Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jam Without Added Pectin

If you have many food allergies, chances are good you can't use any of the commercial pectins - although some people have been okay with Pomona Pectin.  Jam is easy enough to make without adding pectin, though, that I just leave it out!  All you need are three ingredients - fruit, sugar, and lemon juice.  And for the most flavorful jams, think small batch and fast cooking.


About 3 pounds soft fruit, stone fruit, or berries
Juice of 2 lemons
Sugar - how much depends on how much fruit pulp you get, see below. 
Glass canning jars - 3 pint sized or 7 half-pint
Canning rings and lids

1.  Thoroughly wash and rinse jars, rings, and lids.  Place in a pot, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes.  I just leave these in the hot water until I fill them.

2.  Pit and roughly chop fruit - add to a large pot.  This will bubble up while cooking, so you want lots of room.  Really soft berries don't need to be chopped and with cherries I quarter about 2/3 of them and halve the rest.

3.  Add lemon juice and cook until juices are released - about 7 - 10 minutes.

4.  Remove from heat and measure.  For every cup of fruit mixture, add 3/4 cup of sugar.  

5.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 220 - 222 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  For every 1000 feet above sea level you are, subtract 2 degrees from this.

6.   Remove jars from the hot water and fill, leaving 1/4 inch head room.  Put on lids and rings and tighten.  If don't have enough to fill the last jar, just keep the jar in the refrigerator.

7.  Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

About the hot water bath - some people don't use it and their jams are fine, some swear they'll be unsafe without it.  I never used to put my jams through a hot water bath, but these days I do better avoiding needing medical attention so I err on the side of caution.  For more information on how to do a hot water bath, see this pamphlet from Virginia Tech.

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