Reduced sugar Microwave jam with regular Ball Real Fruit Pectin
About two weeks ago I wrote to Ball to ask about using their Real Fruit Pectin for microwave jam. I got a reply back saying that the product had not been tested for that.
Well, there is only one way to find out. I made some strawberry jam that was surprisingly good. This afternoon, I made peach jam with finely diced candied ginger in it.
I used the proportions in the drop down menu from Ball on its web site that is labeled "How much Pectin." You actually get complete fruit recipes. But I followed the microwave procedure from a recipe I got off the net for microwave peach jam.
In brief, prepare the fruit and mix with lemon juice (and whatever else you add--be it amaretto or ginger or whatever). Cook it on high for about four minutes, stir it and cook it until it comes to a full boil. About eight minutes total. Gradually stir in the pectin(so it doesn't clump) and bring back to a full boil for a minute. Add all the sugar at once and bring back to a full boil and boil hard for a minute. I think this took about an additional six minutes. I tested by letting it sheet off a spoon.
I used four cups of fruit, which Ball's recipe indicated was for six jars of jam. But I only got five. Duh. If you reduce the sugar by two cups total, you are going to get a cup less jam. So I think Ball needs to re-edit that page. Still, it is good to know it works.
I water bath sealed mine. But one could easily make a small batch with only a jar or two of jam and keep it in the fridge.
It doesn't look like anyone is interested in this thread. But I will add to it because I was experimenting today. I wondered how well this procedure would go with frozen, unsweetened fruit. So I bought a five pound bag of sliced peaches from Gordon Food Services. I let it thaw in the fridge, In small batches I cut it up by pulsing in the food processor. Inevitably, a few slices remained intact and others were practically pureed. Next time I think I will only partially thaw the fruit and then finish dicing them with a knife. I measured the amount of resulting fruit, and I got a little over eight and a half cups. Four cups seems to be about the upper limit for microwave jam making, so I decided to make two batches from it. Because the frozen fruit contains ascorbic, citric, and malic acids to prevent discoloration, I reduced the amount of lemon juice by about 1/3 of what is given for the peach jam recipe on the Ball website. In the final jam, the ascorbic acid and citric acid are still a bit assertive, so next time I will cut it in half. I added two ounces of finely diced, candied ginger. Though I used the reduced sugar option, because the fruit was slightly more than than what the recipe called for, I increased the sugar by 1/2 cup total and the pectin by one teaspoon total (or 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pectin respectively for each batch). Again, judging what constituted a hard boil was difficult. Unlike oatmeal porridge, which will practically crawl out of the bowl at a hard boil, the most this did was begin to roil a bit. I got a total of eleven cups of jam plus one slice of fruit that had survived the food processor which I fished out in case it wasn't cooked all the way through. After removing the jars from the canning bath, I noted that the top halves of the jars have lots of fruit bits in it and the bottom halves look like clear jelly. It seems to me I read someplace once that it is a good idea to let the jam sit for a few minutes after cooking, then to stir it to redistribute the fruit, and then pack. I'll open it in a week and see how it is. I put the extra two ounces from the batch into a custard cup. Apart from the more assertive acid flavor this time, it is a pretty good match to the batch I made from fresh fruit last week.