Small-Batch Peach Vanilla Jam

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A delicious and easy small batch peach jam recipe, made without pectin and with a bit of vanilla.

Even if you aren’t typically a jam maker, this small-batch peach vanilla jam might just change your mind. With fresh peaches plentiful and cheap right now, you can make a small quantity of jam (just about 2 cups) that can be refrigerated and used right away or even frozen to use later. No need to fuss with all that canning paraphernalia.

(Of course, if you don’t mind the canning routine, this is a lovely jam to “put up”. To make a larger batch, simply double or triple the recipe and follow your normal canning routine.)

I used vanilla bean paste in my jam. Have you tried it? I love it and often use it to replace vanilla extract or pods in recipes. There’s just something about those vanilla flecks in cupcakes, frosting … or jam. Of course, you can also use scrapings from a vanilla pod as well.

Peach Vanilla Jam
Peach Vanilla Jam on cream scones

Cook’s Notes:To quickly and easily remove peach skin, cut an “X” in the bottom of the peach, blanch the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer to an ice water bath. Once cool enough to handle, it will be easy to peel the skin off.


The Recipe

Peach Vanilla Jam
 
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A small batch peach jam with vanilla, made without commercial pectin. This recipe will yield only about 2 cups of jam as it's intended to be refrigerated and used in the short term. The recipe can be doubled, if you'd like to make more and/or properly preserve it for later use. This jam is made without commercial pectin, relying on lemon juice and seeds to provide natural pectin, so it's never going to be a really firm jam. If you cook it to the correct point though, it will be plenty firm enough.
Author:
Recipe type: Jams
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. ripe fresh peaches (about 8 small peaches), peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice + all the lemon seeds from a whole lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pat of butter (can omit, it just supresses the foaming of the jam)
  • Small piece of cheesecloth and string
Instructions
  1. Have the container or jar(s) you'll be refrigerating your jam in clean, dry and handy.
  2. Prepare peaches and juice a fresh lemon, reserving all the lemon seeds. Place all the seeds from the lemon into a piece of cheesecloth and secure into a pouch with a piece of string.
  3. Place prepared peaches, sugar, vanilla bean paste, 2 Tbsp. of the fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a pat of butter and the pouch of lemon seeds into a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. If you like, you can mash your peaches with a potato masher at this point, to break up any large pieces. Lower heat slightly and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until it reaches the gel point (224° F. on a candy thermometer). This will take around 10 minutes or so. Alternately, if you don't have a thermometer, you can place a saucer into the freezer when you start preparing your jam. When you want to test if it has reached the gel point, remove from the freezer and place a small puddle of jam onto the cold saucer. With your spoon, push against the middle of the puddle of jam. If it "wrinkles" and leaves a path when you run your spoon through it, it's ready. If it doesn't (it's still liquid, runs back together after running your spoon through it), cook a little longer and test again until it does. REMOVE LEMON SEED POUCH AND DISCARD before putting jam in jars.
  4. Spoon hot jam into prepared jar(s) or container(s). Allow to cool slightly, cover with lids then refrigerate immediately. Jam can also be frozen in freezer jam containers. *Do not store at room temperature unless you have used properly sterilized jars and sealed via a hot water bath.
  5. If you want to preserve your jam for longer storage at room temperature, a hot-water bath sealing method is required to remove any air in the jars and to ensure proper jar sealing.
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15 Comments

  • How serendipitous! I just bought some vanilla paste today while on a marathon shopping trip with my sis. I have read about it, but had never seen it to purchase until today! I do like the small batch that this recipe makes. I’ve never seen lemon seeds in a jam recipe before. What do they impart to the recipe? Intriguing! Thanks so much- I’m going to try this one, lemon seeds and all!

  • Hi Betty. I hope you enjoy the jam and you’ll love using that vanilla bean paste! I realized last night, as I was falling asleep, that I didn’t actually say in the recipe to take the lemon seed pouch out of the jam at the end of cooking. I’ve included that now, just in case! Apparently those little lemon seeds are packed with pectin, so it helps the jam set without commercial pectin.

  • This sounds delicious! I am going to try it out tomorrow, however I was thinking of omitting the butter. Can you tell me what the function of the butter is? Just for flavor or does it have a role in the way the jam forms.
    Thank you!
    Sarah

  • Hello Sarah. The purpose of the butter is to reduce the foam that often forms from the boiling process. You can easily omit it, if you’d prefer. When your jam is done, if there is some foam, simply skim it off with a spoon and dispose of it before putting into your jar or container.

  • Also, if you are anywhere a Williams-Sonoma the paste is $16CAN and since you don’t have to pay shipping so it’s the cheapest local option if you can hit the store in person. :) Great Recipe!

  • I made this last summer (in fact, I ended up making 2 double batches). It was the hit of the season! This has to be the best jam I have ever had. Smeared on some freshly baked bread…YUM! It made it into all my Christmas gift baskets and was raved about by everyone. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

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