Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canning jam without pectin

I was eager to find out how I could can jams without pectin because the stuff is expensive. I just got "Ball Complete Book of Home Canning" out of the library and I can't wait to buy it myself. In it, they have a recipe called "Natural Summer Fruit Jams" that rely on a pectin rich apple and lemon puree that thickens the jam without making it too sweet. The puree is made from boiling:

5 tart apples, stems and blossom ends removed and chopped coarsely, cores intact
1 or 2 lemons or limes, unpeeled and chopped fine *

*number and type of citrus depends on the the fruit type, some need more pectin than others

Boil apples and citrus in enough water to prevent sticking for 20 minutes until soft. Force through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon to make 2 cups puree.

Fruit and sugar needed to make different kinds of jams:
  • Blueberry - 4 cups berries, 3 cups sugar, use 1 lime in puree
  • Raspberry - 4 cups berries, 5 cups sugar, use 1 lemon in puree
  • Red Currant 6 cups currants, 5 1/2 cups sugar, use 1 lemon in puree
  • Peach - 6 cups pitted peeled and chopped peaches, 5 1/2 cups sugar, use 2 lemons in puree
  • Plum - 6 cups pitted chopped plums, 5 1/2 cups sugar, use 1 lemons in puree


Add fruit and sugar to puree in a deep pot, bring to a boil and stir frequently over medium heat. Boil for 20 minutes until mixture thickens and mounds up in a spoon. When I made the raspberry yesterday, I stopped boiling it after about 20 minutes. I wasn't sure that I went far enough with the boiling, but I didn't want to overdo it. I didn't see any "mounding up" on the spoon, but the raspberries seemed somewhat set when I ran my finger across the back of the spoon. Earlier this summer, I boiled a no pectin jam that ended up as tough as fruit leather.

Process 10 minutes. Shut off heat on canner and remove lid, and let the jars sit 5 minutes in the water before you take them out. This neat trick prevents the jars from spewing juice out of the lids before they seal like they sometimes do.

This morning, my raspberry jam was the perfect firmness!

17 comments:

Betty Brooklyn said...

Hello. I am very interested in reading some more of your articles. I am just starting a blog on home canning called Canning in Brooklyn. If you would like to become a friend of my blog that would be great!

Just to add a comment to your post here, many fruits, can be made into preserves or jams with no pectin at all. All sorts of citrus, and stone fruits (such as peaches and apricots) as well as apples and pears are incredibly high in natural pectin. I rarely use pectin, mostly only for preserves containing all berries that are super expensive and low in pectin.

It's a well kept secret, but pectin is mostly used as a way to thicken jam without having to reduce it, therefore making it less expensive per jar. However, what you end up with is a less flavorful end result. In general, it is slightly more expensive to can without the use of commercial pectin or pectin substitutes like the ones you mention from the Blue Book.

However, for me, since I am going through the trouble of paying green market prices and spending a day over the hot stove, to begin with, I usually say,((shrug)) "What the hey.".

Maggie said...

I have to give this a try.

I did grape jelly without pectin once. The recipe I had made you pick a lot of unripe grapes for their higher pectin but then it had a ton of sugar in it and I didn't like the finished product. I've also done sour cherry without pectin from a Martha Stewart recipe that works well. It is cooked down a lot. The problem with reducing fruit down that much is that yes the flavor is concentrated but you also get a very "cooked" taste. For some fruit that's ok and others I'd rather taste fresh and uncooked.

This year I bought Pomona's pectin for the first time and just finished processing 24 lbs (!!) of Concord grapes from my father in law's backyard. I used tried both a low sugar and honey recipe from their package. The honey version is more like jello and just doesn't seem like jelly for toast. The low sugar is good though and my husband likes it.

FishMama said...

So excited to have found your site! I haven't canned in five years, but since the price of berries is wonderful here (77 &cent for strawberries and 88 &cent per pint of blueberries, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I love the apple idea. Can I use limes instead of lemons? Also, is a vinegar wash good enough to remove pesticides from the citrus or does it have to be organic?

Mom said...

Thanks for the kind words! I think you need to stick with lemons instead of limes, because the lemons likely have much more pectin in them than limes, because of the thicker peels. I'm no expert about pesticides, so I'll have to defer on that questions about washing. I'd definitely wash them, organic or not!

Jo said...

Hi
Can you please tell me how much of your home-made pectin to use in a typical jam recipe (one that would otherwise require bought pectin). Thank you, Jo

Jo said...

Had the best time today making up enough jam for three glass jars. Used bought plums that weren't sweet enough to eat on their own, some kiwi fruit, paw-paw, apples (with skin chopped in), a banana, sugar, honey and a pinch of salt. It worked beautifully!

Mom said...

@Jo....I do tell you how much fruit you should use in this post.

Miss Bee said...

Hello I really enjoy reading your articles! I need advice on how to make a tasty jam without sugar and with not add out pectin. I understand that would be a much less sweeter jam, but that's ok. thank you

Anonymous said...

I made some hot pepper jelly and did use store bought pectin. The jelly turned out like a thin syrup. Will boiling this down more and re-canning help?

Mom said...

Here's how you can fix your soft jelly: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_07/remake_soft_jelly.html

DeeR said...

How much of the homemade, strained pectin puree do we need per recipe?

DeeR said...

Do we use the two cups of apple/lemon puree to make a batch of jam?

Anonymous said...

It's not really clear if we are using two cups of what is left in the strainer (the puree) or what we strain through it. I'm assuming through it... so does that mean if we have used too much water we should boil it down to two cups or if we have closer to three cups just use two from it? Will two from three be concentrated enough?

Cynthia said...

In cooking terms, the definition of puree is the general term for cooked food, that have been ground, pressed, blended, and/or sieved to the consistency of a soft creamy paste or thick liquid. i.e. it is what has passed through the strainer. If you have quite a bit more than 2 cups, you probably added too much water, so boiling it down would be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

When you say 1 lemon puree do you mean the 5 apples with one lemon or just one lemon alone per jam recipe? Also have you ever used rhubarb in jam or mix with other berries?

Anonymous said...

To avoid the 'cooked' flavor I macerate the fruit in some sugar overnight and drain all the liquid, reduce the liquid to a thick syrup, if more liquid expels from the fruit while the syrup is cooking I add that too. When the syrup is thick I add the fruit; reducing the liquid and adding the solids at a later point seems to reduce the cooking time somewhat and help prevent scorching...

Earth Mama said...

In the old days this was commonly done, and the science was flexible. There's a nack you get handling foods over and over again. You will find out some apples have more pectin from one year than another year, and so you'll work with the ingredients looking for a certain outcome. I think if you have a thin batch one time and want it thicker, you will then tweak how much pulp you use next time, in order to affect the next batch. That is how my grandmother would have done it. My 14 year old is working on making jam from frozen berries at this time...