This Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam proves that there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.
I’d like to formally invite you to a boozy, summer party in the South. It’s called Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam, and it’s happening right inside this mason jar. If your eyes just turned into red hearts, that’s totally normal.
Last month, I made my mom homemade jam for Mother’s Day. Between my stunning sister and her adorable two kids, I’ve got some steep competition in the race for my mother’s love, so I made her this vanilla bourbon peach jam to remind her who her true favorite is.
*hint* ME *hint* *hint*
And if this jam doesn’t win over someone’s love, I don’t know what will. The peach and vanilla go amaaazingly well together with the bourbon coming through at the very end. It’s not overpowering. It just rounds out the sweetness of the peach and vanilla with a subtle kick of bourbon.
I dare you not to stand barefoot in your kitchen and eat this peachy goodness straight from the jar. It’s not like I’ve done that or anything…
Some people are intimidated by homemade jam. There’s a fear that it won’t set properly, and you’ll end up with either a runny mess or an unspreadable brick.
Here’s how I make sure my jam comes out with the right consistency every time.
I test the consistency of my jams early and often.
The setting point for most jam is 220F. At about 205F-ish, I start to test it, even though I know it’s going to be too runny, just to have a base for where the jam is at.
In order to test it, place a small plate in the refrigerator before you even start the recipe. Then when the jam’s at about 205F, scoop out about a tablespoon onto the cold plate. The goal is to get the jam to room temperature to see what it’s final texture will be like.
I don’t like to throw the jam into the fridge or freezer, because it’s easy to over cool the jam and get a bad reading. Instead, I will rub an ice cube on the bottom of the plate to gently cool it down. This sounds so weird, I know, but it works! Since I’ve started using this admittedly bizarre method, my jam has come out perfectly every time.
When it’s cool, smoosh (that’s the technical term) your finger through the jam. If the jam runs back together and fills in the path left by your finger, return it to the pot and cook for 5-10 more minutes and test again. If your finger leaves a clear path through the jam, and it stays that way, then it’s done!
For those of you who like exact numbers, I probably test my jam 4+ times before it’s ready.
If you know you’re nearly at the right consistency and are afraid you’ll overcook the rest of your jam while you test, you can either lower the temperature or take it off the heat entirely. You can always cook the jam more, but you can’t cook the jam less.
Test early and often, use my weird ice cube method to cool down your tester jam, and you’ll always have perfectly spreadable jam that is so delicious you will automatically become your mom’s favorite.
- 30 oz peeled and diced peaches
- 28 oz granulated sugar, about 4 cups
- 1 ½ cup bourbon
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Place a small plate in the refrigerator to be used later.
- Combine peaches and sugar in a large pot and allow to sit for 10 minutes. No heat needed for this step.
- That resting period will pull out the peaches natural juices, so give everything a good stir. Place the pot over medium heat, insert your candy thermometer and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally.
- Once at a boil, add in the bourbon and vanilla. The jam with bubble up rapidly, so be careful. Gently stir everything together and continue cooking.
- You’re aiming to bring the jam to 220F, but start checking to see if the jam has set at about 205F. To test, scoop out about a tablespoon worth of jam onto a cold plate from the refrigerator. You want to bring the jam to room temperature to see what the final consistency will be. You can do this by rubbing a ice cube to the bottom of the plate. With your finger touching the plate, push it through the cooled jam, creating a path through the jam, to see if it’s done. If the jam holds its shape and leaves the path clear it’s ready. Start checking early though because you don’t want overly stiff jam either!
- Once the jam is at your desired consistency, transfer into an airtight container, with the lid off, to cool completely before placing in the refrigerator.