Making Homemade Jam

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I am not a canning expert. Nor do I play one on TV. But, I have canned a few jars of jam in my time. We enjoy homemade jam as a healthier alternative to storebought.

I say healthier, because I usually make jam without added pectin. This can be a tricky process as pectin is the natural element in fruit that makes jam “gel.” Many fruits, when ripe, don’t have enough pectin to make that gelling thing happen. However, if you add commercial pectin, you have to add a lot more sugar. While sugar is necessary for preservation, I prefer to have less when possible.

(I don’t pretend to know the science. I’ll let someone else explain that.)

Last year I got strawberries and blueberries on a fantastic sale and then went hunting for some jam recipes without added pectin. My search turned up this recipe for Strawberry Jam without Pectin. While it was a little labor intensive with the limes and the apples and all, it worked perfectly.

I must confess that I did try to cheat on my subsequent batches by simply adding chopped apple to my jam. That did not work perfectly. We have lots of lovely berry-apple syrup.

Making homemade jam can be a wonderfully economical practice if you can:

  1. find jars inexpensively
  2. find fruit inexpensively
  3. have time to stew over a hot stove
I enjoy the process as well as the finished product. So, it definitely works for me.
Do you can?

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Saralyn says

    Pamona's Universal Pectin is a citrus (rather than apple) pectin that gels without the need for sugar. I love it for strawberry freezer jam! You can sweeten jam with honey, stevia, maple syrup or fruit juice and it comes out just fine. The only drawback is that the sugar helps in the preservation of the fruit so when I take a jar from the freezer we have to eat it within 10 days or it gets nasty.

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