Jam Notes: Maple-Vanilla-and-Peach-Oh-My!



-- Submitted by Andrea Sheaffer

Last fall, I invited 7 friends over for a girls' jamming and canning night. None of us had made jam with pectin before, and we had never attempted to make anything shelf stable. We knew we were good at eating jam, but could we make it?

We decided to try the Maple-Vanilla-Peach Jam from Preserving with Pomona's Pectin, (Pomona's new cookbook -- thank you, Allison and Pomona's, for the sneak preview!).

I supplied the Pomona's pectin, vanilla beans, and snacks. The others brought over the peaches, maple syrup, large pots with lids, and wine for sustenance.

We chopped, mashed, and cooked into the evening. Eight of us were happily packed into my teeny, tiny kitchen talking and laughing as we made the jam.

After we funneled the jam into the jars, we used the water bath method and were rewarded with about 7 pints of delicious peach, maple, vanilla bean goodness. We held our creation in such high esteem that the next day the jam made its debut at a brunch for 30 -- and didn't last long.

I was surprised by how easy it was to make jam. Chopping and mashing the peaches, making the calcium water, mixing the pectin and sugar and stirring it into the hot fruit, ladling the jam into jars, and doing the water bath were all steps I assumed would be difficult. With eight of us joining in, the steps were almost effortless.

A tip: I would recommend using a light-colored maple syrup to keep the peach color as bright as possible.

I think an excellent recipe and good company were the key factors in our successful Pomona's jam endeavor; and I think we can all honestly say it was the best jam we've ever made!

Want to try it for yourself? Get the recipe here.


Did You Know?

You can pair strawberries with cranberries or tomatoes for a rich, yummy, deep-red jam -- even when your strawberries may not be so colorful. More and more, the varieties of strawberries available in the supermarket, and sometimes even the farmers' market, are white inside, giving a paler strawberry jam than our imaginations would like.Try Strawberry-Cranberry Jam or Strawberry-Tomato Jam to get the color you crave. We've tried and perfected both of these low-sugar recipes and highly recommend them. (Pictured above is Connie's photo of Strawberry-Cranberry.)Remember that in the February Jam Notes, Connie suggested getting some fresh cranberries and freezing them? Now's the time to get them out and use them!


Puts the Spotlight on a

Pomona's Jam Maker

Chris Wilson, LunaGrown

One of the most surprising and delicious jams ever contains all of the fruits you see in the picture below. It is called Rica Barreja, which means "Wealthy Blend" in Spanish. And it is only one of Christopher Wilson and LunaGrown's incredible flavor combinations. 

Photo by Christopher Wilson

Although not certified organic, Chris grows chemical-free and "environmentally conscious" fruit on his farm in the Hudson Valley (Cuddebackville, NY) and uses it in his jams. He is a man of numerous talents: farmer, jam maker, musician.

Chris recalls how he found Pomona's Pectin: "Of course I have worked with other pectins and just never cared for the restraints those products come with. When deciding to make my own jam and open a business, the question was how to improve on what was available. I had to consider taste, but also nutrition, cook time, and the audience.

All my research led me to Pomona's Pectin. I didn't have to worry about the exact balance of sugar and then wait until morning to make sure it set; I could control cooking time and sugar content; I could use other sweeteners. It was the pivot I needed to start my company with a solid product that fit who I am as a jam maker."

Chris is working on a book, Beyond the Bread, full of creative ideas for both using and cooking with jam. Meantime, he is generously sharing with us his recipes for Chocolate Berry Jam (including Tips for Jam, Picnics, and Bees!), Berry Lemonade, Baked Brie, and Homemade Jam Butter.  Click on each recipe individually, or get them all here.

For more about Chris and his yummy low-sugar jams, visit his website and read his blog. LunaGrown jams are not available to purchase on the internet yet, but if you live in the Hudson Valley, you can find them here. And it's only a matter of time until they're available for shipping.

Jam Manufacturers: If you'd like to be in the Jam (S)pot, just let us know. Email info@pomonapectin.com,

Pomona's News
Pomona's is a small, family-owned and run enterprise. Three of us do it all (Connie Sumberg, Mary Lou Sumberg, and Paul Rooney), along with our wonderful packaging and fulflillment partner in Denver, CO, Western Innovations.
Photo: Leena Newcomb. Connie, Paul, and Mary LouOur big news is our re-designed website. We hope you'll take a look. The designer is Jeremy Jones, pictured below. Jeremy and his family live in Kirksville, Missouri. As a Pomona's user, he responded to our survey in February 2011 and commented that he'd love to re-design our website. We were intrigued. So, on their drive from the San Francisco Bay Area to Greenfield, Massachusetts in May 2011, Paul and Mary Lou stopped in Kirksville to meet Jeremy, his wife Michelle, and their two children, and to discuss working together.We liked what we saw -- clean, simple, and beautiful design (Jeremy is also a coder, a photographer and an artist) -- and we were impressed with his skill level and his ability to communicate. We hope you'll like the results of our collaboration as much as we do. You can check it out here. And if you want to know more about Jeremy, you will find him here.
Jeremy Jones, our web designerJust a reminder: we worked with Jeremy on re-designing the Directions/Recipe sheet that comes with each box or bulk bag of Pomona's. Our goal was to make the Directions a little easier to read and more comprehensive. Look for the changes, including color, in the pectin you purchase this summer. Or find the new Directions/Recipes on our new website. 

