Last summer, I was on the hunt to make jam without store bought pectin or white sugar. As I scoured the net for answers I came upon surprisingly simple solutions. The first was to make pectin from scratch using crab apples (recipe to come). The second was to use honey as the sweetener. This has now become my base recipe for all the jams I make.
Note: Because I am using honey and homemade pectin, the yield is significantly smaller then with store bought pectin and sugar. I also like to use the 125 ml jars, because they are nice and compact and get eaten up quickly if given as gifts.
Yield: 4 to 6 125 ml jars, depending on amount of natural sugar in the fruit used.
- 4 cups of fruit of your choice, preferably local and organic
- 125 ml of homemade pectin
- 125 ml of your favourite local honey
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner for 6 x 125 ml jars.
- At the same time, place 6 lids in a small pot and set to simmer.
- Combine fruit, pectin and honey in a heavy bottomed pot of your choice. I use a ceramic coated non-stick pot that works quite well.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium while regularly stirring to avoid burning the precious jam.
- Once the fruit has started to break down, you can use an immersion (stick) blender to whir up the jam. But you don’t have to if you enjoy a more chunky jam.
- Keep watch and stir regularly until the jam has reached a thick “jammy” consistency. Marisa McClellan, of Food in Jars, has some great tips on how to know when your jam is ready. I have used this recipe quite often that I just eyeball when it is time to take the jam off the stove.
- Using a canning funnel (I like using a metal one), spoon the jam from the pot and into each jar, leaving 1/2″ of head space. If you end up with a jar that has more head space, set it aside and use it for your breakfast the next morning.
- Once each jar is filled, make sure the rim of each jar is clean by wiping it down with the cloth of your choice. * Jam on the rim can prevent a jar from sealing and risk spoilage.
- Place the lids on each jar and screw on the ring to finger tight.
- Place each jar back in the boiling water bath and bring back up to a boil. Once a full rolling boil is reached set a timer for 10 minutes.
- When you timer goes off, take your canning pot off the heat and set your timer for another 10 minutes.
- When the second timer goes off, remove your jars from the canner and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow at least 24 hours to seal. If you are using standard metal lids and your kitchen is fairly cool, you should hear the exciting “popping”, quite soon after the jars are out of the water.
*If a jar has not sealed, you can reprocess it. But I usually just put it in the fridge and save it for some homemade bread
Here is a Black & White Currant Jam that I made recently with the Master Recipe.
I used currants that my good friend Jackie, from City Farm, let me pick and make into this tart jam.
I then popped a jar of pectin out of the freezer from last summer, since I had not yet made any fresh pectin at the time of cooking up this recipe.
I use some honey from an old friend down at Coop les Jardins de la Resistance in Ormstown, Québec.
At this point in the recipe I usually add the thawed pectin into a glass liquid measuring cup and top it off with the honey to the 1 cup line.
One of my favourite wooden spoons from Littledeer, that has become the official jam making spoon. It still has a purple hew from last year’s blueberry jams.
The end result, a tangy flavour packed jam that reminds me of summers spent at my Oma & Opa’s in the Netherlands.