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Sugar in jelly/jam/preserves question

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm going to start making jelly/jam/preserves/butters here in a few days, and I have the new Ball Complete book of Home Preserving... and it has lots of yummy sounding recipes, but they're ALL just LOADED with sugar (like, 4-8 cups!!)... Can I cut that down by like half and them still work?
post #2 of 8
Not the question you're asking, but I've made a few variations on the mint jelly recipe in that book and I've used evaporated cane juice sugar instead of refined, and it worked just fine with the substitution.

Someone else will have a good answer for you, but I think part of the way the pectin gels has to do with having the right quantity of sugar. But I'm not sure.
post #3 of 8
Simple answer...no. Those recipes are pretty precise because, as phoebemommy said, the sugar is necessary to work with the pectin. Too little sugar, and the pectin won't set up right. You'll have wasted a lot of fruit/juice trying to make a lower-sugar jelly/jam. On the other hand, it's possible you might end up with some tasty syrup, but that would be extremely lucky....
post #4 of 8
You can use the "low sugar pectin". They also have a no-sugar pectin, although I usually add some sugar anyway.
post #5 of 8
Sugar is the preservative for most recipes. I had to figure out what I was doing earlier this year when I made peach jam. I decided to use unbleached sugar instead of the fruit pectin because I did not want to have potassium sorbate or the monocalcium phosphate. I felt sugar was better. Another book to check out is "Preserving the Harvest" by Carol Costenbader.

Happy Preserving!
post #6 of 8
You can substitute the sugar with honey. All of the recipes in Stocking Up III use honey.
post #7 of 8
I use the fruit pectin with the calcium activator. I can do no-sugar and low-sugar jams and jellies with this stuff. I'm not aware of any "issues" with the calcium activator?? Anyway, I love the flexibility that it gives me in how to sweeten my preserves. I can use honey or sugar or alternative sweeteners (not that I want to use sucralose blech, but if I wanted to, I *could*).

But yeah, if you're using regular pectin, you need the sugar because that's what activates the pectin. Another good book is "Putting Food By" which I'm just reading right now. TONS of great info on canning as well as every other type of preserving.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
So as long as I buy the 'no sugar needed' pectin I can vary the amount of sugar as I like? Is that right? If so, yay!!
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