Make Delicious, Low-sugar Jams and Jellies

Toast, muffins, pancakes and peanut butter sandwiches all go better with jams and jellies. Here's how to make them at home, with less sugar.


| June/July 2006



jams and jellies - jars of strawberry jam and peach jam

With these simple ingredients, you can make naturally sweet, low-calorie jams and jellies.


Photo by Corbis

The first time I made my own jam, I was shocked to find that the recipe called for more sugar than fruit. When I tried to reduce the sugar in the recipe, I ended up with a thin syrup instead of the thick, fruity jam I had envisioned.

As I learned more about making preserves, I found out that pectin, a carbohydrate derived from fruit, is what causes jams and jellies to thicken, and it works best when a substantial amount of sugar is included in the recipe.

But one type of pectin, low-methoxyl pectin, thickens jams and jellies with little or no sugar. This pectin makes it possible to create jams and jellies sweetened with honey, artificial sweeteners, the herbal sweetener stevia, or just with fruit. It’s even easier to make low-sugar fruit “butters,” such as peach or apple butter, because these are made without any added pectin at all.

Like many foods these days, homemade jams and jellies often taste much better than store-bought. You can find good buys on quantities of fruit from local growers — check your farmer’s markets and classified ads. And if you’re too busy to make preserves when the fruit is ripe, you can freeze it and process it later when time is not at such a premium.

How Pectin Works

Both jellies and jams are made with sugar and pectin: The difference is that jelly is made with fruit juice, while jams are made with mashed or crushed fruit.

With most fruit pectin, recipes must include 55 percent to 85 percent sugar to allow the interaction among pectin, sugar and fruit acids that causes jams and jellies to thicken properly. That type of pectin is derived from ripe fruit, but low-methoxyl pectin is extracted from citrus peel and thickens when you add calcium phosphate. It was popularized in the early 1960s by naturalist Euell Gibbons, after his diabetic brother began experimenting with it to make jams and jellies with less sugar.

dila
4/5/2007 2:18:25 AM

C'est parfait !!!!






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