>Reduced-sugar jams and a GIVEAWAY!

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 As a thank-you for reading, I’m giving away a jar of this delicious jam, plus a surprise baked good to spread it on! To enter, leave a comment telling me about your best improvised recipe, and check back on Friday for the winner!

If you like to can your own jams and preserves, you may, like me, be aghast at the amount of sugar you quickly go through in putting up your spreads. Most pectin requires a certain amount of sugar to gel, and some recipes don’t even use pectin, but have you boil the fruit until it reaches the gelling point (220˚ at sea level). 

There is another way. Pomona’s Universal Pectin uses calcium to cause the pectin to gel. If I were more of a sciencey person, I would explain to you how this works, but I use words like “sciencey” so obviously I’m not. What I know is that this calcium magic allows you, the consumer, to use lower amounts of sugar or even other sweeteners in your recipes. The informative guide sheet included in each box of pectin also gives clear instructions on how to develop your own preserves recipes. I recently put on my big girl pants and did just that. I was inspired by this article on “Bachelor Jam”, which is simply fruit and sugar layered in a crock, covered with a high-proof alcohol, and let to sit. As tempting as that sounds, I wanted something with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage. Some kiwis were getting soft, the ancient triple sec in the fridge needed to be used up, and thus, Bachelorette Jam!
Bachelorette Jam 

You don’t need to worry about peeling the fruits (except kiwi). After everything had simmered for a while and gotten soft, I ran it all through my Foley food mill, but if you don’t have a food mill, you could just chop everything really small to begin with, or blend it after some simmering. I like the applesauce-like texture a food mill makes.  

1 pint blueberries
2 kiwis, peeled
1 1/2 apples
1/2 nectarine
1 pear
1 peach
zest and juice of 1 orange
lemon juice
1 c honey
Pomona’s Universal pectin and prepared calcium water
1/2 c triple sec
Prepare your jars and bring the jars and rings to a boil. Let them simmer while you make the jam. Soak the lids in a bowl of very hot water.
Wash the fruit. Dice into approximate 1/2″ pieces and measure. For each cup of fruit add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice. (I had 6 cups of fruit.) Stir the lemon juice and all the fruit together in a deep and wide pot. Bring to a simmer and let simmer with a lid on until the fruits are soft. Put through a food mill, or blend in a blender or food processor. Return to the pot. (I dumped the stuff left in the food mill back in, as it was pretty broken down, but you can discard it if you wish.) Stir in 1 teaspoon of prepared calcium powder per cup of fruit.
Stir 3 teaspoons of pectin powder into the honey. Bring the fruit to a boil (212˚) and let boil while stirring in the pectin-honey. Stir vigorously and let cook for two minutes to dissolve the pectin. Return to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the triple sec.
Pour the jam into the prepared jars to within 1/4″ of top. Remove the air bubbles with a chopstick or small spatula, and adjust headspace as needed. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and screw the ring on until hand-tight. Put the filled jars back into the water bath and return it to a boil. Once it starts boiling again, process for ten minutes. Lift the jars straight up out of the boiling water and let cool. Remove the rings, check the seal, wipe the jars, and store with the rings off. Don’t forget to date and label your lids!

Makes 7 half-pint jars

Since this recipe has so many ingredients, I made pretty labels so I remember all the kinds of fruit. I found many great options here; for this recipe, I used Martha Stewart’s fruit labels, customized in Pages.

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