|Testing the Apricot Jam|
|Low Sugar/No Sugar Pectins|
|Our Apple Tree|
|Our Italian Plum Tree|
I've been wanting to spread the word about pectins that require little or no sugar. My mom usually made low sugar jam when I was growing up so it's what I am used to and what I prefer. Some regular pectin recipes call for as much or even more sugar than fruit. So, if you prefer low or no sugar jam, there are options! You can also use artificial sweeteners with these pectins. I usually use somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup of sugar per batch of jam depending on the sweetness of the fruit. For the apricot jam I actually used 1 3/4 cups because the fruit wasn't ripe and it was VERY tart.
Both of the canning cook books I own suggest using Pomona's Universal Pectin which is also a low sugar option. I've never tried it though because it's not available in most grocery stores. I've always used (up until today) the Sure Jell because it can be bought anywhere. Today I noticed the Ball brand low sugar pectin at Fred Meyer for the first time. That little jar is about the same price as a pack of Sure Jell, but it makes at least three times as much jam. That's what I used for the apricot jam and I think it worked perfectly. The jam set up very well and it tastes like apricot candy (see photo of spoon in jar). Yum!
Our apple and plum trees both have fruit this year. The first year we lived here we only had plums (tons of them). We didn't even know the other tree was an apple tree! Last year we had gallons of apples but not a single plum. This year we have both. I know nothing about fruit trees, being from Kodiak and all, so I have absolutely no idea why some years we have fruit and others we don't. Nor have I (or Ryan) done anything to these trees (like trimming, or....I have no idea what else you're supposed to do to fruit trees!) Our raspberries are also producing fruit like crazy. Makes me sad to leave. Then again, I have SALMONBERRIES to look forward to in Kodiak!!