Canning FrugalHomemaking

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam
Studies have shown that preserving food by canning is intimidating for 99.9% of people who are trying it for the first time. Okay, I just made that up. I don’t know of any studies, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is an area of homemaking that can be totally overwhelming. Head space? Processing time?! A bubble remover?!? Ack!

Take a deep breath. You can do this, and jam can help. Seriously, it is a great place to start.

Simply chop the fruit, add the sweetener and spices (which can be changed to fit your tastes), stir in some pectin, and simmer until the mixture has thickened into jam. Fill the jars, fit with lids and bands, and slide them into the water for ten short minutes at a rolling boil. Done! And you will have a bunch of bright, beautiful jars filled with summer fruit lining your pantry shelves.

Since you are typically dealing with half-pint or pint jars for jam, you don’t even need a large canning pot. As long as you have a pot that is big enough to cover the jars with 1-2 inches of water with room for the water to boil, you’re good to go!

Last year I made Food in Jar’s Pear Vanilla Jam and fell head over heels in love. Small pieces of fruit swirled with vanilla beans made for the perfect, simple jammy combination. It was my first time using liquid pectin, and I am kicking the boxes of powdered pectin to the curb. Liquid pectin results in a softer jam, as opposed to the firm jam that water bath canning with powdered pectin often produces. This jam tastes more like freezer jam. Who doesn’t love freezer jam?

Pomona’s Universal Pectin (Amazon) will also give you a softer, more spreadable jam, with the added benefit that you can control the type and quantity of sweetener.

This was also the first recipe where I used real vanilla beans. I had seen vanilla beans in the fancy grocery stores where I shop (Costco.), cloaked in secrecy inside their sophisticated slender glass cases. They just seemed to taunt me as I pushed my extra-wide cart through the spice aisle.

I automatically translated “scrape vanilla beans” to “add vanilla extract” in recipes. And I’m pretty sure I am the last person on the face of Pinterest to buy a jug of vodka to make my own vanilla extract. It was clearly time to take action. By purchasing in bulk online, vanilla beans are actually a pretty inexpensive ingredient that add a great boost of flavor and texture.

By the time my 160 pounds of peaches were dwindling down to 20, I was starting to lose steam. I had processed 56 quarts of Canned Peaches and needed a change in my life. I settled on jam, but most of the recipes I looked up involved cinnamon and nutmeg. Those are great cozy flavors to slip into fall, but it was 85-degrees out, I was wearing flip flops, and I wanted something summery and light. I’m high maintenance like that.

Then I remembered the Pear Vanilla Jam. Peaches + Vanilla? Yes.

This jam is beautiful in the jar and delicious on, well, pretty much anything. Because it is softer, it could easily double as sauce on pancakes or ice cream. Go crazy, people. This jam will drive you to it. And if you are new to water bath canning, remember that jam is a great place to get your feet wet.

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam
Inspired by Food in Jar’s Pear Vanilla Jam + Peach Jam
Makes 6 pints
10 c. peeled, chopped peaches
6 c. sugar
2 lemons, juiced
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 packets (1 box) liquid pectin
Fill your canning (or other large) pot halfway with water and place it over medium heat. Wash 6 pint jars and rings; keep jars warm in the dishwasher or canning pot. Put the lids in a small pot of water and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the seals. Add the chopped peaches and sugar to a large pot, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice and vanilla beans (both the scraped beans and empty pods) to the peach mixture. Continue to cook the jam for about fifteen minutes. Add both packets of pectin and bring to a boil for five minutes. Remove bean pods. Turn off the heat under the jam and fill jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims with a clean cloth and apply the lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes (start timing when the water comes to a rolling boil). Remove the jars from the hot water with a jar lifter and cool on a cooling rack or towel. When the jars are cooled, check the seal on the top of the jar.
Are you new to canning? Be sure to go through our Home Canning Guide posts for a beginners guide, equipment suggestions, and recipes!


I purchased these Madagascar Vanilla Beans (Amazon) last year. The price and positive reviews convinced me to purchase these online. They are far cheaper than any local options I found, including my beloved Costco. The quality has been excellent.

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