Sunday, February 26, 2012

Peach vanilla jam

For the past two years, the Lunar New Year period always bring about a good bounty of fresh fruits. My family visits the wholesale vegetables and fruits market a few days before the Lunar New Year festivities start, to purchase the requisite mandarin oranges, and a few other fruits that are in season. Cartons of peaches (about 20 peaches in all!), big ripe cherries, strawberries and other various fruits. I would just like to say that the peaches during this period always smell and taste so good. Biting into a ripe peach, plenty of sticky peach juice dribbling down your chin, and the heady peachy aroma that envelops you - I reckon that's as good as heaven can be.

 Peach vanilla jam

I've been waiting for this peach season to arrive so as to make some peach jam. The Sis enjoys the Bon Maman Peach jam quite a bit, and I've never seen it stocked in the local supermarts, thus I decided that homemade is the way to go.

On a second visit to the wholesale fruits and vegetables market, I bought extra peaches. You know, just in case the first case were all devoured already. I couldn't remember if there were enough peaches at home. I mean, they tasted soooooooooo good. I might have had one peach a day for several consecutive days...and I bet my family did the same too. So, the carton of 20 or so peaches could have more or less  disappeared ;)

I reckon it should be quite easy to make fruit jams. I tend to look for recipes that require no pectin (don't see the need to stock it in my pantry since I don't use it on a regular basis). The recipe(s) I decided on in the end just required a few handful of ingredients. I like simple and fuss-free recipes like that.

I only used five peaches, and I got three jars worth of jam in the end. Sweet.

I like a chunkier texture jam, so I diced the peaches as stated in the recipe, but I tried not to mash them up too much while cooking so that there will still be plenty of peach chunks. We've already polished off the first jar of peach vanilla jam, and is halfway through the second jar. Yums. I love making stuff from scratch like that. Am I weird or not? Oh who cares, the two hours or so of slaving labouring stirring the pot over the stove makes me happy. The kitchen smelled simply divine - a peaches and vanilla perfume. And the end results were certainly worth the work.

Breakfast table - Fresh OJ, fruits and peach vanilla jam toast

Peach vanilla jam (adapted from Seasons & Suppers and Tartelette)
(makes about 4 cups - enough to fill 3 jam jars)
1kg ripe fresh peaches (about 5 medium 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

Have the container or jar(s) you'll be refrigerating your jam in clean, dry and handy.

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.

Place prepared peaches, sugar, vanilla bean paste, 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.  Reduce the heat and simmer 1-2 hours until the fruit has taken on a dark orange color and is almost caramelized. Stir every once in a while to prevent the bottom of the jam from burning. 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 the plate 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 cheesecloth pouch from the jam before putting the jam in jars.

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.

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.


  1. Wonderful photos...Lovely peaches! I am ready to make a lot of this jam. I am sharing this with my closest friends. I am sure they will love this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This sounds so gorgeous. I love the colour and I wish I had some for my toast tomorrow!

  3. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)Tuesday, February 28, 2012 2:18:00 am

    Looks awesome.  Just saw it on FG.  Just made hot pepper jelly last week, without pectin.  Love the stovetop jam-making method!

  4. Great post. I am right into making my own jelly.


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