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)
- Place fruit and syrup in the crock pot and place on High-fastest cook time (mine was 4 hours).
- Halfway through cooking, gently stir.
- 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).
- When the fruit is done, remove the inner dish and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.
- I used a stick blender to puree the fruit. You can also use a potato masher if you don’t mind chunky fruit.
- 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.