Canning, Pickling, Gluten-free, Vegan/Vegetarian

Vanilla Bean Stone Fruit Jam

Nicoletta September 12, 2018

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Vanilla Bean Stone Fruit Jam: it has been a wonderful harvest of B.C. stone fruit and we are not wanting to waste an ounce of these incredibly sweet, juicy and plump nectarines, peaches and plums. The combination of natural sweetness and some vanilla bean make for a wonderful jam that is pectin-free, made with organic cane sugar, the juice and zest of a Meyer lemon and so easy to prepare. It can be used in many ways including on toast, with cheeses, in pastries.

Song of the day: Hey Now, You’re A Rockstar by Smashmouth.

Vanilla bean stone fruit jam

[This post is #sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop, we’ve been compensated but all opinions are our own]

Winters can be pretty harsh on this side of the world. We miss the longer days, the heat, the outdoor activities, the colorful, flavorful vegetables, and fruits. Canning, preserving helps us keep a piece of summer alive, bring a smile to our face and a spring on our footstep.



This summer, especially, has been incredibly proliferous with fruits and veggies. The local farmer’s markets and our Italian store, The Italian Centre Shop, have still plenty of stone fruit, so we partnered up with our favorite Italian store to enclose summer in a jar, to open up on one of those dreary winter days and bring out a bit of sunshine.

Vanilla Bean Stone Fruit Jam: how hard is it to make jam from scratch?

Not much, I can assure you. If I made it (and I’ve made several jam jars this summer!), you can make it. A few simple staple ingredients, a little bit of time and effort, and you can have your homemade jam, pectin-free.

Vanilla bean stone fruit jam

Look at those gorgeous fruits. Ripe, sweet, plump, and juicy. Perfect to make a good jam. I’ve used peaches, nectarines, and two different kinds of plums, the Italian plums, elongated and dark, and the yellow round plum. For sugar, I used raw cane sugar, then I added half a lemon (I used an aromatic Meyer lemon, that I know I can find at the Italian Centre Shop) and half a vanilla bean, which will add a wonderfully sweet and fragrant essence to the jam. There’s no need for pectin or other preservatives. The use of a citrus zest and juice brightens the jam’s flavor and helps the natural fruit pectin for gelling.

Is all the sugar necessary?

I like my jams not too sweet and I am always wanting to reduce the amount of sugar. Unfortunately, sugar is necessary in order for the jam to gel properly, and also plays an important role in the preservation process that makes the jam shelf stable. So, if you choose to reduce the sugar, know that it could result in a looser jam that won’t gel and also has a shortened shelf life. My ratio is 1 (fruit) : 1/2 (sugar), more or less.

Vanilla bean stone fruit jam

Vanilla Bean Stone Fruit Jam: here we go.

The fruit, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla bean go together in the pot on the stove at medium heat, and on another pot, I have the jars boiling in water to sterilize. There are a few steps to follow, but nothing too complicated, and this ensures your jam will be properly canned.

You can decide how smooth or chunky you want your Vanilla Bean Stone Fruit Jam to be. I use an immersion blender at about half the cooking time. I like to leave some chunks, although here I went a little smoother. Then you keep cooking the jam until a candy thermometer reads 215°F-220°F. But don’t worry, you do not need a thermometer, at about 20-25 minutes your jam has a nice consistency that keeps thickening as it cools. If you want it thicker, you can keep it on the stove for 5 more minutes, stirring and keeping an eye on it.

Vanilla bean stone fruit jam

I like to use the smaller jars for my jams so they won’t last too long once opened in the fridge. Plus, I like to vary my toast and jam in the morning. And I have quite a collection of homemade jams!

Vanilla bean stone fruit jam

This Vanilla Bean Stone Fruit Jam is moderately sweet with a delicious vanilla undertone that blends beautifully with the mixed stone fruit. The few chunks add interest and texture. The aroma calming and bright like a breath of sunshine. We love spreading this jam on our morning toasted bread but we also loved using it in a wonderful back to school treat, that kids and grown-ups deeply enjoyed: jam pockets! Stay tuned for the recipe!

Song of the day: Hey Now, You’re A Rockstar by Smashmouth.

Vanilla bean stone fruit jam

Vanilla Bean Stone Fruit Jam

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 7 x 4-oz (125ml) jars 1x
  • Category: Canning, Preserving
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: International


  • 4 heaping cups (900 g) chopped fruit (I used nectarines, peaches, and plums)
  • 2 scant cups (350 g) cane sugar
  • 1/2 Meyer lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise


  1. Wash stone fruit, peel and cut into cubes.
  2. Put the empty jars in a canning kettle and cover with water. Turn on the burner and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add lids. Place the jars on a baking sheet in the oven at 250° F to dry. Leave them in the oven until you need them.
  3. Stir together stone fruit and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat. Add lemon juice and vanilla bean.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Keep at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, and skimming off any foam that forms on the surface. At about 10 minutes cooking time you can remove the vanilla bean and mash the stone fruit with a masher or an immersion blender (you can decide how chunky or smooth you want your jam to be). Put the vanilla bean back in.
  5. Cook for 10 more minutes, or until the mixture thickens. If you have a candy thermometer, you can check the temperature. A jam is usually ready when it reads 215-220°F and it will keep thickening as it cools, anyway.
  6. Ladle into the hot jars, wipe the rim and seal tight with the lids.
  7. Return the sealed jars to the boiling water bath, and boil for 10 minutes. Take out of the water, let cool at room temperature, then label them, adding the month and year of production.
  8. Store in a cool, dark place, but once opened, keep in the fridge.


The Cook Time does not include the sterilizing of the jars.

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Vanilla bean stone fruit jam

[This post is #sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop, we’ve been compensated but all opinions are our own]

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  • Avatar
    Reply Maria from She Loves Biscotti September 17, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Love the combination of fruits you have used to make this jam. As you say, the sugar in any jam recipe is mandatory… but it should not stop you from making a wonderful jam recipe like this one. As is usually the case, moderation is key. Another wonderful recipe… thanks for sharing Nicoletta:)

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Thank you, Maria! Such a lovely jam, really like a ray of sunshine. So much agree on everything in moderation.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jessica September 18, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Beautiful jam! Love the combination of flavours and that colour is gorgeous!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 19, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you! It is so delicious and also easy to make 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Leanne | Crumb Top Baking September 19, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I love pectin-free jams, and this one looks like a must-try! The addition of vanilla bean is a nice touch!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 20, 2018 at 12:13 am

      Thank you, Leanne! Beautiful flavor with the vanilla bean. How I love making jams!!

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