Peach and Lavender Jam

Jam and Brioche

With the official start of autumn just a few days away I wanted to bid summer farewell with this recipe that epitomizes everything that is wonderful about these last balmy days. There are still plenty of peaches at our local farmer’s market and the lavender continues to bloom in the garden so if you act fast you could still make a batch or two of this jam to stash away for a rainy day.

The peaches have been amazing this year and I have been trying to eat as many of these ripe, late summer beauties as I can. Perched over the sink, peach juice dripping down my hands and off of my chin. I have also been using them in salads with arugula and burrata or grilling them for a simple dessert topped with a dollop of mascarpone cream.

Peaches from the Farmer's market

When I found myself with a bit of a ripe peach surplus after I got carried away at the market I decided it was time to make the annual batch of peach and lavender jam. I have been making this jam for years and the recipe is based on a jar that was given to me by a friend many years ago. It was made by her aunt and I fell in love with the subtle perfume that the lavender lends to the sweet peach flavour. My friend’s aunt would not reveal her recipe so I enlisted the help of my Mom and with a large flat of peaches we peeled, cored and chopped many peaches and tried different ratios of sugar, dried lavender flowers, fresh lavender stems, lemon juice and cooking methods. We used pectin in some batches for others we just slow cooked the peaches to a thick consistency.

Peach jam

Over the years I have shied away from using pectin in any of my jams and just simmer the jams down until they have a consistency that I like. The trade off here is that you don’t have quite as much brightness from the quick cooked fruit but I have come to prefer the more complex and almost caramelized flavour from the longer cooking time.

Lavender for jam

The addition of lavender may strike some as a bit strange, but its role in this jam is one of subtle support, a fleeting ethereal fragrance . The best and most reliable way to achieve this is to steep some dried lavender flowers in boiling water for a few minutes, strain and discard the lavender flowers and add the infused liquid into the peach and sugar mixture.

I have a few lavender bushes in the garden and a couple of smaller plants in pots on my sunny back deck. By mid August, just when the peaches are starting to really ripen, the lavender blossoms start to fade and dry right on the stalks. If you don’t happen to have access to your own plants dried lavender blossoms are often available at the farmer’s market.

Make a few extra jars to give away to your friends and family. Maybe even stash a few away to hand out in the dead of winter. Whenever I spread a bit of this jam on a toasted baguette on a cold, rainy dreary November morning I am immediately transported back to warm and sunny August day. At least for a little while…



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7 Responses to Peach and Lavender Jam

  1. Tracy says:

    We had a rather large lavender plant in our garden this year. It fed many a bee very well. I can still smell it. I imagine the scent along withe slowly cooked peaches would be quite transporting. Enjoy your toasted baguette when the time comes.

  2. What a beautiful jam recipe! I’ve made apple lavender jelly in the past and love the use of lavender. Here’s hoping I find peaches at the market on this rainy morning.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Looks like I’m buying more peaches this week! 😉

    Question, the canning instructions call for pint or quart jars…was that a mistake?
    I’m assuming a 5 minute processing time would be good for a half-pint jar as well…

    The Weck jars look lovely filled with peach jam!

  4. Glenys says:

    I have Russian lavender in my yard, mostly to attract pollinators, but I was told by another chef that culinary lavender isn’t a bright purple variety. Now this confused me because I thought English lavender was the most common variety used for tisanes and cooking. I’ve dried English lavender and it’s never brown. I realise there are varieties meant for their parfum and they’re a bit too heady to eat, but have you heard this Julie?

    • Hi Glenys, I have always used whatever I happen to have growing in the garden either English or sometimes a plant that is labelled “Provence”. Both have worked well. I am not overly familiar with Russian lavender, have you ever used it in cooking? I would think that if a variety was especially fragrant you just might want to experiment with ratios so your jam doesn’t end up smelling like Grandma’s linen closet!

  5. Cathy says:

    I have almost gone thru half the jar you gave me Wednesday…. All by myself

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