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What To Do Peach Peels & Pits? Make Peach Jelly!

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in Food & Recipes | 25 comments

Peach Jelly With Vanilla BeanWhen 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.

Spice Up Your Peach Jelly

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.

Tips For Straining The Juice

Canning funnel turned into a juice strainerI 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.

A Personal Decision: Do You Want To Use Peach Pits?

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.

Peach Jelly With Vanilla Bean
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  1. peach pits & peels
  2. water
  3. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  4. 5.5 cups sugar
  5. 1.2 ounces pectin (3 packages of Ball powdered pectin)
  6. 1 Madagascar vanilla bean (optional. split and seeds scraped)
  1. Pour lemon juice in a large bowl. While you are preparing peaches for canning, put peels and pits in this bowl. Toss regularly to evenly coat with lemon juice, which will prevent the peels from browning.
  2. Put peels and pits in a large stockpot and barely cover with water.
  3. Bring water to a boil and boil for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, cover and allow to sit overnight.
  5. In the morning, strain the peach juice through a cheesecloth and squeeze additional juice out of the peels.
  6. Measure 6 cups of juice. Return the juice to the stockpot and add the vanilla bean pod and seeds.
  7. Bring the juice to a rolling boil that can not be stirred down.
  8. Add pectin and stir until dissolved. (Add pectin according to your pectin package's directions. I used Ball pectin, so this recipe follows their directions.)
  9. Add sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time. Stirring until dissolved.
  10. Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean pod. Then, ladle hot jelly into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
  11. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water canner.
  12. Let jelly set for 24-48 hours.
  1. Makes 3.25 pints.
A Green Routine

Nicole knows making small changes for the greener add up over time and hopes you’re inspired to make some changes of your own after reading her articles. She focuses on easy, green, homemade personal products and green living tips for city dwellers. Nicole lives in Pittsburgh, PA and you can find her on twitter at @_nlg_.

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Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Jann Mays

    Problems: 1) You listed 3 packages of Pectin… liquid or powdered? 2) Why didn’t you include lemon juice in your ingredients since it is the first thing listed in the recipe? What if I was ready to start making jelly and didn’t realize I needed lemon juice as well and was out? And, 3) I thought you were making jelly. Re-read your last line.
    Still, thank you for posting a jelly recipe using the peels. My mother used to do that and most recipes I found didn’t make use of the peels.

  2. KAREN

    1.Love your recipe. 2..pits and peels cooking as I TYPE. 3..SMELLS GREAT!

  3. Kristi

    I’ve looked all over and haven’t found an answer so I figured I’d come back here and ask, do you have to let the mixture sit all night or just 8 hours? I mean if you make it in the morning surely you could finish up that evening?

    • Nicole

      What you are trying to do is flavor the water so you have a great tasting jelly. If the water is flavorful after 8 hours then go for it. To help the flavors infuse more quickly you can also try stirring the mixture regularly.

  4. Aly

    I made this recipe a few weeks back- lovely taste and beautiful color. I now want to try it with nectarines but most of the other recipes I’ve seen dont call for hot water canning.
    The only complaint I had about this jelly was that it was a bit thin- now Im wondering if it was the canning that caused that- what do you think?

  5. Angela Willis

    After you boil the peel and pits, how much liquid should you have for the amount of the listed ingredients? And thanks for putting the ounces on the pectin, Some packages have 1 pack and some have 2, or 4. Bought peaches today and can’t wait to try this!

  6. Laurel

    Just found this recipe….can’t wait to try….just a little confused regarding the amount of pectin…the recipes: 1.2 ounces pectin (3 packages of Ball powdered pectin)….I have a box of Sure-Jell pectin…one box is 1.75 oz…so if I use the Sure-jell brand I need less then one box?

    • Nicole

      Hi Laurel, I expect you’ll still use 1.2 oz but you should refer to instructions on the Sure-jell box for the quantity you’ll need. Pectin varies by style (no sugar added v.s. sugar added) and type.

  7. Dian Chapman

    THANKS so much for this. Last year, after making vanilla bean peach jam, I had a lot of peels left. I found a recipe for peach brandy. But after 5 months in the closet, the GRAY slime that resulted was NOT something we wanted to consume. LOL. So we tossed it all, even if a finger taste DID reveal booze. 🙂 So I decided I’d try something else this year with my peels and this jelly sounds great. Gonna give it a shot and THANKS for sharing all your research.

  8. Nathan

    Hi Nicole, I tried this recipe and was wondering if you let the jelly “set” on the counter or in the fridge once it has cooled. I wasn’t sure if it made a difference so I thought I would ask the expert.


  9. kellie hewitt

    Nicole, this is a great idea. Generally, I save all my fruit peels and use them in various ways. I rarely purchase juice, jam or cleansers for the kitchen or bath.. It is just a smart way to use all we have. Thanks for the sharing. kellie

  10. ellen marie kjeidtoft

    My only comment is how did all the jelly makers know how many peaches needed to be peeled?? That requirement must be stated elsewhere??

  11. Nancy

    How many lbs of peaches did you use?


    wondering if I can just use real vanilla instead of a vanilla bean?

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