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1.2.3. "Scientific" low sugar Jams


This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker ericnospam@getcomputing.com with numerous contributions by others.

1.2.3. "Scientific" low sugar Jams

From Sandy Fifer : I have a very general formula that works well for
me. First, I check _Putting_Food_By_ to see what the acid content is
for the particular fruit and use lemon juice to increase the acidity
accordingly. (If it's not acid enough [pH 4.6] I add up to 3
Tbsp. lemon juice per 5 cups of fruit.) Second, I use Pomona's
Universal Pectin so that the jelling does not depend on the amount of
sugar used. So, for jam, here's my recipe: (check the Proportions list
for quantities) Prepare fruit: pit cherries, de-stone and remove cores
from nectarines, pears, etc., de-skin by dipping in boiling water if
necessary. Puree fruit--shorter time if you like some lumps (fruit
identity), longer if you like it smoother. Since this is jam and not
jelly it will have body and not be the translucent jell commercially
available. Combine 5 cups of fruit, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, 2T lemon
juice, and use 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tsp. each of pectin and calcium,
prepared according to the package. This yields 4 to 5 1/2 cups jam,
depending on loss during cooking: some fruits foam up (raspberries),
some are thick and spit all over the kitchen while heating (nectarines
and pears). Remember, this is a very general recipe. Also, I like a
minimum of sugar, just enough to bring out the taste of the fruit.

With some fruits I add ginger (e.g. pears) or lemon zest (e.g.
blueberries). I cook the puree until it reaches a full boil--this can
take 10 to 20 minutes depending on how high the heat is and how thick
the fruit. I'm cooking to heat it thoroughly, not to reduce it or
develop pectin. You bring the jam to a full boil. This means that you
stir the puree around and as soon as you remove the spoon all the
puree immediately starts to boil again. At this point there's no need
to cook it further--you can proceed to the pectin step. When it
reaches the full boil, add the pectin, sugar and calcium according to
the directions. You have to experiment to determine how much sugar you
want, and how thick you want the resulting jam. Then I water-bath can
the jam for six minutes. Having brought the jam to a full boil allows
you to process it for such a short time. I believe that if you follow
this recipe you will end up with, at the mini- mum, a really good
batch of jam, even taking into account the variation in tastes. You
might want to tinker with it some to suit your own particular
taste. I've never had an inedible failure. In the beginning I had some
jams that were too thick or thin, but they tasted fine, and I kept
notes and corrected the recipe the following year. I buy high quality
fruit and use it when it's just ripe. I don't care about the cost of
the fruit because it's more important to me to have a delicious
end-product. Using fruit that's moldy or past its prime is a bad
idea. Some mold can survive the canning process. Once opened,
low-sugar jams have a shorter shelf-life than high-sugar com- mercial
jams, even when refrigerated. My raspberry jam lasts about three weeks
(not sure why) and the other fruits last about four to six
weeks. Basically my jam tastes like pureed fruit (in fact to make
fruit sauce for toppings I use the same recipe and just leave out the
pectin and calcium) and is as close as I can come to preserving
summer. ---Proportions, from Sandy Fifer --- I decided to type in my
recipes for all the jams I've made. Remember, these depend on using
Pomona's Universal Pectin, which doesn't require sugar to set the
jam. And one box of Pomona's will last for 3 to 5 batches of jam
(where one batch equals 5 cups of fruit). Pureed fruit Sugar Lemon
juice # tsp. *each* of Optional pectin & calcium Strawberries: 5
c. 7/8 c. 2 Tbsp. 2 tsp. Raspberries: 5 1/2 c. 2/3 c. 2 Tbsp. 2
tsp. Cherries: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 Tbsp. 1 3/4 tsp. Marionberries: 6 c. 3/4
c. 2 Tbsp. 1 3/4 tsp. Blueberries: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 Tbsp. 1 1/2 tsp.
lemon zest Peaches: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 Tbsp. 2 tsp. Plums: 5 c. 3/4 c. 2
Tbsp. 2 tsp. Apricots: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 1/2 Tbsp. 2 1/4 tsp. Pears: 6
c. 1/2 c. 2 1/2 Tbsp. 2 1/2 tsp. 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated Yield: 4
to 6 cups of jam, depending on conditions.


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