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It's Time to Pick a Peach

Failed peach jam turns into a delicious glaze for grilled chicken.

Peaches are versatile and can be used in sweet and savory applications.

Every summer, I end up with pounds and pounds of peaches.  Most of them end up as canned peach halves or are turned into jam to be enjoyed over the winter.

There are two types of jam that a home cook can make easily: freezer jam and cooked jam.

Freezer jam is simply crushed fruit, sugar and pectin stirred together. Freezer jam has a softer consistency than the cooked, canned variety, but has a fresher, more vibrant taste. The jam is put into freezer safe containers and stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Cooked jam also consists of crushed fruit, sugar and pectin. This mixture is boiled, jarred and processed in a hot water bath. If the jars seal properly, the jam can sit on the pantry shelf for up to two years, depending on the expert asked.

I am a fan of Certo liquid pectin for all jam applications. The results are consistent and the directions found in the package are simple. I have used that brand for over twenty years and have typically had good results, with the exception of peach freezer jam.

Unfortunately, my peach freezer jam turned out grainy. Unlike berry freezer jam, the sugar in the peach freezer jam did not completely dissolve. Not wanting the jam (and all my hard work) to go to waste, I came up with a recipe where the peach freezer jam was cooked (this allowed the sugar to dissolve) and created a peach based sauce.

You can use homemade jam (freezer or canned) or store bought peach jam for the following recipe and the results will be the delicious. The farm stands and grocery stores around O’Fallon and St. Peters have homegrown peaches and jalapenos readily available. Try , , , or  for locally-grown produce at its finest.

If you have never had good balsamic vinegar, it is worth a quick trip into St. Charles to . They carry a wide array of vinegars and olive oil at great prices. The balsamic I purchased there reduced to a sweet syrup that enhanced the grilled peaches perfectly.

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Peach Glaze

Serves four

  • 8 ounces peach jam
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled to your preferred doneness

Combine the jam, jalapeno, mustard, garlic and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer for five minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, grill chicken breasts via your preferred method. In the last three minutes of cooking, brush breasts with a bit of the peach glaze.

Serve the chicken with the remaining peach glaze as a condiment or simply pour the glaze over the chicken breasts and serve.

Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Vinegar

  • 4 ripe peaches cut in half and the pit removed
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • Basil leaves, chopped for garnish
  • Preheat grill on low for about 10 minutes.

Put the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and simmer for about five minutes, or until the vinegar is reduced by 1/3.

Place peaches, cut side down on your grill grate and grill 10 minutes or until the peach flesh is soft.

Drizzle the reduced vinegar over the peach halves and serve.

Carolyn August 14, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Patti, I am hoping to find a tested recipe for jalapeno jam or jelly. Are you planning to try this in the near future?
Patti Baratta August 14, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Carolyn, I have yet to find a published recipe for jalapeno jelly that is satisfactory. However, over the past two summers, I have tweaked a recipe to the point where I think the third try will be the charm! My jalapenos are going crazy, so look for the recipe in the next few weeks (I am just waiting on my bell peppers to catch up)!
Stacey K. August 16, 2011 at 02:49 AM
I love your peach jam!!!
Patti Baratta August 18, 2011 at 07:23 PM
I was just in contact from somebody from Wind Ridge Farm. I never realized, but they have already picked peaches for sale also. http://www.windridgefarm.net/crops/crops.htm
Carolyn August 19, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Patti, will be looking for that Jalapeno jelly recipe. Thank you.

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