Seasonal Fruit Jams

Emily Luchetti

Big Night Restaurant Group, The Cavalier, Marlowe, and Park Tavern, San Francisco

Chef Emily Luchetti is known for the delicious jams she makes all year and gives as gifts wherever she goes. Her method is tried and true, and incredibly simple. Whether you have an abundance of fresh fruit that you want to preserve, or if it’s squished, bruised, and just past its prime, you can turn it into jam. Luchetti’s formula is using half the amount of sugar to fruit, plus a squeeze of fresh lemon. Her secret to the freshest tasting jam is to make it in small batches so it cooks quickly, which helps preserve the bright flavor of the fruit.


  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and diced peaches (about 5 medium peaches)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Special Equipment: glass jars with metal lids for canning.


Place 4 or 5 spoons in the freezer. In a wide pot, combine the peaches, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fruit starts to give off its juices and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently until jam thickens. The timing will depend on the pot, stove, and type of fruit. To test readiness, remove one of the frozen spoons from the freezer and spoon a little jam onto one of them and return to the freezer. Let sit a couple of minutes and then tilt the spoon. If it is runny, then cook the jam another couple of minutes. You want it to be thick, but not too stiff.

When the jam is done, put in containers and store in the refrigerator. To preserve for longer, can jam in sterilized jars.

To sterilize jars, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and submerge each jar (one at a time) in the simmering water for 5 minutes. Carefully pull out with tongs and set on a clean work space.

Scoop the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving a half-inch of space at the top. Seal with lids and return each jar to the water bath. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then remove.

Place the jars upside down on a dishtowel or counter and allow to cool for several hours and up to overnight. If any lids don’t “pop” and seal, place those jars in the refrigerator. The others can be stored at room temperature for up to six months.

Tip: instead of peaches, use sliced, unpeeled nectarines or plums; whole raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries; or chopped strawberries.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.


1 1/2 cups