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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Recipe Thursday - Adventures in Jam Making, without pectin


For years now I have been faithfully purchasing pectin to make all my jams but the price seems to continue to go up and I, being a frugal minded person, am tired of paying for it. These questions kept running through my head. What is the point of trying to be more self sustaining if I am always running to the store for little things? Why can't I make it myself? How did women used to make jam without pectin?

The last question had me running to the computer to do some research. I found a lot of useful information and a lot of recipes. One of the most useful was this one on making Raspberry Jam without pectin and this page from the National Center for Home Preserving. The tips really helped. While I wasn't sure if I would succeed I wasn't really worried either. We eat breakfast for dinner sometimes so if I end up with a syrup all the better for our pancakes.

The most important part of course is the berries! I had all those delicious plump Saskatoon berries (also known as Service berries) to use. The recipe I adapted can be found here as well, I mostly just doubled it. I can never figure out why jam recipes are always so small. I want to make big batches not little ones.

Saskatoon Jam


Ingredients:
8 cups Saskatoon berries
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons lemon juice

Take a nice large heavy pot and place the berries in it. Then crush them as best you can with a potato masher.   Heat slowly. The juices will start flowing nicely as it heats up.


Now add the sugar and water. Keep stirring! You don't want it to burn and you want to dissolve the sugar. Bring it to a boil then add the lemon juice.


Bring back to a boil and keep cooking it until it thickens, stirring to make sure it doesn't burn. The recipe says it takes about 15 minutes to thicken but it took mine about 20 to 25. I think altitude and other factors may play a role in the thickening process. 


 Now process in those sterilized jars you hopefully have handy and ready! I have to keep mine piping hot in a large pot as living off grid there is no dishwasher to sterilize for me. 


The results were 8, 1/2 pints of jam. Not bad, but I really prefer larger jars of jam for home use. These will make great gifts though!


The first batch worked perfectly but the second one did turn into syrup and not jam. Not sure what I did wrong. Either way I am very satisfied and will continue to attempt the perfect non-pectin jams.

Also linked in to Laura Williams MusingsMind Body and SoulFrugally SustainableFrugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity, and The Prairie Homestead blog hops.

19 comments:

  1. Glo,

    I must be truly doing something wrong. I've used pectin several times and either had liquid jam or chunky stuff on top and nothing down on the bottom of the jar. My MIL suggested using Sure Gel it works better. I'm going to have to try that. Your thoughts on the pectin? Maybe just stop buying it and make jam without.

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    1. Wish I could help Sandy. I don't know anything about Sure Gel as I've never seen it up here. I just want to do things as simply as possible so going the no pectin route seems right to me. Although, I would like to make jam with honey instead but I know it won't gel.... hmmm... what's a girl to do?

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  2. Looks yummy! What do Saskatoon berries taste like? They look like blueberries...do they taste the same?

    Connie

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    1. They do look and I guess taste a bit like blueberries but not really. They are not as sweet and much darker color. You really would have to try them I guess although Mountain Man says they kinda taste like a cross between a blueberry and a black berry.

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    2. My kids think it's raspberry sister.

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  3. Thank you for your post. I agree with you about purchasing pectin. In Arkansas, the old homestead places always had crab apple trees. (Although that is a possibility for me, it would be a few years before the tree produces fruit.) The apples were used for their high pectin content. I am not certain if the apples were mashed, cooked and strained for the pectin or if the adding of the apples to jams and jellies made them gel. It never occurred to me that one could make jam without pectin at all. Thanks for the information to ponder. :)

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    1. You are so welcome Donna. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  4. I don't like to use sugar so I've made my own pectin from granny smith apples. Basically, you add water and cook the apples down to a mush. All that sugar mush cost money— especially if it's fair trade cane sugar. I found your post on Frugally Sustainable.

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    1. I've really wanted to try that Lyza. Hopefully next year my apple trees will cooperate. :)

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  5. Ahh, I totally agree about the whole pectin thing. What DID our ancestors do before pectin? I've been weary of trying to make some peach jam without pectin, and you'v inspired me to just go ahead and try it. Worst case, we end up with some yummy peach syrup :)

    Also, I too have heard of the homemade apple pectin, so if you do try it, I'd love to hear about it!

    Thanks for sharing at Tiny Tip Tuesday! I'm sharing this on FB :)

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  6. Congratulations! Your post has been featured on Wildcrafting Wednesday. :-)

    http://www.commonsensehome.com/burdock/

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  7. This looks yummy! I've never had Saskatoon berries. Thank you for linking this up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

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  8. I am a complete n00b at this myself, but I *think* I remember reading somewhere years ago that a certain ratio of underripe fruit was included in recipes so that jam would "gel". Does underripe fruit have a higher pectin content I wonder? Although I could be wrong, just thought i'd mention it. I have often wondered what women did before that handy dandy pectin! :)

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  9. Totally stumbled across this whilst looking at things to do with whey - I live in the UK where pectin in bottles was a novelty as I was growing up. To make jam set, I definitely remember apple cores/peels/pips in small muslin bags being thrown in and boiled up with the fruit and sugar. These were obviously easy to fish out at the end and meant you didn't have to adjust recipes at all as there were no 'extras'

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  10. as a child I remember them boiling crabapples whole to make crab apple jelly when they were mushy they would strain the liquid through cheese cloth then wrap and secure the cheese cloth with the remnents inside then tie the ends of the cheese cloth to a cupboard door knob and let it drip .every once in awhile they would twist the cheese cloth to get more out I liked to check it once in a while I think so I could secretly stick a finger in for a sweet treat loloh yeah let it drip into the beautiful strained liquid that would become the jelly I didn't know how or why it became jelly but I surmise now they were squezzing the pectin out hope this helps I was a kid watching the procsess im now 79years old so that was probably about 69 years ago

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  11. I'm new to making jellies and jams. I used your recipe and mixed saskatoon with the pulp from my red currents (after making jelly) & rhubarb. It turned out awesome. Thank you for this! I'm making another batch today but using the red current whole berries and not their pulp along with the saskatoons and rhubarb. Hope it turns out like the first.

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    Replies
    1. Called it, "Summer Fruit Explosion" :)

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