Peach freezer jam is a sweet jam that's made in just a few minutes on the stove top - no pectin required! This recipe makes two 8-ounce cans and can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.
Freezer jam is a condiment made of crushed fruit and sugar that is lightly cooked on the stove top, then stored in the freezer for up to a year. Transfer your homemade jam to the refrigerator when you're ready to enjoy it.
Peach season in the United States runs from around early-May through September, depending on the state. Making freezer jam is the perfect way to use up fresh seasonal produce because it captures that fresh fruit flavor and can be enjoyed for up to a year.
Serve this peach freezer jam over toast for a quick breakfast, add a spoonful to your yogurt, use as an ice cream topping, or add to your morning pancakes. Peach jam can also be added to savory meals - try it on your next grilled cheese or use as a glaze for pork chops.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Peaches - For this recipe, you can use fresh peaches or frozen peaches that have been thawed. You'll want to remove the stems, skins, pits, and then dice your peaches.
- Cornstarch - Needed to thicken your jam. I use cornstarch because I always keep it on hand and I don't need to run to the store just to buy pectin.
- Lemon juice - Helps cut the sweetness of your jam and adds a bright, fresh element. It also helps prevent the growth of bacteria and discoloration. Lastly, it helps thicken the jam by lowering the pH, which reacts with the natural pectin in peaches.
- Sugar - I use granulated sugar for this recipe. In a pinch, brown sugar will work and will give your jam a more caramelized flavor and darker color. Sugar not only sweetens your jam but helps thicken it.
Do I need to sterilize my jars?
Since freezer jam needs to be stored in either the freezer or refrigerator, sterilization of your jars is not necessary.
In canning, sterilization is done to remove bacteria, yeast, or fungi on your jars before filling them with cooked fruits or vegetables. Canned foods are meant to be stored at room temperature for long periods of time, so the jars need to be free of bacteria. Otherwise, the food inside would spoil quickly.
Since freezer jam is stored in the refrigerator or freezer, all you need are regular, clean jars. If you'd like to sterilize your jars anyway, you're welcome to do so.
I am frequently asked about using sugar substitutes in my jam recipes. I have not made any of my jams with sugar substitutes, but a few readers have with success.
Check your sugar substitute's package directions for the correct substitution ratios. Keep in mind that regular sugar helps preserve your jam - jam made with a sugar substitute will not last as long in the refrigerator. Jam made with sugar substitutes may also turn out thin.
How to thicken freezer jam
Freezer jam looking thin? Here are a few tips to help thicken your jam:
- Cornstarch - We're using cornstarch to thicken our jam. Make sure you're not omitting this key ingredient. If your peaches are very juicy, you may need to add a little extra.
- Lemon juice - It's not just here for flavor - lemon juice lowers the pH of the jam, which reacts with the natural pectin found in peaches, which helps thicken the jam.
- Keep cooking - As your jam cooks on the stovetop, it releases steam, which is moisture leaving your jam. Keep cooking and the jam will continue to thicken.
- Sugar - The sugar listed in the recipe also helps thicken the jam. If you're using a sugar substitute or reducing the sugar in the recipe, your jam will turn out thinner.
Freezer jam must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Since freezer jam is not shelf stable, it cannot be stored in your pantry at room temperature.
If stored in the freezer, your jam will keep for up to a year. After a year, the flavor may begin to degrade.
If stored in the refrigerator, your jam will keep for 3-4 weeks.
Peach Freezer Jam
- 16 ounces (454 g) chopped peaches
- 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add chopped peaches, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Stir to combine (if needed, add a splash of water to get the right consistency). Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and gently mash peaches with a potato masher until desired consistency is achieved. Return to heat and cook for another 2-4 minutes, or until mixture has reduced slightly. The mixture should thickly coat the back of a spoon (and will continue to thicken as it cools).
- Remove from heat and transfer to jars, leaving about ½" of space at the top of each jar (jam expands slightly when frozen). Allow to cool completely before adding lids. Store for up to 1 year in freezer, or 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.
- 16 ounces diced peaches = about 4 medium peaches with stems, pits, and skins removed.
- Freezer jam is not shelf stable and needs to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer at all times. Jam will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks in a tightly sealed jar, or in the freezer for up to a year.
- Sugar can be substituted with a sweetener alternative, but please consult your sweetener package for proper ratios (some are more concentrated than others).
- If using a sugar substitute, keep in mind that regular sugar preserves the jam, so sugar-free jam will not keep as long in the refrigerator.