needed one) to dig in to peaches, plums and nectarines one more time before the season ends.
This is another Michel Nischan preserve (he of Strawberry Rhubarb & Caramelized Onion Jam, Pickled Sweet Peppers and Blueberry, Lemon & Chilé Jam fame) and while, once again, there were some discrepancies between his instructions and my real-world results, I expect the taste will be just as fabulous as all of his other recipes. This was one of those pesky recipes where I had exactly enough jam to fill my jars, so I haven’t actually tasted it yet (and there are way too many open jars in the fridge for me to break into one of these. I love you people, but if you really want to know how this tastes, you need to come to my house and eat up some jam first!). The set looks firm and I can tell you that it smelled fabulous when cooking. And what is more summery than peaches & basil? Eventually I’ll crack one open and report back; but in the meantime, you could make it yourself (maybe, hmm, for the Can Jam!) and let me know how it tastes.
For more stone fruit inspiration, take a peek at Peach Salsa, Peach Cascabel BBQ Sauce, Honey-Spiced Peaches, Peach Butter, Peach Chocolate Dessert Sauce, Pirate Peaches rum sauce, Peach Preserves with Forsythia & Chilé, Spicy Plum Sauce, Local Apricot & Plum Preserves, Roasted Golden Plums with Honey & Sage, and, for those of you lucky enough to still have cherries in season, Preserving Cherries.
Adapted from Summer Peach and Caramelized Onion Jam in Homegrown: Pure and Simple by Michel Nischan
Peach Jam with Caramelized Onion & Basil
- 4 and 1/2 lbs peaches (4 lbs net), peeled, pitted and chopped
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 1 tsp grapeseed oil
- 6 oz red onion (about 1 medium), sliced into strips
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine
- zest & juice of one medium lemon
- 2 tsp fleur de sel (or Kosher salt)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, slivered
- As you peel and chop the peaches, mix in a large bowl with the sugar. Set peaches aside to macerate while you prepare the other ingredients (or use the procrastinaty method and macerate peaches, refrigerated, for up to 3 days).
- Heat the oil in a heavy, medium stockpot or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions slices and toss to coat in oil. Lower heat to medium-low and sauté onions until lightly browned all over, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add wine if onions begin to stick. Sprinkle with pepper and add remaining wine to deglaze the pan; scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- If canning, prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Add the peaches in sugar, the lemon zest & juice and the fleur de sel. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil; continue to boil until the mixture thickens, bubbles thickly and reads about 216 degrees F on an instant thermometer, about 30 minutes. Add basil; stir and bring back to a boil.
- Fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Yields about 5 cups.
- The orginal recipe called for fresh lemon verbena, which I replaced with basil; I love lemon verbena, and am sure it would be fabulous in this recipe, but the truth is it is impossible to find unless you grow your own. No garden this year, so no lemon verbena.
- The original recipe also called for 6 and 1/2 cups of raw can sugar. That seems very excessive for Nischan, who normally does not use a lot of sugar in his recipes. I cut the amount way down, looking for a jam with a more savory note. Taste your jam and your peahces and adjust the sugar according to your taste.
- This was one of those jams that seemed like it would cook forever and never reach 220 degrees. Nischan’s instructions were to “cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thick.” I stopped at 30 minutes and about 216 degress F because I felt like I was over-cooking it; I have to open one to check on the texture one of these days.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year (Nischan says 6 months). Refrigerated, use within 3 weeks.