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Jul 6, 2009 06:21 AM

My jam tastes like a gummy bear!

My mom used to make strawberry jam without pectin which has a softer set and while I have this recipe, I don't have any recipes for other fruit. I tried using commercial pectin--the standard kind uses too much sugar and the no sugar kind set too much like a commercial jelly--there seemed to be too much jelly to fruit for a real jam. Can anyone recommend a good cookbook for these type of old-style no pectin or maybe reduced pectin preserves? The strawberry that I like has the consistency of liquid plumber gel formula at room temp but fully sets in the fridge--when it hits bread it just sort of melts in except for the strawberry chunks.

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  1. See if you can find a copy of the Woman's Home Companion Cook Book. I have an edition from the mid-nineteen forties. It has a great chapter on preserving foods that contains lots of useful information about jam/jelly making, including the natural pectin levels of various fruits and the proper amounts of sugar to use with each. I don't think any of the recipes there, or "methods" for making jams, jellies or preserves call for added commercial pectin...

    1. Google sundried strawberry preserves. Almost all fruit when finished, little cooking needed.
      Used to do the drying under screens off the back porch. If you cannot find a recipe, post that and l will try to dredge up mine. Comes out very, very strawberryish with little glop.

      1. Old-time cooks used to cook apple peel with the fruit, which extracted the pectin and didn't add sugar or interfere with the fruit's own taste. I saw it done as a child but can't help with the details.

        1. I found a recipe for three cups of sugar per one quart of strawberries. I mashed up the strawberries with the sugar in the pan, and then kept it on the stove until it reached 220'. It set up well upon cooling and approved by my roommates.

          Don't know if that helps. I haven't found that I've needed to add additional pectin using this method.

          1. I'm not sure if the sugar thing is going to be an issue here, but I've had luck with equal parts sugar and crushed fruit and the zest of a lemon or two. The lemon peel has natural pectin, and you can cook it until it's the consistency you like. I recently made a four-berry jam with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Hope that helps!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Caffeine826

              Raspberries especially have a lot of natural pectin, blueberries and blackberries have some too, so unfortunately you can't sub all strawberries in your method and yield the same results.

              BUT if the OP keeps her jam in the freezer instead of canning it, she doesn't have to worry about pectin and can do whatever she wants. This would be for personal use only, up to a year or so.