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.
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 Musings, Mind Body and Soul, Frugally Sustainable, Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity, and The Prairie Homestead blog hops.