Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pectin free jam

We eat a lot of jam in our family. Lots of peanut butter and jam, lots of toast with jam. We throw jam into our oatmeal and in our plain yogurt. For the 13 years we've been jam making, we have always stood by the Certo product and method. In fact, we've been quite timid about venturing on our own.  Until last year, when we made our own pectin.

I think that was our "gateway" experience. With homemade pectin, you add some, see if things gel, add some more, see if you get fruit cement, then grump about the ruined jam.

A couple of weeks ago I entered the as yet untraveled ground of pectin free jam. First, the trip to Butler's Orchard in Germantown. Because of some bad instructions by the lovely workers at the orchard, by the time we realized the middle was not in fact the picked over part there was massive grumpiness and hunger (Zoltan) and hot and tiredness (me) so we left with a mere 2lb of  raspberries. Then to the farm market, where we got 25lb of tomatoes and what I think was about 18lb of peaches. After lunch, while the rest of the family napped, I made raspberry jam. Way easier than I thought. One of the things I really like about jamming "outside the box" is the fruit to sugar ratio - 1:1 rather than 1:2. The jam tasted intensely of fruit, and was plenty sweet. In fact, the kids spent a healthy amount of time lobbying to be allowed to eat the jam with a spoon.

Some web sites that helped me figure out what to do:

The raspberry jam turned out perfectly. It has a wonderful jam consistency. The peach turned out not quite so "jammy" and a bit more syrupy ... well thicker than that ... more like Russian vareini.Turns out the riper the fruit, the less pectin, and the peaches were "seconds" so, well, overripe. The taste is wonderful and the kids like it on their pancakes so it's still a win.

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