A Harvest of Peaches and Jam….

Double Farms

For the past couple of weeks, I have been watching as the peaches began to ripen on the three peach trees on Double Farms.  I was especially excited for them to ripen this year because my mother, Pastor Farmer, had promised to teach how to make peach jam.

Back in January, I helped prune these neglected peach trees with my brother-in-law, Farmer Dad and blogged about it – Three Neglected Peach Trees.  As the tiny fruits started to form, my sister, Chicken Farmer, thinned out the peaches.  The result was that the peaches this year were much larger.


My mother came over with a box filled to overflowing with peaches.  You can see what was left when we were finished, above.  I was also happy to have her come over to my house because we have been rather housebound while my son Kai is recuperating from hip surgery, and it was nice to have something fun to do.

canning and making jams

My mother is no stranger to canning and making jams.  She learned much of the process from her mother.  But in today’s age of technology, there is plenty of information online about how to make jam and we did get some great tips that way, which made the process even easier.  We found great information online here.

I am a novice when it comes to canning and making jam, so I was anxious to learn.  First we blanched the peaches (put them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then plunged them into ice water).  It was very easy to remove the skins and then we cut them up into pieces.

canning and making jams

One piece of modern equipment that we used that our grandmothers definitely did not have was a food processor to partially blend the cut peaches.  My mother said that it worked much better then a potato masher which she had used previously.

canning and making jams

My newly graduated daughter, Rachele, had some extra time on her hands and wanted to help.  She poured the peaches into the pot, added lemon juice and pectin and got ready to cook them.

canning and making jams

Her job was to constantly stir the peaches.  A trick that my mother learned was to put a tablespoon of butter in the peaches, to reduce the foam and scum that floats to the top.  It really worked.  Then I added the sugar and we boiled the peaches for 1 minute on high heat.

canning and making jams
canning and making jams

The fragrance from the peaches was just delicious.

Now, came the technical part….putting the jam into the jars without contaminating them.

canning and making jams

My mother bought a canning kit, which came with tongs for the jars, a funnel, a magnet and much more.  She carefully measured the jam until it was within 1/4″ of the top.  Then Rachele and I did the same.

canning and making jams

I realize that I am not in any of these pictures, but I promise, that I was working hard too 🙂

canning and making jams

Rachele carefully wiped the rims to make sure they were clean.  

canning and making jams

Okay, I think this is really cool.  The canning kit included a magnet that you could use to take the lids out of the boiling water, which makes it even easier not to touch them or get your fingers burned.

almost done

We were almost done!

almost done


All of the jars sealed perfectly.  At this point, I was searching for the nearest loaf of bread so I could enjoy our new jam.  

I had such a great time spending time with my mom and daughter and learning something new.  

Now that I have had a lesson in making peach jam, I can hardly wait to make plum jam.  They are almost ripe….

**You can learn how to can and make your own jam.  The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a great website with step-by-step tutorials.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
34 replies
  1. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, The peach jam looks absolutely delicious and I only wished that I lived near enough to be able to purchase a jar or two.

    How wonderful that you can harvest such an abundance of fruit from your own trees. This is indeed luxury.

    I have been away for some time and have obviously missed learning of your son's operation. I do so hope that he is now making a full recovery.

  2. Esther Montgomery
    Esther Montgomery says:

    I don't think I've ever tasted peach jam.

    My mother used to tell us about a house part of her family once owned in Cornwall. Apparently, they had grown peaches there. It seemed very exotic to grow peaches. It still does!


  3. Antique ART Garden
    Antique ART Garden says:

    Good gracious woman are you all industrious or WHAT !!!!??? I am so impressed, wish I had some ! Your daughter is very pretty, looks like you. By the way, the way to spell voila ( the French term ) , is just how I spelled it,as I spelled it viola, like you did on a blog comment and discovered it was wrong ( tat is the instrument ), Ha! love the post, Gina

  4. Rosie@leavesnbloom
    Rosie@leavesnbloom says:

    yum yum – I've never canned before and it was never a thing I was brought up with though I think my grandmother did it during ww2. It must have been so experience for your daughter. I leave canning to my kind neighbour who makes me jams and chutney in the autumn time when most of our fruits are ripe. I think if my husband had been there he would not have wanted to give you those peaches but he would have wanted to eat them there and then.

    Could you ask your mum Noelle if adding the butter is just for peach jam or can it be done with plum and strawberry aswell as those are the jams that get made for me……… along with crabapple jelly?

    Many thanks

  5. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    Your jam looks so yummy Noelle. It has been so long since I canned anything. That magnet would really came in handy and easier than the tongs.I always loved to see fresh canned fruits and veggies. They always look so pretty in the glass cans. Taste pretty good too. LOL! It is a fun thing to share.

  6. Darla
    Darla says:

    I love canning and now will be on a search for one of those magnets!! Don't you love hearing the 'pop' of confirmation that they sealed?

  7. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Your peach jam looks absolutely divine! I can't wait until our orchard really gets going so we can make our own jams and jellies. Thinning the fruits does make a world of difference. Even on our very young peach tree this spring, I discarded 68 peaches! My husband was horrified. The tree is too young to set too much fruit though, but we still have a few that I hope ripen soon.

