For some time now I have been working on trying to make the perfect low sugar jam, in the hopes that I would get a good set, while maintaining the wonderful flavour of the fruit. My problem has been that whenever I reduced the sugar, I would have to cook the jam for much longer to get it to set. The result was an over cooked jam that lost that summer in a bottle flavour I think good jam is all about. Well I have finally succeeded, using a low sugar pectin that allows the jam to set without being cooked for an extended period of time. So rather than getting the flavour of caramelized, over cooked sugar, I get the fresh fruit flavours I am aiming for. Strawberries have a low natural pectin level, so they are perfect for use with commercial pectin. If you use the low sugar pectin, and reduce the high sugar content in most jams, you get the best of both worlds; a wonderful, fresh fruit taste, without the sugar hit some of us would rather do without. Here is my recipe.
- One kilogram of strawberries washed and hulled. If the strawberries you are using are large, you may want to cut them up.
- 400 grams sugar
- Three tablespoons of lemon juice
- 30 grams of Green Living Australia Low Sugar Pectin
- Place a small plate in the freezer ready to use later to test your jam for set. Place the strawberries and lemon juice into you preserving pan. Cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has softened. This should only take a few minutes. Using a potato masher, crush the fruit a little to release the juice and natural pectin in the fruit.
- Add 350 grams of the sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Increase the heat to high and bring the fruit sugar mixture to a rolling boil.
- Meanwhile, mix your 30 grams of low sugar pectin with the remaining 50 grams of sugar. Once the fruit sugar mixture has reached a rolling boil, add the pectin mixture by sprinkling it in while rapidly stirring. Pectin is a thickening agent so if you just add it without blending it with some sugar first, it will clump and you will end up with lumps you then have to work out of your jam.
5. Bring your jam back to the boil and boil for one minute. You are now ready to test for set. To test for set, remove the small plate from the freezer and place a little of the jam on the plate and pop it in the refrigeration to cool for a minute. Remove the plate from the refrigerator. If the jam is set a skin would have formed on the surface. Push the jam with your finger and you will see the skin wrinkle. This is set point. If the jam surface does not wrinkle and the jam is not set, cook it for a little longer and then test again.
6. Once the jam is ready, ladle it into 250 mm jars, leaving a 15 mm head space. Clean off the jar rims with a clean cloth or paper towel and put on new lids, tightening them firmly by hand. Process the jars using the boiling water bath method for 5 minutes if you pre-sterilised the jars and lids and 10 minutes if you did not pre-sterilise the jars and lids.
This jam turned out amazing and has been a big hit in our classes, especially for those clients who needed to really watch the sugar intake for health reasons.