Not long after I began my journey to a healthier life, I began canning some of my own food. At first, it was applesauce. Then peaches in a honey-sweetened syrup. Eventually, I decided it was time to start making my own jams and jellies so that I could control the sugar content and once again be able to enjoy these tasty little treats!
Learning to Make Jam & Jelly with Honey
My goal was to not only lower sugar content, but I also wanted to learn how to use alternative sweeteners. Step by step, I blundered my way through the jam making process. Turning my back on modern methods that required loads of granulated sugar to get a proper set, I set my sights on learning to use old fashioned, jam-making methods!
And I did learn to make jam in a traditional manner, sweetening with honey and relying on natural pectin found within the various fruits. Long cooking times were required and while the jams didn’t have the same bright, fresh flavor, at least I had low-sugar jam by the end!
But then one blessed day, I discovered Pomona’s Pectin. And that changed my whole approach to making low sugar jams with alternative sweeteners!
What Is Pomona’s Pectin?
Unlike the pectin you’ll find on the grocery store shelves, Pomona’s Pectin doesn’t need loads of white sugar to make it thicken and set. Instead of relying on sugar, Pomona’s relies on calcium water and a citrus-based pectin for it’s gelling qualities.
Because sugar isn’t part of the equation, you can make sweeten homemade jams and even jellies with anything that suits your fancy! Honey. Maple syrup. Stevia extract. Agave syrup. You can even leave it completely unsweetened!
Note: I do usually add a bit of sweetener to my fruit jams. When there is no added sugar, your jams will mold very quickly (7-10 days), even when stored in the refrigerator! If you decide to NOT add any form of sugar, be sure to preserve your jam in very small jars!
How Pomona’s Pectin Works
The process is very simple. Any time you order Pomona’s Pectin, you get a full sheet of instructions and recipes! For information purposes, I’ll give you a quick breakdown here!
- Measure your fruit into a large pot and heat it up on the stove top
- Once the fruit is warm, you’ll want to lightly mash it to release juices
- If your recipe requires lemon juice for extra acidity, measure and mix it in now.
- Bring the mashed fruit to a boil, being careful to avoid hot splatters! Oven mits are usually a good idea for this part of the process!
- Measure out ½ teaspoon of calcium power and mix it into ½ C water.
- As per the recipe, you’ll then add several teaspoons of the calcium water to your fruit and stir it in well.
- Measure out your sweetener (or water if you aren’t adding any form of sugar) and add several teaspoons of the citrus pectin to it. Mix in well.
- Stir your pectin-loaded sweetener (or water) into the fruit and wait for it to boil once again. Be sure to stir occasionally.
- When it does boil, turn the burner off and remove the pot from the heat source. Over-cooking will actually break down Pomona’s Pectin!
- From here, you simply follow standard canning procedure: fill hot jars, wipe rims and add lids.
- Processing times are given on your Pomona’s Pectin instructional sheet.
After the timer goes and you’ve pulled jars from your waterbath canner, let the jars sit undisturbed for 12 hrs or until cool.
Test the lids for a seal and then? You’ve got a delicious stash of homemade jams, sweetened with alternative sweeteners!
Where Can I Find Pomona’s Pectin?
While you can purchase the product in little boxes, I recommend it in 1/2 lb or even 1 lb packages. You’ll save more than a few dollars this way, and you won’t have to worry about buying pectin for several years! Always a bonus in my mind!
How Many Jars of Jam Will One Bulk Purchase Make?
Based on last year’s canning, I estimate that my ½ lb bulk package of Pomona’s will last me for 4-5 years if I make 21 pint (500ml) jars of jam per year. Not a bad deal, hey?
So now that you know how to make low sugar jam with alternative sweeteners, what do you think? Is it your lucky year to give Pomona’s Pectin a try?