Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts

Low Sugar/Sweetner Blueberry Jam Experiments--2 New Recipes

Last year Hazel and I were on a jam making kick. We made strawberry jam with my mother and then went blueberry and peach picking and made jams from our fresh picked fruit. This year we experimented with a pectin free raspberry jam (made with frozen raspberries). We went blueberry picking this weekend and we tried two different kinds of blueberry jam recipes. We picked about three quarts of blueberries before Hazel got bored at Smolak Farms. (Then we went and found our friends who had given up earlier and looked at the animals some more, had lunch and went for a hayride.)
The first recipe we tried came on the back of a Bob's Red Mill chia seed package. This recipe is for Blueberry Chia Jam. Since the chia seeds work as a thickener, you do not need pectin. The benefits of this recipe being less sugar/sweetener and of course the health benefits of chia seeds themselves. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, high in fiber, pretty high in calcium and very low in cholesterol and sodium. I actually add a tablespoon of chia seeds to my smoothie each morning.

I made this recipe on my own since Hazel did not want to help at the time I wanted to get it made. It called for three cups of fresh blueberries, 1/4 cup of agave nectar, 1/4 cup of chia seeds and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. The recipe made two jars. The recipe on the package said to keep the jam in the refrigerator and did not mention boiling it and sealing the jars. I however found a similar recipe on line which stated you could boil and seal them, so I did. Otherwise the jam would last only a week and I knew we would not eat it that quickly.  The recipe was very easy. You mixed the blueberries and the agave nectar in a pan until the blueberries softened and began to pop (about five minutes). Then you add the chia seeds and cook and stir until it thickens (about fifteen minutes). The directions said to let it cool and then add the vanilla. I added the vanilla before the chia seeds so I could do the boiling process right after it thickened. I made two jars. One which I will be giving to my mother to try.
The next jam we made using a new pectin that I got at a health food store. It is Pomona's Universal Pectin.

Following the recipe inside we needed four cups of mashed blueberries. Hazel helped with the mashing, but got tired of it quickly. With this pectin you have two packages inside. One is Pectin and the other is Calcium which you need to make into calcium water. For this recipe we used the four cups of mashed blueberries, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup honey and then two teaspoons of the pectin and 2 teaspoons of the calcium water. You mix the calcium water with the fruit and lemon juice. You mix the pectin with the honey. You boil the fruit mixture and then add the pectin mixture to it and boil it for another couple of minutes. Then you put it into the jars and seal them with a boil bath for ten minutes. This recipe made six and a half jars. Hazel and I tried both and liked both recipes. Now we may go back to the farm to go peach picking and possibly raspberry picking and make some more jam.

Pectin-Free Raspberry Jam

Now Hazel has been asking to make raspberry jam since last year. Last summer we made strawberry jam with my mother and then blueberry jam and peach jam after we picked both fruits ourselves. We had picked raspberries, but not enough for jam. When looking for recipes for our post on Gail Gibbons' The Berry Book, I found a recipe for raspberry jam that used frozen raspberries and no pectin at We bought some frozen raspberries and finally found time to make it over the weekend.
Hazel loved measuring the sugar the night before and mashing them in the morning, but she got sick of stirring pretty quickly. So I got to do most of the work. Then I tried the method of flipping the jars upside down, but left them upside down for too long.
All of the jam was stuck to the tops and didn't fall until I put them in a boiling bath and did the old fashion method. Of course several of the jars did not seal well with my mixed ways of doing it, so we are now enjoying lots of raspberry jam--or at least Hazel is. I am doing a cleanse this week so I cannot have anything with sugar. Hopefully next week I'll get to enjoy some! Hazel on the other hand loves it!

Now with my cleanse, I have been putting chia seeds in my shakes and I noticed a recipe for blueberry chia seed jam without pectin, so we may have to try that one next.

Peach Jam

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Remember how I posted we went peach and raspberry picking. Well, I ripened the peaches a bit in a paper bag (Hazel was so excited to pick them, she didn't quite get them ripe) and we made jam today. I have to say I am still mad at myself for not bringing my camera to the farm. It took us literally ten minutes at most to pick a peck of peaches! She was so excited to be picking them. We also saw so many animals there and had such a good time, plus they had various play things for kids. Oh, well. Next time.

Today Hazel and I started making the jam. She washed the peaches. Then I sliced them and peeled them. Then she put them in the food processor and finely chopped them.
We needed 4.5 cups of finely chopped peaches for our pectin box. Then she helped me measure the three cups of sugar. Then you take a quarter cup out of the measured sugar and mix it with the pectin. She did this. Then she wanted to take her apron off and go play which was fine. I squeezed the lemon and started boiling the water in the pan I use as a canner (I don't have one).

Then I poured the boiling water over the lids and let it sit. Then it was time to start cooking the jam. I put the peaches in my large sauce pan and added the lemon juice and the pectin-sugar mix and heated this to a rolling boil (where the bubbles do not go away when stirred). Then you add the rest of the sugar and bring it back to a boil. Boil it for exactly one minute and then start ladling into the jars as quickly as you can.
Then you wipe the edges of the jars and cover them with the prepared lids and the screw tops. Then you put them in your pan of boiling water and make sure they are covered by a couple of inches of water (add more boiling water if necessary) and put the cover on and let them boil for ten minutes. Remove and wait for the tops to pop which means they are sealed. If any do not seal properly eat the jam within a week.
I made seven jars with this recipe. I used low sugar pectin so I wouldn't need as much sugar as in some jams. I hope you enjoy it!