Purple Peanut Eater

I have always had a slight curiosity about making jam. Jam holds a special place in the lives of some people, and because of that those people know what the difference is between jam and jelly.

Since I didn’t know what the difference was, I thought I would enlighten myself, lucky you!

  • Jam is a squishy, somewhat homogenous spread where the original fruit is included and remains at least partially intact.
  • Jelly is a cooked fruit juice that has set, with no actual pieces of fruit in it.
  • Marmalade is a balanced combination of clear jelly with pieces of fruit suspended in it.
  • Preserves has fruit that comes in the form of chunks in a syrup or a jam.

Although this special interest in jam-making existed, I also know that a revolt was brewing in America before jam was provided to the mainstream. When cooking something elicits the term “equipment” I forget any and all interest. But when the last issue of Vegetarian Times came, there was a spread on food preserving. One woman makes preserves in her crock pot/slow cooker! I can do that! However I wanted a thicker consistency than preserves so Jon could have his PB&J. Without wanting to buy pectin or gelatin and go into unknown territory, I decided that agar powder would probably do. I know it’s a vegan thickener and I’ve used it in pumpkin pie with success. But finding another person who had enacted the same idea but using blueberries and a cane sugar alternative was a loss. Blueberries are different from say, grapes or apples, since they naturally contain pectin. Keep that in mind when using this recipe; the agar powder may not be necessary if your fruit is naturally high in pectin already.

Blueberry Peach Jam (makes 1 quart)

  • 2 lbs 4 oz fresh blueberries
  • 1 lb fresh peaches (2 good-sized ones), pitted-peeling is optional
  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 3 tsp +/- agar agar powder (omit if making preserves)


  1. Place fruit and syrup in the crock pot and place on High-fastest cook time (mine was 4 hours).
  2. Halfway through cooking, gently stir.
  3. After cooking for 3 hours, add the agar powder and stir it in. If you want yours thicker than mine, use more. (Agar flakes are not the same as agar powder).
  4. When the fruit is done, remove the inner dish and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. I used a stick blender to puree the fruit. You can also use a potato masher if you don’t mind chunky fruit.
  6. Refrigerate and use within 1 week or freeze and use within 3 months.

I think this spread would also be amazing on goat cheese, frozen yogurt or yogurt. If it were a bit more syrupy, it would be great on pancakes or mixed with the crumble crust from the blueberry cobbler.


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About Sarah Hiller

Eco-maniacal! I love learning about food and health, and then sharing! I'm also an aspiring photographer, lover of kale, dogs, yoga, anything fitness, sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and heavy metal. It is my goal to empower and support people through nutrition and attitude. I have an Etsy store you can check out as well www.etsy.com/shop/ironballoon

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