Peach Saffron Preserves

Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori Avey

Although commonly believed to have originated in Persia, peaches actually came from China, where they were a symbol of immortality as early as 550 B.C.E. They were introduced to America during the colonization of the New World. Eventually they began growing wild in areas of the American South, Southwest and Mexico, which led botanists to incorrectly suppose that the fruit was native to the New World.

The two most common peaches we see today are clingstone and freestone. Clingstone peaches are better suited to processing since the flesh of the fruit “clings” to the pit or stone. Freestone peaches separate cleanly and are great for eating fresh or using in baked goods, like tarts, when appearance is important. It has been said that Queen Victoria served fresh peaches wrapped in cotton cloth at the end of each meal.

I recently purchased a book called The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux by Paul Virant and Kate Leahy. It’s a terrific resource for home preserving. In the book I found a recipe for Peach Saffron Preserves. I am a big fan of saffron (see more recipe ideas below) and had never thought to combine it with peaches. The saffron brought out a lovely earthy flavor in the fruit and gave it complexity. I adjusted the sugar to taste and added a touch of salt and cinnamon, which took the whole concoction in a slightly exotic direction.

Don’t overwhelm these preserves with sugar; they’re best when made subtly sweet, allowing the saffron flavor to shine. I eat it by the spoonful. It’s lovely on whole grain toast or served alongside a nutty cheese. Enjoy!

More Saffron Recipe Ideas

Saffron Rice

Spring Green Pasta with Saffron Cream Sauce

Dairy Free Saffron Scalloped Potatoes

St. Lucia Saffron Buns

Recommended Products

Food Mill

The Preservation Kitchen

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Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori Avey

Peach Saffron Preserves


  • 3 lbs peaches, pitted and quartered
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp saffron threads (be sure to use good quality saffron)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

You will also need:

  • Large saucepot, food mill
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time:
Servings: 3 pints
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Combine peaches, sugar, lemon juice, saffron threads and salt in a large sauce pot.
  • Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori AveyCook over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium low and and cook for 30 minutes. Taste the mixture; add additional sugar to taste, if desired. Some peaches will be less sweet than others and require more sweetening, however don't add too much sugar or you'll overpower the subtle saffron flavor.
  • Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori AveyRemove from heat and process the mixture through a food mill. Be sure to turn the handle in both directions so that you get the most of out your fruit.
  • Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori AveyReturn the mixture to the sauce pot and add cinnamon. Bring to a boil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori AveyAllow preserves to cool and transfer to jars or a container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
  • Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori AveyIf you'd like to process your preserves in jars for a longer shelf life, follow the boiling water method instructions and process for 10 minutes. For instructions, click here.
  • Peach Saffron Preserves - Summer Recipe for Seasonal Peach Jam with an Exotic Twist by Tori Avey

Comments (44)Post a Comment

    1. Donna, I like the texture from the food mill and haven’t tried it with a food processor. I think you could, but I wouldn’t over-process the mixture– you want it to have some texture. Also note that the food mill strains out some of the skin from the mixture, whereas the food processor would include all of the skin which would change the texture a bit. Probably no big deal, just giving you a heads up. :)

  1. I’ve been going nuts doing something similar BUT different. I’ve basically have been making fruit butter,, and I’m on a huge nectarine kick. Which is good, because it couldn’t be simpler. Especially since the nectarines don’t have to be peeled. Just chunk them up, throw them in the blender or food processor for 10 seconds to chop them up. Into a crockpot for an hour on high, then on low with a spoon under the lid so evaporation can occur. 6-10 hours later (with occasional stirring),, Voila!! It’s been delicious stirred into my oatmeal!

    I’m just waiting for peaches to come on sale and if I’m lucky apricots! (those would have to be peeled first!)

  2. Tori, thanks for the recipe as I love Peach and I even bought Peach wine back from Paris !! It is very hard and very expensive to buy the saffron in Penang. So I may omit it . I will send your recipe to my friends in China as they have plentiful there and very very cheap when in season. As fruits are expensive here, so I seldom cook jam or preserve unless I travel. I saw TV cooking program taught us to boil the boiling preserves into jars at once to the top and crew it tight and place them up side down to cool. She said that by this way, no need to chill it unless you open it. It can last for 1/2 year on shelves. Is it true ?

    1. Hi Rebecca! I’m happy you like the recipe, it will be good without the saffron too. I do not recommend the canning method you described, I know some who do it (it’s considered an “easy” way to home can) but it is not 100% safe and you risk bacteria growth/botulism by doing it this way. To be safer, use the boiling water method I linked to in the post above, it will preserve the fruit without refrigeration and is a much safer way to go.

    1. Hi Bev– saffron has a flavor that is hard to describe, and it really changes based on the recipe and ingredients it is combined with. It’s a very potent spice, a little goes a long way. I’d say it tastes like the scent of a fresh bale of hay, if that makes any sense. That might not sound very appetizing, but when combined with other ingredients the flavor really pops, adding savory depth. It’s magical.

  3. Hurt Me! I am going to the Stonewall TX Peach JAMboree next weekend 6/20-21/2014, and I’ve been wanting to find a good recipe for canning the peaches – this one just might do the trick! I’m excited about the JAMboree – included in the fun will be Throwing Washers, the Peach Pit Spit, and during rodeo intermission that evening, a wild cow milking demonstration! I kid you not, you can’t make this stuff up! Incidentally, the washer throwing is kiind of like horseshoes except the washer is aimed into a hole like golfing. Hey, if man had to go all the way to the moon just to find another place to drive a car, why should we be surprised that they came up with THIS?

  4. Oh my goodness! I am going to have to try this. I make strawberry freezer jam, but that’s about all the fruit stuff I make. Can’t wait to try this. I have never tried saffron, but after seeing your saffron potato recipe, I picked some up at the store. I think this will be my first experiment with saffron. I love how you described it in a previous post, as that would have been my question as well.

  5. Hi Tori! I have made this recipe and it is DIVINE!!! I bought the cookbook Preservation Kitchen when it came out in 2012 and have thoroughly enjoyed the delicious and unique recipes! The photography is amazing. I enjoy this jam with Brie for dessert. Although a spoonful always manages to reach my mouth as soon as it’s opened!

  6. letting the mix macerate and have not yet added the cinnamon or salt. saffron tastes a little overpowering. will that change when cooked? Open to suggestions. will hold off cooking it till tomorrow. thanks

    1. It won’t taste nearly the same after it’s cooked. There is a distinct saffron flavor to the preserves, but I don’t find it overpowering. Try cooking it and see what you think.

  7. Can I leave the peaches at the pre food mill stage? I don t mind if there are some pieces in the preserve. After 30 min. of cooking everything will be soft in any case. Do I have to increase the cooking time if I don’t want to run it through the mill?
    Love your web site. Discovered it today through Zabar’s

    1. Hi Miriam, welcome! If you don’t mind the fruit chunks/skin pieces then it should be fine. You can cook it down a bit more and use a potato masher if you like to smooth it out a bit until your desired consistency is reached. Enjoy!

  8. Wow! I’ve just come across your website and it’s the best I’ve seen! The historical information is great and you make the recipes so easy to follow with beautiful pictures. I’m going to make falafel right away, and the peach preserve, and and and:-)
    Thanks for posting all of these wonderful culinary treats.

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