How To Make Jam without Adding Sugar Or Pectin
I don't know about you but I love to make my own jam. In the past, I would make big batches with up to 50 small and big jars during the berry season to build up enough reserves for winter and spring.
Traditional recipes recommend using large amounts of pectin and sugar but this always felt wrong to me. The gelling agent you buy in Germany already has added sweeteners which makes the jam turn out very sweet. So why add even more sugar?
As I did not know how to make jam without using pectin or gelatine, I had stopped making it for the last 5 years until my trip to California two months ago. I was lucky to attend a cooking demonstration from Chef Bravo at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA in which he showed us how to make jam in a natural way. In fact, it was the same way they did it before pectin and gelatine entered the market.
Unfortunately, in our modern society, we have unlearned cooking in a simple and healthy way because we can buy everything in the supermarket. Even things like pectin which is naturally occurring in plants (pears, apples, berries, citrus fruits etc.) are available in refined form in stores. The food industry found a way to separate the pectin from the plant and put it in packages to sell it to us and make money out of it.
When fruit is already sweet and contains its own pectin, why would you waste money on unhealthy and unnecessary additives?
Here is a simple and natural way to make jam. It is hassle-free, there is no weighing or measuring involved, you only use fruit and nothing else!
1. Put the berries in the pot. If you use fresh berries, add a bit of a water. This is not necessary with frozen berries as they contain enough liquid.
2. Turn the heat to high until the liquid of the berries starts to seep out. Then, reduce heat to simmer for a few minutes.
3. Turn off heat and separate the berries from the fruit juice by pouring them through a sieve into a bowl.
4. Pour the liquid back into the pot and heat it up. Let it cook for a while but reduce heat to simmer when the juice thickens. Stir from time to time to avoid burning.
5. Once the water is evaporated, add the berries, stir them in and continue cooking until it forms a think jam like consistency.
6. The risk of burning increases the thicker the jam juice gets. To avoid burning, reduce heat and stir from time to time. You can also keep the heat higher but stir continuously until the right consistency is achieved.
7. When the jam is thick enough, turn off heat and poor it into jars. Note:
As this is a quick and easy way to make jam, I do not make batches anymore. I just make enough for a single jar, keep it in the fridge and it will stay fresh for several weeks. If you would like to make larger quantities, sterilise jars and lids and seal the marmalade airtight.
The preparation time depends on the the type of berries and the amount of jam you wish to make. For example, a 500 ml jar of strawberry jam takes about half an hour.