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Canning jams/ jellies (Read 862 times)

    Does anyone not use regular sugar when they can jam?  I buy the jams at the store that are made with fruit juice, thinking, "I can do that", but what I'm googling says you need the sugar (in jams anyway, not fruits) to prevent spoiling?


    A Saucy Wench

      Does anyone not use regular sugar when they can jam?  I buy the jams at the store that are made with fruit juice, thinking, "I can do that", but what I'm googling says you need the sugar (in jams anyway, not fruits) to prevent spoiling?

      I think the fruit juice in fruit juice sweetened store jams is highly concentrated...you would probably need it to boil it down to a syrup in order for it to be sweet enough.  I use the low sugar pectin for my freezer jams and they have reduced sugar canned jam recipes.  (and some splenda recipes...ick)


      I thought the sugar is what made it jell. 

      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

       

      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


      A Dance with Monkeys

        I make jam all the time.

         

        You need the sugar.  The sugar complexes with the pectin at a molecular level to make the jam set.  The fruit is just an innocent bystander.  You can make jelly with just pectin and sugar (and a touch of acid) if you are so inclined.  You use a lot of sugar, however in any given serving of jam the amount of sugar is pretty low.

         

        The sugar prevents the spolage, but mostly the acids in the fruit do this.  As does the sterile setting inside the jars.

         

        Sugarfree jams do exist, and you can make them yourself, but they usually rely on other things to make them set.  I am less familiar with them.

         

          Thanks Anne and Trent!   I didn't know about the low sugar pectin.  I've only made jam a few times years ago, grabbed the Sure Jell off the shelf at the store, zipped home and dumped the usual amount of sugar into the recipe, not knowing there were other options. 

           

          You got me googling more.  Here's an interesting comparison of pectins:

          Type of Pectin Advantages Disadvantages
          Liquid, in jar or packet already dissolved More expensive, messier, doesn't keep once opened.
          Dry, regular pectin None Makes jam with a LOT of added sugar in it.
          Dry, lower sugar formula Uses 40% less sugar to thicken None I know of
          Recommended for all jams (with or without sugar):
          Dry, No-sugar pectin
          You can add no sugar, or add Splenda, or fruit juice or just a little sugar, as you wish, and the mixture will still make a firm jam. If you use NO sugar at all, the jam isn't as bright and the texture is a bit more runny.  But add just a little sugar or fruit juice and it is fine.
          None - old fashioned way to cook down the jam until it is thick no cost for pectin, but .. Must add more sugar and cook much, much longer.  Yield and nutritional value are reduced due to overcooking and reduction from evaporation.
          Freezer jam pectin No cooking involved You MUST store the jam in your freezer or fridge.
          Low methoxyl pectin sugar
          (one brand is Pomona Pectin)
          Does not require any sugar; it uses calcium to jell the fruit. Best for Pepper jelly and Mint jelly.

          You can use low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners like Splenda, Aspartame or Xylitol with it.

          Pomonas Universal Pectin is a sugar-free, vegetarian, low-methoxyl citrus pectin that is activated by calcium. Since it does not require sugar to jell, jams and jellies can be made with less, little, or no sugar. Some other possible sweeteners are honey, fructose powder, sucanat, concentrated fruit sweetener, maple syrup, agave nectar, frozen juice concentrate, stevia, xylitol, Splenda, and other artificial sweeteners. Each 1 oz. box of Pomonas Pectin contains a packet of pectin, a packet of calcium powder and a sheet of newly revised directions and recipes. A JAMLINE telephone number is included in case there are any questions.
          * Concentrated and economical -- each box makes two to four recipes.

          It works pretty well, especially if you are making no-sugar or sugar substitute jams and jellies.

          I've noticed the jam sometimes doesn't have the clarity of the other pectins.

          Also, it can be hard to find (I offer two online sources below farther down this page)

           

          And look!  There is no sugar pectin too. 

           

          The low methoxyl pectin sugar interests me, though it says best for mint jellies.  Since Anne mentioned that the fruit juice would probably have to be highly concentrated, it got me wondering if frozen concentrated juice could be used as a sweetener.  Apparently so!  

           

          I can't really find any negatives to using  the no sugar pectin and the low methoxyl.  Have either of you had any experience with these?


