Jam is probably the simplest thing you could ever prepare. So why do most folks envision Grandma slaving over a hot stove with canning jars and large cauldrons? If you try this method and discover how easy it is, you will never buy high-sugar, high-chemical preservatives, store-bought jam again.
2 packages frozen fruit, chopped into bite-sized pieces (berries, apples, stone fruits and oranges all work great, but avoid pineapple if you are a novice)
Alternative to frozen: 2 lb of fresh fruit, peeled and cut into small pieces
Pomona’s Universal Pectin (or any low-sugar or no-sugar pectin)
1/3 cup lime juice (or lemon)
Any amount of sugar you wish
1. Open the pectin box. You’ll see a small packet and a larger packet. Take the small packet (the calcium packet) and pour it into a container with a tight-fitting cap. Add one cup of water, close the cap and shake. Set aside. You’ll need only one teaspoon of this mixture, so store the rest in the fridge for later jam batches. It will last for at least six months.
2. Place the chopped fruit in the saucepan and add as much or as little sugar as you wish. Stir until the sugar or other sweetener is distributed and then heat the fruit on medium high heat.
3. While the fruit is heating up, open the larger packet in the pectin box and spoon out about one level teaspoon of the powder into a bowl. Save the rest of the packet for another time. Add 1/3 cup of warm lime juice to the bowl and stir quickly, to avoid lumps. Add one teaspoon of the calcium water (made in step one). Once the mixture is fairly smooth, add it to the boiling fruit and stir vigorously.
4. Let the fruit mixture bubble rapidly for two minutes, stirring continually to avoid burning the bottom. Afterward, turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat. Cover with a lid and leave for 30 minutes.
5. When the jam is cool enough to handle, stir it well and pour into any clean jar (I like to use my old peanut butter jars with a metal lids). Store the jam in the refrigerator; it will thicken within 12 hours and last approximately three weeks.
Please note that you must use pectin specifically made for low-sugar recipes. If you try to use the regular, high-sugar pectin, it won’t work.
Universal pectin lasts a long time, so don’t be turned off by the price tag of several dollars. That tiny box of pectin should make at least 8 jars of jam, and often more. Experiment with lesser amounts, to see if the jam thickens to your liking with less pectin. Some fruits have their own pectin content, such as apples and oranges, and do not require a full teaspoon of the powder.
Remember that although this tastes as good (and better) than regular jam, it will not keep on a shelf. You must use it within three weeks and keep it in your fridge, so make only the amount you can use or give away.
Enjoy your healthy jam!