This year was a great year for picking wild berries, and my kids made many happy memories foraging through our backyard and surrounding woods looking for them. Many were eaten fresh, but a lot made it to the freezer until enough were set aside for jam.
As I pulled them out of the freezer to defrost this weekend, I thought you might be interested to know what kind of pectin I use. Most jams and jellies in the store are sweetened with corn syrup, and though varieties that are made with regular sugar are available, they are expensive. Unfortunately, making your own at home is not always better as the ingredient list of canning pectins contain dextrose. If you have a corn allergy this can be a major problem, and when you look at the recipes inside you will quickly notice that they often call for large amounts of sugar. One brand I looked at used more cups of sugar than fruit!
For years I used these recipes as there were no other options available that I knew of.
However, a few years ago I started using pectin produced from Pomona’s Universal Pectin. What is unique about this brand is that instead of relying on sugar for a successful gel it relies on calcium. This means that you can use whatever amount of sugar you want and even substitute other kinds of sweeteners such as honey or evaporated cane juice with great success or you can leave it out completely for a pure fruit jam! So instead of eating something really sweet with a little taste of fruit, the fruit itself is the main attraction and the flavor really shines through!
Another benefit is that you do not need to boil the fruit a long time and thus preserve a lot of the fresh picked taste. The company even encourages you to develop your own flavors and recipes and gives instructions on how to do so. Ginger Peach and Strawberry Basil are two variations that I have tried, but the possibilities are endless and many people put their recipe creations online for others to try. The cost may seem a little more expensive than standard pectin brands, but each box makes around three batches of jam instead of one, and don’t forget you are using much less sugar per batch. If you are not interested in canning your jam, directions for freezer jam is included.
Even though the summer is quickly drawing to a close and most fruit seasons are over, peaches are still readily available so it’s not too late to give it try and enjoy the fresh taste of summer all winter long!
Though she grew up in a Christian home, Allison did not realize her need of being born again until she was 21 years old, when she repented of her sin and put her faith in Jesus Christ alone. She is thrilled to be a member of a vibrant church where the gospel is preached clearly and unashamedly!
Allison is wife to Roland, who is the senior pastor at LVBC. She is also mother to five children. She enjoys reading, sewing, and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen.