Making strawberry jam - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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can I make it without using refined sugar?
Preferably I would like to use honey or maple syrup but I suppose rapadura would be acceptable (my dd eats it like every day so I'm trying to reduce the amount of sugar)
do I need to use pectin if I don't use sugar (in terms of producing a jam my dc will actually eat)?
Is pectin OK or is it some weird chemically stuff (I realize it comes from fruit but I'd like to get the T-type perspective on this stuff)
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#2 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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#3 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 09:14 AM
 
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I make it with dehydrated cane juice sugar and it works out just fine. I dont' see why you couldn't use something else, though you'd probably have to play with the amounts.
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#4 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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i use pomona's pectin, which is a low sugar pectin. it has the least amount of weird things in it than other low sugar pectin.
I make jam with rapadura (sucanat) or palm sugar or half and half. it's yummy.
I use about half the sweetener of regular recipes.
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#5 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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You can substitute up to I think half of the sugar you use with honey but not all. I personally use half of the amount of sugar called for in a standard recipe anyway (and I do use dehydrated cane juice, not white sugar), and it does come out a little bit runnier--and darker--than it would otherwise but my kids like it that way anyway (anyway it's easier to mix in yogurt that way, too). I don't use pectin. The riper the strawberries you use, the less sugar you need to sweeten it (although greener fruit tends to have more natural pectin in it if you're looking for a firmer jam).
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#6 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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I am not a jam expert. I usually make freezer jam, and have done it the traditional sure-jel/tons of sugar way and the Pomona's Pectin/low-sugar or substitute sugar way (last season was my first time). I thought Pomona's was great EXCEPT it does not stay good in the fridge for more than 2-3 weeks. My jam using sure-Jel always lasts for as long as it takes us to use up a container (maybe 6 weeks). Has anyone else had this experience?

I think I will use Pomona's again and use less sugar, but I will definitely use smaller containers. I also need to be careful to wean my family down slowly from the super-sugary jam, because I went too drastically to a low-sugar fruit spread last year and they didn't like it.

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#7 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 06:47 PM
 
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I use Pomona's pectin and honey or sugar to taste. You can make it with zero sugar if you want with the Pomona's. Pomona's is pectin from citrus fruit - and as such gels without the addition of sugar, whereas mainstream pectin requires a proper balance of sugar in order to gel.

I've made jam with sugar, sucanat, honey, artificial sweeteners, or juice over the years. With Pomona's you have to do the gel test to see if your jam is "right", but that's easy. I don't add anywhere near the 50%+ sugar that some recipes call for. I add, taste, add, taste until it's sweet enough for me - the only thing that has really *needed* a lot of sugar was marmalade, it was just too bitter/sour without enough sugar.

And I haven't had any problem with it going bad. I have some in my fridge right now from a batch 2 years ago - and it's been open at least 6 weeks with no problems. I would suspect contamination of some kind (dirty spoon, incomplete seal, etc.).

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#8 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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cristeen, do you can the jam?

I was thinking of canning them

I guess I read that it's able to do jam without pectin but then you need sugar. So I think the sugar acts also as a solidifier? Not sure.

I think I will try the pectin with reduced rapadura. It sounds good. Where do you buy the Pomona? Is it at WF or the like?

Thanks everyone!
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#9 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 09:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jimibell View Post
cristeen, do you can the jam?

I was thinking of canning them

I guess I read that it's able to do jam without pectin but then you need sugar. So I think the sugar acts also as a solidifier? Not sure.

I think I will try the pectin with reduced rapadura. It sounds good. Where do you buy the Pomona? Is it at WF or the like?

Thanks everyone!
Yes, you either have to make tiny batches or you have to freeze it or can it. It won't keep otherwise. I don't do water-bath canning with jam - I just hot pack it and seal.

Sugar acts as a preservative... in pectin free jams you usually cook the fruit down, reducing it until it's a proper thickness. It's very delicious, but it has a different texture than most people in the US are used to - more like a thick syrup.

I find Pomona's at the HFS.

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#10 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I called my local WF and found the Pomona.

What do you mean you hot pack it and seal?
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#11 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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I made strawberry jam twice over the past year using sugar (dehydrated can juice sugar... which is basicly just organic white sugar). The first time I cooked it down for a bit too long and it was super, super thick - like impossible to spread thick, so the second time I didn't cook it nearly as long and it turned out much better - still nice'n thick and jam like but spreadable too You just have to play with it and see how you like it

As for where you can get the various types of pectin, most anywhere should have them this time of year - grocery stores, hardware stores, most anywhere. I do waterbath can mine... I think she means she just heats the jars up and puts the jam in hot and lets them self-seal (called open kettle canning)... its how people USE to make jam/jelly/pickles/etc back in the day, but its not really safe as you could have bacteria in them despite them all being hot... IMO water bath canning only takes a few more minutes and so theres really no reason not to, but whatever
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#12 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:48 PM
 
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when your canning how low can you go on the sugar? because I know it is an important part of the preserving?

