You read that right.
Normally, if I’m going to post a recipe, I like to do a lot of research on it, and know as many answers as I can to the technical questions that might pop up. I’ll be the first to tell you that I had very little idea what I was doing when I made this, but it turned out great just the same. That, in and of itself, should give some of you comfort.
I have never made jam or jelly before. I have never canned anything.
And yet: yesterday, I made jelly! Out of peach pits and peels, and a little juice.
Here’s how that came to be.
We bought 25 pounds of beautiful peaches and took a couple of days to blanch, peel, pit, slice, and freeze them in gallon ziplock baggies of 3 pounds of sliced peaches each. (They had been sprinkled with some sugar and some lemon juice.) That’s about the amount I thought I would need to make a good peach pie.
One of my online acquaintances mentioned to me that her grandmother made peach pit jelly. Now this intrigued me, as I know that peach pits contain small amounts of cyanide, so I wondered if that could be even safe. So, I googled. And there were several recipes out there for peach pit jelly, and one mentioned the cyanide situation, but fiddle-dee-deed it as being trace amounts, and since so many people had been eating this jelly for years, and the cyanide was only in the kernel that is inside the pits (which I myself have eaten before with no ill effects), I decided not to worry about it, and to actually give making some peach pit jelly a try.
To blanch a peach, you cut an X in the bottom of it, and let it swim in a hot tub of boiling water for one minute. You immediately plunge it into an ice bath, and then the peel slides off.
So when we blanched and peeled all those peaches, I saved their rosy skins and pits, and stored them in the fridge in a ziplock.
A day or so later, I made a peach pie out of one of those gallon baggies of peaches. But there was too much juice in the peaches: it would have made the pie soggy to have added all that juice. So I poured some juice off the peaches into a cup and stuck it in the fridge. It was about a half a cup of glorious peach juice, that I thought I could pour in my pit and peel juice.
The day I made the jelly, I poured some water over the peelings and pits in a big pot. I brought it to a boil. I boiled it for 10 minutes. And I let it steep in that water for about 8 hours. Then I drained it over some cheesecloth, and by the time I added my reserved peach juice, I had about 4 cups of liquid.
I brought it to a boil, added a box plus a tablespoon of low sugar recipe pectin. I added sugar, and about a 1/4 c. of lemon juice, for some acidity, and I brought the mixture up to 220 degrees. (Be sure you use a BIG pot because that stuff likes to bubble up high!) Then I skimmed off the foam, poured it in jelly jars I had sterilized in my dishwasher, leaving about a half of an inch at the top of each jar, so that if I freeze it, it has a little room to expand. I let it cool off a bit on the counter, stuck it in my fridge overnight, and voila! Jelly in the morning, to go with hot biscuits.
So the rule that worked for me was about a cup of sugar for every cup of juice. And I knew one box of SureJell pectin would work for 3 c. of liquid, so since I had 4 c. I added an extra tablespoon full from another box, for good measure.
If you love this idea, but have no peaches at present, why not pin it on your Pinterest board?
- Peach pits and peels from approximately 25 pounds of peaches
- 4 c. water
- 1 box +1 T. Sure Jell low sugar recipe pectin (the pink box)
- 4 cups of sugar
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- Optional: any peach juice you don't use in making a pie (I had about 1/2 c.)
- Blanch, peel, and slice peaches, reserving peach pits and peels in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator.
- If you use 3 lbs of peaches to make a pie, pour off any excess juice and reserve in fridge.
- Sterilize jelly jars and lids in dishwasher.
- Cover peels and pits with 4 c. water, and bring to a boil.
- Let them steep, covered, for approximately 8 hours, or overnight.
- Drain liquid through cheesecloth, and add peach juice to strained liquid. You will have approximately 4 c.
- Pour into a LARGE pot. (When it's boiling with the sugar in it, it will climb high up the pan.)
- Bring peach liquid to boil and stir in 1 package plus 1 tablespoonful of pectin.
- Whisk for approximately 3 minutes, to dissolve any lumps of pectin.
- Add 4 c. sugar, and 1/4 c. lemon juice.
- Boil jelly till it comes to a temperature of 220º.
- Pour into sterilized jelly jars, and seal.
- Allow to cool for a bit on the counter.
- Store in refrigerator or freezer.
- candy thermometer for testing temperature of boiling jelly
- 8 sterilized jelly jars and lids: I sterilized mine in my dishwasher
- large pot
- a canning funnel, for pouring hot jelly into clean jars