Ben, Allison, and Ian

Meet Allison Carroll Duffy & Family

Allison, the author of Preserving with Pomona's Pectin, talks about herself and the process of developing and testing recipes.

What inspired you to write Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin?
When I first learned of Pomona's, I was really excited to try it out. As a Master Food Preserver, trained through the U. of Maine Cooperative Extension, I loved the idea of making jam with lower amounts of sugar and having the flexibility to use honey and maple syrup – two of my favorite sweeteners.  So, when I was approached by Fair Winds Press to write a book of Pomona’s recipes, I knew I wanted to take it on. The project aligned perfectly with my personal viewpoint and what I was already teaching and writing about – the importance of making jams and jellies with low quantities of sugar or alternative sweeteners, and how to do that using Pomona's Pectin.  

What was it like for you to write Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin?
Well, I certainly could not have done it without the unwavering support of my husband Ben and two young sons, Connor (age 6) and Ian (age 4). I developed, tested, and re-tested recipes. And then Connie and Mary Lou reviewed them all. Some recipes I developed came out just as I'd hoped the first time,  while many others I had to change, tweak, and re-test multiple times to get them just right. By the time I was done, I had made and canned probably somewhere close to 350 jars of jam.

My two young boys were surprisingly understanding of my busyness, and my husband Ben was tremendously supportive – and didn't seem to mind too much that our kitchen, with all the jam-making going on, was often a chaotic mess.  It was an intense and often trying period, but I loved the work, and it was totally worth it. 

         Connor showing off the jam

Read the rest of the interview.

Check out Allison's blog: Canning Craft.

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin is available now in bookstores everywhere as well as online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Find additional online sellers or independent brick &mortar stores here. For countries other than the US and Canada, click here.



Tales from
the Jamline . . .

Rrrrring! goes the telephone. "How do I make jam with NO SWEETENER AT ALL?" asks the caller.

Please take note: We don't recommend making jam or jelly with absolutely no sweetener. The final product is likely to be kind of tart and rather bland. Sweetener, even in a very small amount, really helps to bring out the fruit flavor.

If you want to try it, however, this is what you do: For 4 cups of mashed fruit or fruit juice, use either 1/2 cup (if you're using 2 or 3 teaspoons of pectin) or 3/4 cup (if you're using 4 teaspoons of pectin) of boiling water to dissolve the pectin in a blender. Bring the water to a boil; put it in the blender; add the correct amount of pectin. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the pectin is completely dissolved. Add the liquid pectin to the boiling fruit or fruit juice mixture, which should already contain calcium water and lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar (if called for).

To use the very smallest amounts of sweetener, you can go as low as 1/3 cup sugar or honey for 2 teaspoons of pectin. The minimum for 3 teaspoons of pectin is 1/2 cup sugar or honey. And the minimum for 4 teaspoons of pectin is 3/4 cup sugar or 1/2 cup honey. Six teaspoons of pectin in 1 cup sugar or honey is doable; 8 teaspoons is the absolute limit.

If you want to use less sweetener than outlined above, be sure to use the method for dissolving the pectin in boiling water. Once the liquid pectin is stirred into the boiling fruit mixture, you can add as little sweetener as you want.


Wondering What's Ripe in Your Area?

Epicurious.com has a Seasonal Ingredient Map. When you go to the map, just click on your state and the month and you can see what is likely to be available at your local Farmers' Market. Yay! for  Farmers' Markets -- great places to get your fruit!


Fair Winds Press, publisher of Preserving with Pomona's Pectin, will be running a giveaway for the book. The giveaway will include a box of Pomona's Pectin and a jar of jam made by Allison Carroll Duffy from a recipe in the book. The giveaway will go from June 5 to June 19. Look for it on their three blogs: Quarry SPOON, Craftside, and Whole Home News. Each blog features a different jam recipe excerpted from the book!

We at Pomona's will also be giving away several copies of Preserving with Pomona's Pectin over the next few months. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for details.


We Love Your Feedback!

Let us know what you think of Jam Notes. Are there jamming-related topics you would like to read more about? Do you have a recipe for jam, or anything else you make with Pomona's, to share?  Email info@pomonapectin.com and Happy Jamming!

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