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#13 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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when your canning how low can you go on the sugar? because I know it is an important part of the preserving?
With Pomona's you really can eliminate it entirely. It's not very tasty that way, but it'll still work. Artificial sweeteners can be used - and they have none of the preservative properties of sugar. But they definitely have to be canned with vacuum sealed lids with Pomonas.

Conventional pectin jam with it's high sugar content does not need to be canned. My grandmother always heat packed her jam and then poured a layer of wax over the top of the jam which prevents oxidation and mold - but it was the sugar doing the actual preserving.

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#14 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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Lots of good advice here, but I agree that a little sweetener is nice if you can tolerate it.

"Hot packed" means you don't need to boil the jars after you put the jam in them and seal the lids. However, in my experience, hot packing carries a higher risk of contamination.

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#15 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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ball also has a no-sugar-needed pectin that they sell for jam/jellies. I realize people didn't use to can jam/jelly, but they've since changed the recommendations, and IMO its just one of those 'better safe than sorry' things - especially since it only takes like 15-20 minutes (put jam in jars, jars in pot, cover with water, bring to boil, boil for 10 minutes - done!)
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#16 of 26 Old 06-06-2009, 03:12 AM
 
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I just made strawberry/rhubarb jam last night using rapadura. I don't recommend it. The rapadura is so strong in flavor that it totally overwhelmed the fruit. It tastes like really sweet molasses jam I was trying to avoid using white sugar (since so much is required, even in the so-called "low sugar" recipe), but the result was not worth it. I didn't know about Pomona's. I am going to look for that. Thanks.

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#17 of 26 Old 06-06-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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I just made strawberry/rhubarb jam last night using rapadura. I don't recommend it. The rapadura is so strong in flavor that it totally overwhelmed the fruit. It tastes like really sweet molasses jam I was trying to avoid using white sugar (since so much is required, even in the so-called "low sugar" recipe), but the result was not worth it. I didn't know about Pomona's. I am going to look for that. Thanks.
That's so disappointing, especially after all that hard work!
I used palm or a combo of palm and sucanat all last summer and really liked the results. It's tricky to use, and to find the kind you like, but luckily I found one I like at a Asian grocery not too far from here.
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#18 of 26 Old 06-06-2009, 08:49 PM
 
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i'm hoping to use the pomona's with a fruit juice sweetener like apple juice. i only buy fruit-sweetened jams anyway so it seems like it shouldn't be too harsh on our palates.

anyone done this?

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#19 of 26 Old 06-07-2009, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, I would like to sweeten with juice or natural sweetener as well
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#20 of 26 Old 06-07-2009, 06:18 PM
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I made jam for the first time yesterday.. using Ball's no sugar needed pectin.. I used 1 cup of white grape juice as well as 1.5 cups of regular sugar - for preserving as well as flavor.. it came out pretty nice! Now i've got 11 jars of tasty strawberry and strawberry/rhubarb jam! I'd like to find out if you can use maple syrup in place of sugar too.. that could be nice, but does it do as good of a job at preserving?

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#21 of 26 Old 06-24-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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I recently made the Ball no/low sugar pectin Plum Jam and used stevia. It's not as sweet as a sugar version but still quite good. In fact I just ate a slice of overnight ww sourdough with kefir cream cheese and no sugar plum jam. And think I may just need another slice lol.
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#22 of 26 Old 06-24-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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I just made strawberry/rhubarb jam last night using rapadura. I don't recommend it. The rapadura is so strong in flavor that it totally overwhelmed the fruit. It tastes like really sweet molasses jam I was trying to avoid using white sugar (since so much is required, even in the so-called "low sugar" recipe), but the result was not worth it. I didn't know about Pomona's. I am going to look for that. Thanks.
Yeah - for rapadura you need a stronger flavored fruit, really. I've made cherry with rapadura and it was good - but even then it was to taste, and not to a recipe, or the rapadura still would have been overwhelming.

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#23 of 26 Old 06-24-2009, 06:11 PM
 
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Just wanted to throw this out there that I just found...

http://sarahs-musings.blogspot.com/2...preserves.html

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#24 of 26 Old 06-26-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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I'm going to try this recipe today, probably with the fruit juice version but sucanat and not splenda. I may try to honey version, too. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
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#25 of 26 Old 06-26-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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It worked out really, really yummy using the recipe I posted above- I did the mix of three cups apple juice, one cup sucanat, but I didn't even end up using all of that mix, maybe 2/3 because it was sweet enough. So I'm going to use the same one for another batch tomorrow, with rhubarb, too- so that I can use up the rest of the mixture. I will try the honey version for the raspberries next month!
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#26 of 26 Old 06-30-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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anyone have a recipe source they can share?
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