There is no refined sugar in this peach jam recipe. Instead, fresh peaches are sweetened with pure maple syrup and flavored with a hint of vanilla. Enjoy this peach jam spread on your morning toast, swirled into yogurt, or spooned over vanilla ice cream.
It seems such a shame to take perfectly delicious, already sweet fruit and combine it with tons of sugar to make jams and jellies. With regular pectin, the sugar is required in order to get the jams and jellies to gel.
Thankfully, by using Pomona’s Universal Pectin, you can use less sugar and other sweetening alternatives, including maple syrup. Using less sugar or no sugar in jams and jellies lets the true fruit flavor shine instead of an overly sweet taste.
Tips for Making Peach Jam
In this peach jam recipe, maple syrup enhances the sweetness of the peaches without overpowering, vanilla adds a fragrant and slightly floral quality, and the lemon juice brings a tangy note and brightens the flavor of the jam.
Use Ripe Peaches for Jam
Select fresh, ripe peaches that are soft and ready to eat. Ripe peaches will smell sweet and give slightly when pressed with your thumb. If your peaches are still firm, let them sit at room temperatures for a day or two until they ripen. You will need about 3 1/2 pounds of fresh peaches for this recipe.
You can also use canned or frozen peaches to make this jam. Drain the canned fruit from the syrup, or thaw frozen peaches before using.
Pomona’s Universal Pectin
Pomona’s Universal Pectin is the key to making this jam with less sugar. It is a citrus pectin that works different than your typical boxed pectin. It uses calcium powder to gel instead of lots of sugar. You can find Pomona’s Universal Pectin in stores with the canning supplies or online.
Use a Quality Pure Maple Syrup
A light maple syrup will help preserve the peach color in the jam and add a mild sweetness to the peaches rather than overwhelm. This type of maple syrup is often labeled Grade A Amber and Rich Taste.
Use Pure Vanilla
Use a pure vanilla of your choice to add a sweet and vanilla-y aroma and flavor to your jam.
How to Make Peach Jam
In this peach jam recipe, peaches are mashed and combined with vanilla, lemon, and sweetened with pure maple syrup. The jam is poured into canning jars, and processed in a water bath canner. Sealed jars will last about a year when stored in a cool, dark, location.
If you are new to canning or haven’t canned in a while, it may be helpful to review this article on water bath canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
A more detailed and printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post, but these are the general steps for making peach jam.
Step 1: Gather Your Canning Equipment
- Water bath canner and canning rack
- 7 half-pint sized canning jars
- Canning lids and bands (new lids, bands can be reused)
- Canning tools: jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Kitchen Scale
- Small clear jar with a lid for the calcium water
- Plus basic kitchen supplies such as a large pot, large bowl, small pot, measuring cups and spoons, kitchen towels, paring knife, cutting board, slotted spoon, and potato masher.
Step 2: Mix the Calcium Water
Prepare your calcium water by combining 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (from the small packet in the box of pomona) with 1/2 cup water in a jar with a lid. Shake well and set aside.
You will only need 4 teaspoons for this recipe. Store extra calcium water in the refrigerator for future use in other canning recipes.
Step 3: Prepare the Canning Equipment
Wash your canning jars, lids and bands, and canning tools with warm, soapy water and rinse well. Look the jars over carefully, and eliminate any with chips and cracks. Set lids and bands aside until you are ready to use them.
Place the canner on the stove and insert the canning rack. Set the jars in the canner, add water to cover, and simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes. Keep hot until you are ready to fill them.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for preparing the lids. Pre-heating lids is no longer necessary before using, but it is still safe to simmer (180°F) the lids if you want to. Just place lids in the canner while you heat your jars.
Step 4: Peel and Mash the Peaches
Rinse the peaches well under clean, running water. The easiest way to peel the peaches is by blanching them briefly in boiling water and then dropping them into ice water.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Drop the peaches into the boiling water until the skins start to loosen, about 30-60 seconds. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Drain and rinse the saucepan, and let it cool while you prepare the peaches.
Once the peaches are cool enough to handle, remove the peelings and pits. Chop peaches roughly or crush the peaches with a potato masher and measure out about 4 cups for this jam recipe.
