Maple-Vanilla And Peach-Oh-My!
Learning To Make Jam Together
When I invited seven friends over for a girls’ jamming and canning night, none of us had made jam with pectin before, and we had never attempted to make anything shelf stable. We knew we were good at eating jam, but could we make it?
We decided to try the Maple- Vanilla-Peach Jam.
I supplied the Pomona’s Pectin, vanilla beans and snacks. The others brought over the peaches, maple syrup, large pots with lids and wine for sustenance.
We chopped, mashed and cooked into the evening. Eight of us were happily packed into my kitchen talking and laughing as we made the jam.
After we funneled the jam into the jars, we used the water bath method and were rewarded with about seven pints of delicious peach, maple, vanilla bean goodness. We held our creation in such high esteem that the next day= the jam made its debut at a brunch for 30—and didn’t last long.
I was surprised by how easy it was to make jam. Chopping and mashing the peaches, making the calcium water, mixing the pectin and sugar and stirring it into the hot fruit, ladling the jam into jars, and doing the water bath were all steps I assumed would be difficult. With eight of us joining in, the steps were almost effortless.
A tip: I would recommend using a light-colored maple syrup to keep the peach color as bright as possible. I think an excellent recipe and good company were the key factors in our successful Pomona’s jam endeavor; and I think we can all honestly say it was the best jam we’ve ever made!
Excerpted from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy
Before You Begin: Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with 1/2 cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint (8-ounce) jars
3 1/4 pounds fully ripe peaches
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons calcium water
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin powder
Wash your jars, lids and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1,000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small saucepan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.
Peel and remove pits from peaches, and then mash the peaches in a large bowl. (See “How to Skin a Peach” tip to the right.)
Measure 4 cups of the mashed peaches (saving any extra for another use), and pour the measured amount into a saucepan. Using a paring knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds and the bean pod itself to the fruit, along with the lemon juice and calcium water. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Bring fruit to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin–maple syrup mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat. Using tongs, carefully remove the vanilla bean pod from the jam and discard.
Can Your Jam: Remove jars from canner and ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1,000 feet above sea level.) Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.
This recipe requires mashed peaches, so be sure that your peaches are fully ripe and soft enough to mash. If they’re not, simply place peeled, pitted, chopped peaches in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Simmer for 5 minutes to soften them, and then mash. (There is no need to drain the water after cooking—simply mash the peach mixture as is.)
How to Skin a Peach
If you are dealing with a small quantity of fruit, slice off peach (or nectarine) skins with a paring knife (pitting and quartering the fruit first). However, if you’re doubling the recipe and are working with a lot of fruit, you may want to blanch them to remove the skins instead. Simply drop peaches or nectarines one at a time into boiling water for about 30 to 60 seconds, then remove and immediately dunk in cold water. You should then be able to slip the skins right off.