Ensure you use really ripe peaches for this – or indeed any peach jam recipe. If the fruit is too hard it won’t cook down in the sugar and you will end up with hard pieces of fruit, not a luscious glossy jam. Peaches in late spring do tend to be firmer as they won’t have seen much sun. Even if you buy firmer peaches, be sure to leave them out to ripen on a sunny window sill or place them in a paper bag, which speeds up the process.
Makes 7 x 220g jars
- 1.5kg ripe peaches, halved and stoned
- 5 early fig leaves, torn into pieces
- 900g caster sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
Cut each peach half into quarters and place in a preserving pan with the fig leaves. If the peaches are not super soft, add a splash of water to help them break down. It might help to place a lid on the pan to speed up the cooking process. It’s really important that the peaches are cooked through before you add the sugar, so test them by piercing with a knife to check for softness.
Once the peaches are soft, add the sugar and lemon juice and cook until the jam reaches setting point, 105°C/220°F on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes before pouring into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately.
Store in a cool dark place.
Innovative chef Lillie O’Brien is founder of London Borough of Jam, the capital’s only shop dedicated entirely to jam.
Recipes and photographs are from Five Seasons of Jam by Lillie O’Brien, with photography by Elena Heatherwick, published by Kyle Books, RRP £20.