We went berry picking on the weekend. We picked purple raspberries, red raspberries and new season autumn blackberries which looked so good I took this photo of them.
One thing I've been quite interested in recently is making jam or fruit conserve with no sugar added. So now's my chance to give it a go. Unfortunately I don't have a recipe I'm happy with yet and although I've decided to add some apple for the pectin I'm not sure if this alone will make my jam set or if the sugar in regular jam helps with the setting as well as the preserving. Stay tuned.. hopefully I can report on the results soon.
Well after a bit of research I discovered that making no sugar jam should be easy, but was in fact, a little bit trickier than I had anticipated. The main reason being, I couldn't find any no sugar pectin, or low-methoxyl pectin, to purchase.
Low-methoxyl pectin is basically a pectin that doesn't need added sugar in order to set (it uses calcium) and it seems to be available commercially but not really available to retail customers anywhere that I can find in Melbourne. I think the best thing to do will be to purchase Pamona's Universal Pectin online so that I have a supply of it. Then I'll already have some on hand the next time the opportunity to make jam arises.
So lacking the essential ingredient for setting my no sugar jam, I divided the blackberries in half and decided to make two lots of jam. The first one, for me, would be more like a fruit compote rather than a jam since it wouldn't set to jam-like consistency and the second one, for my partner, would be a normal jam, albeit with less sugar than most regular jams. Using just slight less sugar makes jams taste beautifully fruity rather than just tasting like sugar.
Blackberry and Apple Fruit Compote
500 gms black berries
2 granny smith apples
juice of half a lemon
Put blackberries, apple and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring gently to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or so and then pour into sterilised jars and seal.
Important - Since this has no sugar to act as a preservative you must store the jars in the fridge.
Blackberry Jam (Pictured above)
6 cups blackberries
4 cups white sugar
juice of half a lemon
Add blackberries, sugar and lemon to a large saucepan and bring gently to a simmer until all the fruit has dissolved. Simmer until it reaches a point where the jam will set.
To test this have a cooled saucer or plate on hand, then drip some jam on it, place in the fridge to cool it and once cool, run your hand through the jam. If the jam doesn't run together again but stays separated its ready. If the jam runs together again, keep simmering and then test again until it reaches setting point.
Once the jam has reached setting point, take it off the heat and carefully pour through a funnel into sterilised jars, then seal and leave to cool.
I used lots of different sized jars to store this jam but I would say that if you used regular small jam jars you'd probably get 6 jars out of this quantity of jam. My lot made the jars pictured below as well as a really large jar. These ones are destined for jam appreciating family members.