          A Saucy Wench

            freezer jam - which by the way you dont need "freezer jam pectin"  sure jell low sugar works fine, she forgot the advantage of "tastes like fresh fruit"

             

            But no, I've never tried either of the others.  I'm not a plan ahead kind of gal and I am sure neither of them are sold in my grocery.  Usually my jam making sessions involve "whoops I bought too much fruit today what should I do".  And I prefer freezer jam.  I wonder if the no sugar would work for freezer jam?  I prefer the taste of reduced sugar.

             

            The calcium...hmmmm I hate the taste of calcium in OJ it seems to cut the acidity.  I wonder if it would taste different?

             

            I wonder what the ingredients list looks like, I know low sugar jam in the stores have ingredients that full sugar does not - gelatin and the like.

            I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

             

            "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

               I wonder if the no sugar would work for freezer jam?  I prefer the taste of reduced sugar.

               

               

              Well, I bought the no sugar pectin today.  Figured it'd be the easier of the two to experiment with (initially anyway).  Anne, you can use the no sugar for freezer jam!   You use unsweetened fruit juice (kind depends on what you're making) and possibly lemon juice.  Sample ingredients for strawberry jam are:  3 c. crushed strawberries, 1 3/4 c. unsweetened cranberry-raspberry or apple juice (the cranberry will add color but if you don't care about that I guess it doesn't matter).   Peach takes 3 c. peaches, 1 Tb lemon juice, 1 3/4 c. unsweetened white grape or apple juice. 

               

              This is just what I was looking for.  It's a little scary when the box says "now better consistency" (or something like that), but I'm going to give it a whirl.

               


              A Dance with Monkeys

                It's a little scary when the box says "now better consistency"

                 

                +1


                Jazz hands!

                  Okay. What makes jam not go bad in the cupboard? Is it the sugar or the pectin?

                   

                   

                  I made mango jam the other day, and didn't sterilize anything because I only made 2 mangos' worth, it's in the fridge, and it won't last the week (it is REALLY GOOD), but it set up perfectly fine with no pectin (recipe: 1 mango, 1/4 c sugar, 1 T lime juice, cook for a while), and I'm wondering whether this stuff would be OK if I just put it into sterilized jars.

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                  A Dance with Monkeys

                    Okay. What makes jam not go bad in the cupboard?

                     

                    Sugar + acidity + closed environment in which all the bugs are dead from the high heat of canning/cooking.


                    A Saucy Wench

                      Okay. What makes jam not go bad in the cupboard? Is it the sugar or the pectin?

                       

                       

                      I made mango jam the other day, and didn't sterilize anything because I only made 2 mangos' worth, it's in the fridge, and it won't last the week (it is REALLY GOOD), but it set up perfectly fine with no pectin (recipe: 1 mango, 1/4 c sugar, 1 T lime juice, cook for a while), and I'm wondering whether this stuff would be OK if I just put it into sterilized jars.

                       freeze it. 

                      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                       

                      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


                      Jazz hands!

                        So if jam sets fine with no added pectin, it will still store fine if I store it properly in sterilized jars?

                         

                         I'm way more likely to go the Ennay route and freeze it, but good to know. Might make some good Christmas presents for family on the east coast. What about apple butter? That also has plenty of sugar to make it keep, right?

                         

                        And anyone got a good recipe? I love that stuff. man, my freezer is too small. Also my cupboards. Also my entire kitchen.

                         

                        MTA: How long does freezer jam keep?

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                        A Saucy Wench


                           

                          MTA: How long does freezer jam keep?

                           A year (or more) in the freezer, about 1-2 weeks in the fridge when you thaw it.

                          I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                           

                          "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


                          Jazz hands!

                            Can I just put it in Tupperware?

                             

                             

                            And more importantly, if I can jam and do it wrong, it will be immediately obvious upon opening that it's bad / moldy / whatever, right? I won't have to get food poisoning to figure it out?

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                            A Dance with Monkeys

                              Yes, but not for storage.  Tupperware is good if you are going to freeze it or put it in the fridge for immediate use.

                               

                              Generally, when it has gone bad, the pressure seal won't pop when you open the jar and/or it will stink and/or there will be mold on it.


                              Jazz hands!

                                Right, I just meant for freezing--I imagine boiling Tupperware is, uh, a bad idea.

                                 

                                 

                                 So it'll look / smell like it's gone bad if it's gone bad, not look delicious, smell delicious, taste delicious, and then try to kill me.

                                 

                                Any apple butter recipes? We're driving up to apple country in the fall and I might try to make some.

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