I came up with this low sugar apple currant spread to use up this year's bumper crop of currants. Since currants are quite tart, currant jelly uses a lot of sugar. Currant seeds are sizable, so I knew a regular jam wouldn't be popular with my family. (Plus, currant jam is still loaded with sugar.) Instead, I cooked up my currants and ran them through the chinois (food mill). This gave a mix of juice and a little bit of puree. I cooked the currant juice/puree up with some applesauce (and cinnamon), but it was still very runny and tart. (Both currants and apples have natural pectin, but not quite enough in this case.) I added sugar for sweetening, and some Pomona's low sugar pectin for thickening. Voila! [Read more…]
Homemade jams, jellies and spreads are a great way to preserve the taste of summer for year round enjoyment. They are an easy introduction to home canning, because they require only a short time in a water bath canner, and the acidity and sugar in fruit makes it naturally resistant to spoilage. Because canned products are shelf-stable, you don't need to give up valuable freezer space.
Unlike some store products that use high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors or colors, you know exactly what goes into every jar of your home canned goodies. You can use less sugar, honey, or no added sugar at all. If you're in a hurry during harvest season, most fruits can be frozen and made into jam, jelly or spread at a later date – like mid-winter when it's cooler, just in time for gift giving. Even the littlest kitchen helpers can contribute to preparation by picking, removing stems or doing some smashing and straining.
I've gathered together over 20 homemade jam, jelly and spread recipes that are featured on our site; nine tips for perfect homemade jams, jellies and spreads; and a free printable recipe guide from Pomona's Pectin. Enjoy, and happy canning! [Read more…]