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 and lemon. Enjoy this peach jam spread on your morning toast, swirled into yogurt, or spooned over 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.
A light maple syrup will help preserve the peach color in the jam and add a mild sweetness to the peaches rather than overwhelm.
Use a pure vanilla extract of your choice to add a sweet and vanilla-y aroma and flavor to your jam.
How to Make and Can Maple Vanilla 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
- Canning tools: lid lifter, jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Plus basic kitchen supplies such as a large pot, large bowl, small pot, measuring cups and spoons, kitchen towels, 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 Pomona’s pectin box) with 1/2 cup water in a jar with a lid. Shake well and set aside.
You will only need 4 teaspoons of calcium water for this recipe. Store extra in the refrigerator for other canning recipes.
Step 3: Prepare the Canning Equipment
Wash your jars, lids, and canning tools in warm, soapy water and rinse well.
Place the jar rack into water bath canner, set the jars in the canner, add water, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize. Warm your lids in a small pot over low heat. Keep everything warm until you are ready to can your jam.
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 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 roughly or crush the peaches and measure out about 4 cups for the jam recipe.
Step 5: Make the Peach Jam
Combine the maple syrup and pectin powder in a measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan, 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 full boil and begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Once it boils, remove the pan from the heat.
Step 6: Can the Peach Jam
Remove the warm jars from the canner, drain, and line up on a kitchen towel.
Ladle the peach jam into the jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims with a clean kitchen towel, add the lids and rings, and process in a water bath canner.
Let the jars cool, test the seals, label, date, and store the peach jam in a cool, dark location. Refrigerate your jam once opened and consume within 3 weeks.
Maple Syrup Sweetened 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, and canning tools in warm, soapy water, and rinse well.
- Put the canning jar rack into water bath canner, set the jars in the canner, add water, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize.
- Warm your lids in a small pot over low heat. Keep jars and lids warm until ready to use.
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 for the jam recipe.
Make the Peach Jam
- Combine the maple syrup and pectin powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, 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 the jars from the canner using the jar lifter. Drain the water back into the canner and line the jars up on the towel.
- Use your canning ladle and funnel and add the jam to the warm jars leaving 1/4-inch head space at the top of the jars.
- Swirl the bubble popper through the jar to release air bubbles and wipe the rims with a clean, damp towel.
- Use the magnetic lid lifter to remove the lids from the warm water, center the lids on each jar, and screw on the bands until they are fingertip tight.
- Place the jars back into the canner leaving space in between them. Once the jars are in canner, adjust the water level to at least one inch above the jar tops. If you need to add water, use the hot water from the small pot your lids were in. Pour the water around the jars and not directly onto them.
- 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 ft. (adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary).
- When processing time is complete, turn off heat and allow the canner to cool down and settle for about 10 minutes. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter; remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face.
- Use a jar lifter to lift jars carefully from canner and place on the towel. You should hear the satisfactory "ping" of the jar lids sealing. Allow the jars to cool for 12-24 hours.
- After the jars cool, 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 a few weeks.
- Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label, date, and store your jars in a cool, dark place. Use within 12 months. Refrigerate your jam once opened and consume within 3 weeks. Yields about 6-7 half-pint jars.