    By the way, I think your next post should be home-made bread 😛 Surely home-made jam, deserves home-crafted bread?

  8. Annelie
    Annelie says:

    I read this just as I finished making strawberry-rhubarb compote. Cooking fruits just make your kitchen smell sooooo good, doesn't it. I'm trying to imagine what the peaches smelled like. If you're anything like me, that jam did not get to cool down before you put it on the bread.

    So fun to read about the 3 generation jam session. I enjoyed every part of it. And – that magnet seems really handy.
    I think I believe you when you say you did work too, or??? 🙂

    Also loved the post before on Agave and pups. Loved looking at the step by step and learning. Had no idea about the drying out the pups before planting them, but it makes a whole lot of sense.

    Do you really have an IKEA near by? Or was that a joke? Anyhow, I did laugh.


  9. pamsenglishgarden
    pamsenglishgarden says:

    My mouth was watering all through the reading of this post! Peach jam is my favorite. Thanks for sharing the butter trick. How lovely to do this activity with your mother and daughter!

  10. Kathleen Scott
    Kathleen Scott says:

    There is NOTHING better than home-made jam & jelly. But I've always been scared of my pressure cooker…gave it to Mom last year, finally, after I couldn't use it for fear of it blowing up and splattering goo all over me as it flew to the ceiling.

    So it looks like you didn't have to do the pressure route? How did you get the seal?

  11. Sophia Callmer
    Sophia Callmer says:

    Looks delicious! And it's beautiful that you three generationswomen are making jam together.
    There is a long time before peaches ripens here, not even strawberrys have began.have an nice day/Sophia

  12. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    How nice…three generations in the kitchen. I learned something too…I didn't know about the butter and the magnet to get the lids out is great. Yum…

  13. Ami
    Ami says:

    Not only the jam looks delicious, the activity involving three generations together sure added more fun into it!!!

  14. Finley and Oliver
    Finley and Oliver says:

    How fun, Noelle!! You're welcome to help yourself to some more peaches. It's looking like their days are numbered now. Fortunately, the apples are just about ready! 🙂

  15. arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
    arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Thank you all for your kind comments.

    Gina, thank you for the language lesson…I corrected my mistake 🙂

    Rosie, I believe that butter would work for those jams as well.

    Darla, you are so right…I loved hearing the little 'pops'.

    Curbstone, I think you are right. We only eat homemade bread, so maybe I will do a post on that 🙂

    Annelie, we do have an IKEA nearby – thankfully.

    Hi Kathleen, I am not familiar with the pressure method, but if you click on the link in my post, you will find the recipe we used.

    Liza, you are welcome anytime 😉


  16. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Oh Noelle, you made so many bottles, terrific bonding moments too for three generations. I would like to taste it also with my bread! How is your son now?

  17. Kyna
    Kyna says:

    My grandma canned everything. She makes the most awesome wild cranberry jam…whether you put it on toast or on vanilla ice cream, it's amazing 😀 My mum knows the process and makes things like apple butter. I'm sad that I never learned 🙁 It looks like such a fun thing to do! Great pictures, I enjoyed the lesson! 😀

  18. Rose
    Rose says:

    This jam looks delicious! I spent a lot of time when I was a girl helping my mother put up all kinds of preserves. Only in the last few years have I gotten back into it myself. I agree with your mother–the food processor certainly makes canning easier! But I've never seen a lid magnet like this–now that's a great idea. I always had burned fingers after canning:)

    I'm just wondering, though, if you used any of the peaches for peach pie–my favorite:)

  19. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    Yum, Noelle! I remember when you pruned those trees. It is so exciting to see the harvest pay off. 🙂

    I gave my mom some peach trees as a Mother's Day gift a couple of years ago, and they are producing baby peaches this year for the first time. I've passed along a link to your pruning info for my Dad if he wants to follow the hint. 😉

  20. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    It looks absolutely delicious Noelle. I make raspberry strawberry and cherry jam every year. I've never made Peach jam though.

  21. Janet
    Janet says:

    I used to make Spiced Peach jam every year. The kids and I would go and pick peaches and we would have the jam (one of my favorites) and have cobbler and wonder why I had gained a few pounds! 😉

  22. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Yum! I love peach anything and this jam looks fantastic. I bet it tastes even better.
    I've been making rhubarb/strawberry sauce and even that is so good compared to store bought.
    It's so great to harvest fresh isn't it? Enjoy it for us too. 🙂

  23. Carol
    Carol says:

    What a great gift for your efforts early on Noelle! How fun to share this process with your mother and daughter too. Three generations at work! With a fourth remembered. Oh, I bet those peaches and the jam are delicious! I am sorry I have not been up to commenting lately and have not asked about your son. I hope his recovery is smooth … bless him. I bet he is enjoying that jam! ;>)

  24. Growing vegetables
    Growing vegetables says:

    Why don't I live near by you? Oh I'm missing those yummy Jam! It's a clear demonstration and I think I'm going to buy one of those canning kit. Salute to those women of three generations!

  25. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Looks totally yummy and what a fun and satisfying time for all! I have made pineapple jam, mango jam, orange marmalade and ripe mango chutney. Now you make want to make some jam lol

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