Once or twice a year, Andrew and I embark on some sort of canning adventure. In the summer, usually it’s berry jam, in the fall applesauce. But this year, our CSA had a bumper crop of apricots! So off we went to pick 30 lbs of loving fruit and quickly after the kids went to bed, we got started jamming up these ‘cots. Each time I “jam” I learn something new, so I hope if you are a fellow canner, you can gleam some helpful hints! I highly recommend this site if you are looking for a great step by step how to on canning and making jam.
First of all, I discovered Ponoma’s Pectin – yay! This pectin allows you to make jam with as much or as little added sweetener as you want. I didn’t know this before, but normal pectin needs a 1/1 ratio (typically) to gel or set the jam. When you use a “low sugar” pectin, you can decrease the amount of added sugar. This can get tricky unless you have a solid recipe to follow. Hence, the Ponoma Pectin filled in nicely here. (I’m not making money on this product I promise!). I appreciated the instructions included in their box. There was a recipe for just about any type of jam you’d like to make, and a ration of how much pectin you need depending on how much sweetener you want to use. So, for example, I was able to make a few jars using honey instead of sugar, a few using maple syrup, and a few using just a juice concentrate. Each one was super tasty and we certainly didn’t miss the usual buckets of refined white sugar that I used to use when making jam.
And, we aren’t quite done with our apricots. Next we’re going to do some apricot nectar, apricot fruit snacks, and apricot purees. For the price of one of those baby fruit packets from the store, you can score a whole pound of apricots! That makes a lot of baby “food” puree. Woohoo!