It Ain’t too much to – JAM!

I’m a HUGE MJ FAN and I’m also a HUGE SUGAR FAN and who knew that MJ made a song about jam.  LOL – OK, OK not that jam, but today we shall pretend.  While the tunes are playing in the background let’s make an attempt to produce some jam.  <Geez> I already feel the pressures of MJ falling upon me taking about commit yourself, blah, blah, blah <chuckle>

Soooo I’ve always wanted to try to make my own jam or preservatives.  Why?  In view of the fact that I simply enjoy learning how to make baking related items, I also have to be mindful of limiting my sugar intake, yes which sucks.  So to take on this sugar-free blackberry jam project was nothing but a fun experiment.

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The difference between jam and jelly is jam usually has a thick consistency and is made from crushed fruit while jelly is made from fruit juice and contains no visible pieces of fruit.  Personally jam is the better choice.   

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Now understand pectin is typically used for making jelly, jam, etc because it’s a thickening agent.  It helps form or gel the product.  You can purchase pectin in powder or liquid form at your grocery store or use it naturally, which I wanted to try.  Pretty much all fruits have varied amounts of pectin in them however such fruits like apples, citrus peel and certain plums contain larger amounts of it.  There’s a lot of pectin in the skin of apples so I decided to use that instead of the powder form.  Now remember, I’m trying to avoid using as much sugar so I already knew not using actual sugar or prepackaged pectin was going to make my ending result not as thick as your usual jar of jam.  Also, I’m using blackberries which has an extremely low rate of pectin in them.    I probably was berry off making apple or plum jam for a better thickening outcome.  Well, there’s always next time.  I did this because I was trying to avoid some of the ingredients found in pectin that I didn’t want to take in.  However if you do use pectin, which I’ll consider next time DO NOT stir directly into the cook fruit.  Combine it first with your sugar or honey then add into your fruit mixture.  Why?  It will clump up similar to cooking with cornstarch.

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Sterilizing my mason jars by boiling them on the stove for 10 minuets.  Remove with tongs and magnetic lid lifter and place on a clean towel.

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So I combined my fresh berries and other ingredients.  Brought to a boil then dropped heat down to med/low and cooked berries for 30 minutes while mashing them.   (The longer the cooking, the thicker the jam)  Remember, because I didn’t use any sugar or prepackaged pectin mine did not come out as thick, but I knew that in advance.  I transferred fruit into my sterilized mason jars, placed lid and ring on and placed jars back into the boiling water for 10 minuets.   I removed the jars and listened for a “pop” sound from the lid which ensured they were sealed and complete.

My completed jam!  Not bad for a beginner canner.  Something new I accomplished and very proud of myself.

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I would suggest labeling your jarred items with what it is and when you made it.  This helps with keeping track of its shelf life.   Note because I did not use actual sugar which extends shelf life, the lifespan of my jam was shorter.  Store in a dark cool place and leave one in the fridge for use.   Your opened jar in the fridge will last a month-long.  Unopened jars can last an entire year.

 

“If you are going to do it, commit yourself, know your craft and be really involved.”                           –Michael Jackson, August 2008.

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RECIPE:

Homemade Jam w/out sugar

Here’s a recipe from Ashley Eller

6                     pounds strawberries and/or blueberries
3 ¾ cup       honey
1 ½               unpeeled apples, grated
1 ½ TS         lemon juice

And another from Old World Farms

3 lbs             fresh blackberries
1 3/4 cps     honey
2 large        granny smith apples
1 TS              freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

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