Step 5: Make the Jam
Combine maple syrup and pomona pectin powder in a separate bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, add the 4 cups of mashed peaches, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 4 teaspoons of calcium water.
Bring the peach mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the maple syrup mixture and stir to dissolve the pectin. Continue stirring until the jam comes back to a rolling boil and begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Once it boils, remove the pan from the heat.
Step 6: Can the Peach Jam
Lay a dry kitchen towel on the counter. Use the jar lifter to remove a hot jar from the canner, drain, and place on the towel. Keep the remaining jars in the canner, so they stay warm.
Place the canning funnel on the jar, and ladle jam into the jar leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Run the bubble popper through the jar to release any trapped air bubbles. Adjust the headspace again if needed.
Wipe the rim with a damp cloth to remove residue. Center a lid on the jar, add the band, and screw it on until fingertip tight. Place the jar back into the canner, and repeat with the rest of the jars.
Adjust the water level so it is covering the jars by two-inches, cover the canner, bring it to a boil, and process the jars in a boiling-water canner for the time indicated in the recipe below.
Once processing time is complete, remove the jars, and let them cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. After cooling for at least 12 hours, test the seals. Refrigerate any that did not seal.
Wash the jars with warm soapy water, dry, label and date the jars, and store in a cool, dark location for 12 to 18 months. Refrigerate your jam once opened and consume within 3 weeks.
Maple Vanilla Peach Jam
Mix the Calcium Water
- Prepare your calcium water by combining 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (from the small packet in the Pomona's pectin box) with 1/2 cup water in a jar with a lid. Shake well to combine. Set aside.
- You will only need 4 teaspoons of calcium water for this recipe. Store extra in the refrigerator for other canning projects.
Prepare the Canning Equipment
- Wash your jars, lids, screw bands, and canning tools in hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all suds. Set aside to air dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Place the jar rack into water bath canner, place jars in the canner, and add water to cover. Bring the canner to a simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes, and keep the jars hot until you are ready to fill them.
Peel, Pit, and Crush the Peaches
- Rinse the peaches well under clean, running water. Peel the peaches by blanching in boiling water.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Drop the peaches into boiling water for about 30-60 seconds, or until the skins start to loosen. Remove the peaches and plunge them into the bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Drain and rinse the saucepan, and place it on a cool burner while you prepare the peaches.
- Once the peaches are cool enough to handle, remove the peelings and pits. Crush the peaches with a potato masher and measure out about 4 cups of mashed peaches.
Make the Peach Jam
- Combine the maple syrup and pectin powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups of mashed peaches, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 4 teaspoons of calcium water.
- Bring the peach mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the maple syrup mixture and stir to dissolve. Continue stirring until the jam comes back to a full boil and begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Once it boils, remove the pan from the heat.
Can the Peach Jam
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. Remove a jar from the canner using the jar lifter. Drain the water back into the canner and place on the towel.
- Use your canning ladle and funnel to fill the jar leaving 1/4-inch headspace at the top.
- Swirl the bubble popper through the jar to release air bubbles and wipe the rim with a clean, damp towel.
- Center a lid on the jar, and screw on a band until it is fingertip tight. Use the jar lifter to place the jar back into the canner, and repeat with the remaining jars.
- Once all the jars are in canner, adjust the water level so it is two inches of water above the jar tops.
- Cover the canner and bring to boil over high heat. Once water boils vigorously, continue boiling for 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 feet. Adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary (See Notes).
- When processing time is complete, turn off the heat, and let the canner cool down and settle for about 5 minutes.
- Spread a dry kitchen towel on the counter. Remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face.
- Use the jar lifter to remove the jars from canner and place on the towel. Keep the jars upright, and don't tighten bands or check the seals yet. Let sit undisturbed for 12 to 24-hours to cool.
- After 12 to 24-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate the jar and use up within 3 weeks.
- Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label, date, and store your jars in a cool, dark place. Use within 12 to 18 months. Refrigerate your jam once opened and consume within 3 weeks. Yields about 6 to 7 half-pint jars.
You May Also Like:
- Spiced Apple Jelly Canning Recipe
- How to Make Vanilla Extract
- Honey Sweetened Grape Jelly
- How to Home Can Peaches for Food Storage
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