Peach pit jelly without pectin?

2ajsmamaAugust 28, 2011

I've seen plenty of recipes for peach jam without pectin, I thought the skins and seeds contained more pectin. I boiled the skins and pits of 15 peaches, got almost 4C of juice, added 6 Tbsp of lemon juice and a quart of mixed ripe and underripe blackberries, 6C of sugar and did the plate test twice (once on the "jelly" from the liquid and half the berries, it set soft, then added the rest of the berries and boiled again, that set on the plate too).

I ended up with syrup (4 jars had fruit, 4 just liquid that hasn't set yet in over 12 hours). I'll call the ones with floating berries "preserves" and I guess I can use syrup, but is there any way to get this recipe to set without using commercial pectin?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You have to be more patient. 12 hours is nothing when it comes to setting.

Many jams and jellies can take up to 6 weeks to set. That fact is often pointed out here by the really experienced jam makers. And it most definitely applies to no-added pectin recipes.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 8:54AM
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Thanks Dave - but the partial jar I put in the fridge isn't set yet either. I hope it doesn't take 6 weeks since I want to sell this before market ends at the end of Sept. Since the plate test worked, should it set, or did processing break a very fragile gel? I can sell it as preserves, I just need it to set a *little* so I don't have peach-blackberry syrup with blackberries floating in it!

I was hoping the quart of blackberries would be enough to get the 4 cups of juice to set, and I used 10C of sugar so pretty close to 1:1 with fruit and juice. 3 oz of lemon juice to add acidity. Was I close?

Next time I might have to add commercial pectin, but I'd prefer not to. Will peach pit jelly *ever* set on its own (as peach pit jam will), or will I always have to add blackberries, blueberries (and let it sit overnight) or perhaps even better, homemade apple pectin? I have to go check for windfalls tomorrow - spent today cleaning up around the house and staking the tomatoes and peppers back up (surprisingly little damage, though 2 squash plants may not make it).

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 4:48PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Jelly is by its nature lower in pectin as generally the pectin comes from the cell walls of the fruit itself. Natural jellies tend to be softer set anyway.

I have a feeling the ratio of peach "juice" to berries to acid is off. I think I would try 2 cups of peach juice and 2-3 T. of lemon juice with the berries. It's still a guessing game, but I'd start low and work up.

It might be interesting the suspend peach wedges in blackberry jelly. That would have a better chance of success.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Thanks Carol - so 2C of peach juice and 2-3T of lemon with a quart of blackberries? So 1) I did too big a batch and 2) too few berries?

Yes, peach wedges in blackberry jelly sounds good - like the recipe for peaches in elderberry jelly. Unfortunately, I didn't grow the peaches and don't have very many blackberries (just a couple quarts frozen left from last year) and elderberries (maybe a pint) left. I had the 4C of peach juice from skins/pits after I used 4 lbs of peaches to make Melly's Peach Vanilla preserves so I figured I'd give the combo a try.

I have to grow the main ingredient in order to sell preserves. Too bad b/c the peach preserves are really good, and pretty in the jars.

The peach juice was so pretty too. I may just make plain peach jelly for us later this week (still have some orchard peaches and the grocery store has non-local peaches for 49 cents/lb this week). Do you think letting the skins and pits sit in a jelly bag overnight would help with pectin, or are peaches just so low in pectin I'll have to use Ball NS stuff? Maybe cook some apples with the peach pits and let them drip? It would help to do the alcohol test next time too.

I was just in a hurry to make the preserves & jelly b4 we lost power, let the peach chunks sit 6 hrs but only let the pits sit in the pot about 3 hrs, then strained through coffee filters. BTW, is it OK to use the skins and the ice water from sprayed peaches (rinsed and scrubbed b4 blacnhing)? Or is it better to just use the pits if they're not organic?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 8:34PM
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That sounds like a lot of juice for just 4 lbs of peaches. Maybe your juice was too watery? FWIW - I got 60 lbs of peaches from my local orchard. I used both the peels and the pits and only got 16 cups of juice. But I just turned it into peach syrup.

I haven't really mastered the art of jam making without commercial pectin. I'm still struggling to get my ratios right with my homemade apple pectin.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:05PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

It's just trial and error, which I know is higher-risk with a commercial enterprise.

Peaches at their best can be difficult to work with. The highest pectin level is in underripe fruits but they lack fullness of flavor and are difficult to peel and process.

