Homemade Jam and Jelly Can Have Half the Sugar and Twice the Taste
Jams, Jellies, Preserves, that are good for You
My whole family is not only prone to diabetes, but almost everyone is fighting with weight issues.
I could remember picking fruit with my grandparents, in the summertime, and not just one box, many many boxful's. If I could recall it wasn't all that hard to do, and so I looked it up in our old family cookbook.
Sure enough, there it was, and so after giving it a try myself, to make sure that I could still follow the directions, and to see how difficult it was, and how much work was involved, I gave it a try on my own.
Here is what I came up with, and when I discussed the recipe with my doctor to get his opinion on my product, as compared to what you might find and buy at the grocery store, there was no comparison. Here is how it goes.
You can use any kind of fruit that you like, but do remember that some fruits are much harder to prepare than others. It is up to you to decide whether you want to remove pits before you start cooking, or pick them out of the jam later, either way works. Choose whatever fruit you can find locally, that is inexpensive, plentiful, and ripe. Wash the fruit thoroughly, placing the washed and ready fruit in a large cooking pot. Add water, about one half a cup for every three cups of fruit and begin to cook over a medium fire.
The cooking process is a very slow, and long one. Cook over a low fire until the fruit falls apart, making sure that you stir the bottom of the pot so that none of the fruit sticks to the pan.
I am going to be using plums for this recipe, so when my plums are fairly well cooked, and with a wooden spoon I have mashed the fruit up, picking out the pits and peels as I go along. Every time I stir the fruit, which would be about every five or ten minutes, I pull out as many pits and skins as I can.
Now, this is where there is room to change the recipe if you like, but I choose to use as little sugar as possible, due to my health, and weight issues. The less sugar you use, the more your jam will be like preserves and less like store bought jelly. I prefer my jams to have pieces of fruit still intact, but if you prefer, you can use a colander and strain your cooked fruit into more of a jelly type of jam. I use approximately one half to one whole cup of sugar for every four to six cups of cooked fruit. If you like, taste it at this point, and you can add more sugar i you prefer your jam sweeter.
The sugar content serves two purposes. One is that sugar is a preservative. The other purpose is that the sugar thickens the mixture also. Once you have the sugar measurement correct to suit your taste, put the mixture back on the fire, with a very low flame. Do not add any more water to pot, for this is the cooking process that cooks the fruit down and thickens it. In the grocery store, near the baking goods, you will find a product called certo. This is basically just a gelatin that is added according to the directions on the box. This will thicken your jam to the perfect texture. When jam is done, and this cooking process takes about three or tour hours, allow to cool on the back of your stove,
Prepare your jars, cleaned and ready to fill on the counter. When jam is cool enough to handle safely, fill jars close to the top of each jar. There are several ways to seal the jars, at this point, depending on how soon you will be eating the jam. If you intend to eat the jam right away, you can just put a regular lid on the jar. If you intend to keep the jam around for a while, you will want to seal the jams with canning wax.
These jams and preserves are so good and sweet, and so much better than store bought jellies, that I even use them, if I fancy up the containers, for Christmas gifts. This is a fairly easy recipe to do, and the results are superb.
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