Food Preservation Without Sugar or Salt by P. Kendall1 (11/06)
Also, if you have a pressure canner, it greatly opens up your choices for what not to include to stabilize the food.
I have a bunch of local plums that will be meeting my pressure canner later this week.
I'm going to a canning workshop put on by a local food co-op tonight - so I will ask the local canning guru and post anything that I find out there tomorrow! I am so looking forward to this!!!
i a huge fan of just freezing my fruit. i like canning and all, but i have a portion of my freezer devoted to frozen fruit purees and cut up or whole fruit in ziplock baggies. for berries, freeze them in one layer on a baking sheet, then dump them into a bag together for storage. blanche peaches to remove the skin and slice, removing the stone. freeze on sheets again for about 24 hours before dumping into a bag together. apples do really well in the dehydrator. i like making berry desserts in winter, so i always have a bag of wild blueberries on hand for a mid-winter blueberry grunt. if you have the freezer space, its a great way to preserve without, a) getting the stove going in the heat of summer, b) not using any sugar, c) saving money on mason jars, and d) getting the result of whole pieces of often raw fruit later in the year.
I use Pomona Pectin for jam and have great results using no sugar or raw honey. I also freeze my berries flat on jellyroll pans and then slide into ziplock backs for year-round use. Snacks, add to other recipes, etc. A nice treat when it's the off season for sure.
Besides a JAMLINE, dude it's so awesome, they make sure each box gives a full breakdown on sweetening alternatives, freezer jams, canned jams, measurements, etc. Here's the link - click Recipes and then PDF 1, you will be happy with what you read I promise :) The chart is fantastic. PDF's 2-3-4 give great recipes, too. http://www.pomonapectin.com/recipiesanddirec.html
A pie filling I've made, and also canned, is blueberries crushed, cooked down for about 10 minutes, then mixed with a little honey, grated peeled Granny Smith apple, lemon juice and lemon zest. There's so much pectin between the berries and apples that it holds up quite nicely. Tomato jam is really fun, just black pepper, salt, lemon. Rhubarb raspberry.. so many options.
I'm happy to write up some of my recipes and add to this - but I think the Pomona will get you on one hell of a jamtastic adventure :) Have fun!!!
I just use no sugar required pectin to make my jam (Bernardin makes one) and then seal the jars in a hot water bath. The only difference is that the jam colour will change from reddish (for raspberry) to a sort of brownish red over time.
Here is a link for a recipe that uses no refined sugar or pectin: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/05/10/how-to-can-some-jam-a-simple-method-without-pectin/ It is simply strawberries or blueberries, apples, organic raw honey, and lemon juice! :)
I make lots of jams. Couple of comments:
Sugar is used to preserve color, aid in the jams' set, and to keep it fresh longer after opening. You don't need sugar for jams if you don't want it. The thing that makes jams safe to can is the acid in the fruit. There are only a few fruits whose pH is close to the danger zone for canning safely in a water bath. Summer berries, peaches, apples, plums, etc., are all fine. When in doubt add a little lemon juice to increase the acidity.
You can use any type of sweetener if you're so inclined. I've used honey in the past, as well as maple syrup, sucanat, and plain old organic cane sugar. You can also use bottled apple juice if you like. Or not.
When you don't use sugar, you may have to cook your fruit down longer. I usually cook mine for significantly longer than normal in order to avoid excess sugar. Be aware, though, that ultimately you'll still have a fairly high level of sugar in the spread since longer cook time = higher concentration. (I still prefer that over added sugars.)
PECTIN. Okay, so if you want your jam to set up you are going to want a low/no-sugar pectin. OR you may be fine with no pectin at all depending on fruit variety and cook time. Lemons also have a signficant amount of natural pectin, so if you throw in some lemon juice for increased acidity you'll also have the bonus of more setting power.
You can always can concentrated fruit purees if you want want to worry about pectin setting up the jam. Mostly I call things purees when my jams fail to set. (Lemons to lemonade and all that.)
Favorite flavor combos: strawberry/vanilla bean; plum/cardamom; peach/ginger
We dry fruit in our dehydrator! (which we did in addition to making jam back when we ate toast.)
Dried blueberries are good when softened up a bit in Greek yogurt. You could also rehydrate them and use them in a sauce.
Dried strawberries (sliced in half, de-stemmed0 are delicious by themselves or in yogurt.
Dried Italian plums (aka prunes) are delicious as well. You can grind them up and use them like you would dates (like faux Lara Bars) or eat them out of hand.
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