For a jelly you're probably better off amending with apple, which at least is neutral in flavor. And yes, I do think the odds improve with more berries and less peach (though then the peach flavor won't really come through).

I have to pass on the issue of the skins and pits because I've never even attempted a jelly with them. Honestly, I wouldn't use skins from conventionally grown peaches. The spray program for peaches is very intensive.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:56AM
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Yes, pixie lou I think you're right it was too watery b/c I used the ice water the skins were sitting in, threw the pits in and dumped it in the pot, brought to a boil. Though I boiled/simmered for hours to reduce the water, I should have drained them.

You use the skins from sprayed peaches? Before I blanched them, I did rinse them under running water and scrub with my fingers as I do b4 eating, but honestly I don't know how much pesticide/fungicide is in the skins, or the flesh for that matter (they have very thin skins and I assume the chemicals penetrate more than say, apples).

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 7:06AM
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Yes - I use the skins. But these are peaches from a local orchard. Not from the grocery store. I wash them first. Then I boil them to remove the skins. I throw away the blanching water. And I use fresh water to boil the pits and the skins.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:11AM
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Our peaches were from local orchard but they spray. How do you "wash" them? Maybe I should have thrown out the ice water (not too much ice left in it) but the skins were already in it so I just threw the pits in too and dumped it into the pot.

I hate to think I wasted my blackberries - do you think this jelly/preserves is really any more "contaminated" than if I had used fresh water? Or store-bought peach jam/jelly? Or eating fresh (sprayed, rinsed) peaches?

Next time I think I will just use the pits (clingstone so plenty of flesh left on them), maybe scrape out the red fibers from the center of the peaches b4 making jam and use those with the pits for making jelly. But throw away the skins (and the blanching water).

It's so hard to try to keep chemicals out of our bodies without spending a fortune, or growing your own. Though I hear peaches are very hard to get a good crop from w/o spraying. I know our "organic" apples are very ugly and spotty, I have to really scrub them to get black spot off b4 cooking though I have no hesitation about eating one right off the tree.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:10AM
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I just wash them in the sink with a squirt of dish detergent and a healthy plop of vinegar in the dish water.

I don't think the jam/jelly is any more contaminated than if you ate a fresh peach with skin. And I think they are definitely less contaminated than the store bought crap.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:23AM
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I didn't know what boiling might do to residues - concentrate or disperse? Guess you're right, Smuckers etc. don't use organic peaches but they probably don't use the skins.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:47AM
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Just looked at Ball Complete book, Peach Juice for Jelly uses the whole peach which seems wasteful unless you can use the pulp for jam? Would all the flavor end up in the juice?

It says "do not overcook, as it reduces flavor, color and the strength of the pectin" but then the only recipe for Peach Jelly uses commercial pectin.

I could do the alcohol test, but since I'm a frugal Yankee ;-) I hate to waste the pulp, it's easier to just use the pits for jelly if I can't use the strained pulp for jam and have to add pectin anyway.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:02AM
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I found an elderly gentleman about 5 miles down the road from me has peaches! I thought he only had blueberries, apples, corn, pumpkins. He sprays for brown rot but nothing else. I guess I have to go back and ask what the fungicide is, but CT Ag Experimental Station found 9 out of 12 pesticides/fungicides will come off under running water (even better if you rub them as you rinse). Detergents don't seem effective (and USDA doesn't recommend using detergents on food - as a farmer I am only supposed to rinse the dirt off b4 selling).

Hopefully the fungicide he uses is one of the ones that's easily rinsed off. And his price was half what the other orchard (big operation) charged! I will forget about getting the 49 cent peaches at the grocery store - who knows what's been used on them (Peaches are one of the "dirty dozen")? $1.25 is fine with me - and next year if I want to buy a lot (though I don't know if I would use 60 lbs LOL) maybe he'll give me a volume discount?

Here is a link that might be useful: Removing residue from fruits and veggies

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:50PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Traditionally jelly is the most wasteful of preserves. When I make jelly I do use the whole fruit and strain it, but then I live in an area where fruit is abundant.

Vinegar in water is about the best rinse/cleaning agent you can find. Obviously, that's not going to help with the flesh but as far as the peel is concerned, it will remove a high percentage of what's on it.

You may be able to get a higher discount with bruised or unsold leftover fruit. That would be fine for your purposes. A lot of farmers are happy not to have to refrigerate or store that kind of leftover stock.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 2:45AM
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