Saffron Peach Jam

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By this time of year, our shelves are well-stocked with jam.  We’ve been making it all summer: Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry.  Rhubarb, cherry, three kinds of plum.  We eat plenty of jam–on yogurt and oatmeal, in sandwiches, with fancy cheese–and still, we will make it through the winter.  We have plenty of jam.

But it’s hard to stop.  And really, can there be too much jam?  Extra jars make welcome gifts, and I never seem to find myself with much left over when summer rolls around again.So I was happy to spend a day in the kitchen with a box of organic peaches last week.  They arrived on my doorstep courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission (full dislosure: the peaches were given to me at no charge, but the opinion that peaches are great is entirely my own).  We ate one after another after another.  And then it was time to make more jam.

I asked you for your peach preserving ideas.  I browsed the Sweet Preservation website.  I flipped through Mes Confitures.  I couldn’t decide.  So I made some of everything.  I made a sweet, chunky peach jam with a vanilla bean scraped in.  I made a tangy peach chutney with a lot of grated fresh ginger.  And, at Hannah’s suggestion, I made this Saffron Peach Jam.

It’s based on a recipe from The Preservation Kitchen, but it’s a good deal sweeter than the version in the book.  Some people say that saffron tastes spicy, or purfumey, or that it tastes like the sea.  Here it simply provides an earthy, savory counterpoint to the sweetness of the peaches, subtle enough that my six year old loved the jam but intriguing enough that I have gone about my days plotting uses for it.  I’m going to spoon it onto rice pudding and ricotta-topped toast.  I’m going to layer it into my next frittata sandwich in place of the tomato jam.  I’m going to serve it on a cheese plate.  But meanwhile, it’s just been going straight on toast.

There are a couple of things to consider in advance here.  First, you cook the fruit with sugar and saffron and then allow it to macerate overnight–so plan accordingly.  Second, the recipe calls for cooking halved peaches and sending them through a food mill later to remove the skins.  If you don’t have a food mill, I think you’ll be fine simply starting with peeled, chopped peaches and skipping the food mill step later on.  (If you prefer a thicker, more uniform texture than you get from chopped peaches, you can puree some or all of the jam in a blender.)

Saffron Peach Jam (adapted from The Preservation Kitchen): Halve 4 1/2 lbs. peaches (8-9 large) and remove the pits.  Place peaches in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with 5 1/2 c. sugar, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 1/2 grams saffron (about a well-packed Tbsp.).  Bring to a boil and stir until the peaches release their juice (10-15 minutes).  Remove from heat, transfer to a covered storage container, and refrigerate overnight.

Run the peaches and their juice through the coarse disc of a food mill, returning the resulting pulp to your large, heavy-bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil and continue to cook at a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture thickens somewhat.  Fill sterilized jars and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Disclosure: I received a box of peaches at no charge from the Washington State Fruit Commission as part of their “Canbassador” program.  I was not compensated for writing this post.  You can learn more about canning and find many more recipes on the Washington State Fruit Commission’s Sweet Preservation website.  And aren’t these jar labels cute?

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37 thoughts on “Saffron Peach Jam

    1. emmycooks Post author

      I need that. Do you think I could mix applesauce and jam to make fruit leather? My shelves are overflowing with both. I’ve never made fruit leather but a friend recently loaned me a dehydrator and I’ve been getting crazy with it. I think I’m ready. Please advise about the applesauce-jam shortcut strategy?

      Reply
  1. Hannah

    Beautiful photo of the peaches and saffron! The next time I make this, I’ll do the overnight macerating…I was impatient and didn’t plan ahead. Isn’t Preservation Kitchen amazing? I can’t wait to try the butternut squash aigre-doux…I’m already planning Thanksgiving. Delighted you like the peach saffron jam recipe!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Thank you for the recipe recommendation! I don’t know what I think about the macerating time. I mean, it all ends up in the sealed jar, right? And macerates (or at least mingles) there until you open it again which could be months. So even if there’s good science behind the maceration approach, I imagine that you’ll have an excellent flavor experience in spite of your shortcut. :)

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I hope you ate them first. That is, of course, their highest calling. Although if you made jam, you could open a jar next month, and that’s not bad either.

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in keeping a list for next year. It may seem premature, but I’m already looking forward to next summer’s stone fruit!

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I’m glad that you have good local peaches too. That’s a lucky break in life! :) What are your favorite saffron uses? I don’t use it much but have been on a bit of a saffron kick lately and would love some new ideas!

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      It is a lot of saffron! The flavor is intense, and I thought a fun way to experience it (since it’s usually relegated to a background flavor). I worried at first that the big quantity of saffron made it unreasonable to post because of the cost, but then I realized that even after the saffron you come out ahead vs. buying jam in the store, especially a fancy one!

      Reply
  2. hannah

    Love that top photo – perfect. And the jam recipe sounds so good … I have some saffron threads begging for use, and we are in the final throes of stone fruit ecstasy around here … Our pantry is stocked with plum and berry and even fig jams, but peaches … well, here we go :)

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I recently took a little inventory of our jars in the basement as well and–um, let’s just say that our pantry is stocked, too. Now to enjoy it all! :)

      Reply
  3. kristina

    Peaches and saffron sounds really cool together – I’m more used to saffron in savory dishes but I’m really excited to try this out. I might adapt this to a pie filling since I don’t have a food mill.

    (Also, the title of Canbassador is hilarious, love it!)

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      You’d get a different texture, but you could certainly peel and finely chop the peaches instead of using the food mill (I’d peel them before starting). Or peel and mash them. Or blend some and mash the rest. Or–use it as a pie filling. :)

      Reply
  4. Brook Hurst

    Great post Emmy.
    I’ve made just about everything out of peaches….ketchup, BBQ sauce, jams, fruit leather, chutney, etc., but I NEVER thought to pair it with saffron until seeing your tweet this morning. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Hi Brook! No kidding, you have an amazing wealth of preserving recipes on your site! For everyone reading along at home: http://www.learntopreserve.com/ I am definitely going to be looking to you for inspiration–like how come I’ve never made apricot and vanilla infused vodka? Must rectify that. :)

      Reply
      1. Brook Hurst

        You’re a sweetie!
        I meant to respond when I had time, then…well…here I am now. Were you at Foodportunity on Monday? I can’t wait to meet you one of these days :)

  5. Karista

    I saw this come through my email and couldn’t wait to read it! What a fantastic jam. I’m so into jam, they make the best condiments and sauces for fish and meats. And of course tasting a spoonful from the jar :)

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I can’t speak authoritatively about meat, but this is definitely going to be an outstanding condiment on salmon. But my four-year-old also liked it in her PB&J, so I’d say it’s all-around versatile. :)

      Reply
      1. Michelle

        I hadn’t seen that, but it’s great. You know, when I wrote that, I really meant interesting in a good way but afterwards thought, oh no, she may think I meant it in the bad way! But it was too late!

  6. Pingback: On the Tasting Menu: Saffron « Sheila Squillante

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