Homemade jam is usually so full of sugar, but it doesn't have to be! Using Pomona's Pectin, one can make a low-sugar, honey-sweetened, or fruit juice-sweetened homemade jam. This particular pectin comes from citrus peel. The jelling is activated by calcium water (mono calcium phosphate) which comes with the pectin. It is so easy to make jam from all of your freshly picked fruit of the season. Making and canning jam is one of the great ways to preserve the harvest!
Last year I experimented quite a bit with some of the hundreds of pounds of fruit we harvested. I made an awesome Vanilla-Plum Jam sweetened with coconut sugar, a Honey-Sweetened Blueberry Jam, Spiced Peach Jam made without pectin and with sugar, Blueberry-Lemon Jam made with a small amount of pureed unripe, immature apples as the pectin source (unripe apples are high in pectin), a tart Italian Plum-Agave Jam, and Cherry-Peach Jam sweetened with grape juice concentrate. Let me tell you, homemade jam makes for many wonderful Christmas gifts!
My recipe is barely adapted from the very detailed directions and variations given in the package of Pomona Pectin. You should be able to find this particular pectin at your local co-op or health food store. I use a blender (Vita-Mix) to quickly mash my fruit. Not so it is pureed, just ground up and still a little chunky. This recipe is for strawberries, raspberries, cherries, currants, and gooseberries. You'll need to add a certain amount of lemon juice for other fruits. Follow the directions that come with the package. The two jams pictured here are Strawberry-Honey and Strawberry-Raspberry-Black Currant-Honey. For the later, I used equal parts of the three fruits.
8 to 10 cups prepared fruit (hulled, rinsed, stems removed) = to 6 cups mashed, ground-up fruit
1 tablespoon calcium water*
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon Pomona Pectin
Boil your jars and lids in a large pot. For this recipe I use five 12-ounce jam jars. Turn off heat and let them stand in hot water until you are ready to use them.
Fill your Vita-Mix to the brim with your fruit. Pulse and blend until you have 6 cups of ground-up, slightly chunky fruit. Pour into a large pot. Add the calcium water. Stir well. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, mix one cup of honey with the one tablespoon of pectin. I use a fork to do this. Add honey-pectin to boiling fruit and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Bring back to a boil for a few more minutes.
Carefully lift your jars out of the pot with a pair of tongs, empty out any water, and set onto a towel on your counter. Pour jam into each jar, leaving about 1/4-inch of space at the top. Wipe any excess from the rim using a moist clean towel. You need to make sure the rim is completely clean so you get a good, solid seal. Lift the lids from the hot water with the tongs and place onto the jars. Screw on lids. Place jars into a boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on counter. After 24 hours all lids should have sealed. They usually seal within the hour. You'll hear a loud "pop." Please refer to the post I did last year on How to Make and Can Applesauce for detailed photos on the canning process.
*The Calcium Water is made by mixing the powdered calcium with water. Directions are in the package.
Pictured above is my recipe for Oatmeal-Banana Pancakes spread with the Strawberry-Raspberry-Black Currant Jam. The pancake recipe is in the cookbook! :)