When planning to can honey spiced peaches this year I also wanted to develop a plan for using the leftover peels and pits, so I decided to make vanilla peach jelly. Fruit peels often contain a lot of pectin so jelly is an obvious choice when trying to figure out what to do with them.
An internet search revealed an extensive list of peach peel and pit jelly recipes, but none were specific enough for me. I’m new to canning and even newer to using pectin so I need the details that most recipes left out, such as how much pectin to use (most said 1 package, but that is not a measurement), head space, processing time, and how much jelly to expect from the recipe.
So I ended up doing a lot of reading and research on jelly making to cobble together this recipe and, thankfully, it works! Since I ended up with 52 ounces of delicious peach jelly with vanilla bean, and I only had to spend $3 on the pectin to make it, I think this recipe is a total winner and I hope you do too.
Traditional peach jelly is delicious, but I decided to add the extra vanilla bean I had from making blueberry jam with vanilla bean last week. The vanilla bean enhances the fragrance and flavor profile, but the black vanilla bean seeds will be visible in the otherwise translucent, light orange jelly.
If you don’t want flecks in your jelly, but still want to spice it up, you could thinly slice an inch or two of fresh ginger and tie it in a cheesecloth. Add the ginger to the initial boiling of the peaches, let it sit in the water overnight, and keep it in during the second boiling.
I wanted my jelly to be as clear as possible to show off the vanilla bean seeds. Since my metal strainer wasn’t fine enough to remove all the tiny peach bits, I rigged up my canning funnel to be a juice strainer.
To do the same, double up your cheesecloth and cut a piece large enough to cover the bottom of the funnel. Use an elastic band to secure the cheesecloth around the bottom of the funnel. Pour your juice through the strainer, one cup at a time. When the funnel starts to clog with peach bits and it’s difficult to get the juice to flow through, turn the funnel upside down in your sink and backwash it with running water.
As an added bonus, my funnel handle fit snugly under the handle of the pot to create a hands-free strainer.
Like the seeds of many fruits, peach pits contain trace amounts of cyanide. Although it would take massive amounts of peach pits to produce enough cyanide to poison a person, this could be a valid concern for parents of small children or those with multiple exposure sources. I’m noting this fact so you are aware and may choose to leave the peach pits out of your jam if you have concerns about it.
My decision was to use only the whole pits because when the hard out covering of the pit remains in tact, it’s unlikely to release cyanide.