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Canning question

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm a novice canner. I've had initial success at my first two canning projects. The first was fresh blueberries in syrup and the second was peach jam. I would like to try a a cherry-blueberry jam (as I have tons of that fruit right now). But I cannot find a recipe using these berries together in a jam.

How important is it to follow a recipe? The Ball canning instructions stress the importance of using a "tested" recipe. However, I rarely cook or bake by following recipes. I was thinking of trying my own concoction. From what I can tell, most jam recipes are a combination of sugar, fruit, citric acid (ie. lemon juice), and pectin. Would I be setting myself up for disaster and waisting a bunch of fruit? Tips, suggestions, or recipes?

TIA,
S
post #2 of 13
http://www.recipezaar.com/72245

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1723...224201,00.html

Here are some recipes.

Otherwise I don't know the answer to your question.

I'm canning peach/jalepeno jam today.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Great links! They were just what I was looking for, but couldn't turn up. Thanks a bunch.

I also can't wait to try out this one for watermelon jelly! Yum!

http://southernfood.about.com/od/jam.../r/blbb308.htm
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
One more question. What is the difference between liquid and powered pectin? Can they be used interchangeably? The only kind of pectin I can find at the store is powered - Ball, No Sugar Need - variety. Anyone have pearls of wisdom about this stuff?
post #5 of 13
I quickly checked the Ball Blue Book, and it says that liquid and powder are not interchangable. They are added to the fruit mixture at different points in the preservation process, and they contain different levels of pectin.
post #6 of 13
yes, they are not interchangeable and that no-sugar-needed stuff really affects the taste of the end jam.
You don't actually need to add commercial pectin at all. You will get a little less jam, but the resulting product is fruitier.
Sometyhing like this would work really well with a mix of blueberries and cherries. http://mysisterskitchen.wordpress.co...-added-pectin/
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Throkmorton View Post
yes, they are not interchangeable and that no-sugar-needed stuff really affects the taste of the end jam.
You don't actually need to add commercial pectin at all. You will get a little less jam, but the resulting product is fruitier.
Sometyhing like this would work really well with a mix of blueberries and cherries. http://mysisterskitchen.wordpress.co...-added-pectin/
Hmm, my mom told me that pectin keeps the jam from turning dark and helps retain the fruits color. Is this true? I also thought it helped thicken the jam. Am I mistaken?
post #8 of 13
Sugar helps the fruit retain it's color AFAIK. Pectin helps it thicken.

Using a long cook method until it reaches the jelling point should be fine, and if you are worried about the pectin content you can use some apple juice or apple slices. That will also add a little more sweetness. To help retain the color without sugar, you can use something high in vitamin C, like lemon juice... which also boosts the acidity and makes it safer to can
post #9 of 13
Good luck, let us know how you make out. I can often but always use the Ball Blue Book as my guide. I'm too scared not to have a recipe.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, after yesterday's revelations, I was worried that the peach jam I made was no good...I used powered pectin when the recipe called for liquid . Anyway, I opened a can and it was fine and tasted good. Very good in fact. This makes me think that the *precise* recipe is not that important after all. I did boil it for a long time, however, and made sure that it started to thicken before I took it off the heat. I might try blueberry-cherry jam without pectin, since blueberries are naturally high in it. But I think I will use pectin for watermelon jelly...just to be on the safe side.

Thanks for all your help ladies!
post #11 of 13
Peaches are high in natural pectin - I've often made peach jam without pectin - so it could have been a fluke...not sure. But I'm glad it turned out so well!
post #12 of 13
Yeah, watermelon is low in pectin. A commercial pectin product would be in order there.
The added commercial pectins in jam are there to gel it without the long cooking times. The sugar preserves the colour (as does lemon juice, which is high in pectin and will make it gel faster too)
post #13 of 13
I had a pectin disaster (on my 2nd time canning) and will be following recipes for awhile now. I tried to make white wine jelly. The recipe called for liquid pectin, stirred in just before it's poured into jars. I only had powdered pectin, so I just substituted. If I'd done some reading I would've realized that the powdered stuff needs to be added earlier in the process and "cooked" a while. So, my white wine jelly, all sealed up (with wax!) in jars is just as liquid as it was when the wine was in the bottle. I've had them in my fridge ever since - I haven't gotten around to washing out the jars.

It was so sad I will be following recipes for at least awhile. :
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