So continues my quest for jam perfection! Along with the large amount of blueberries I purchased a few days ago, I also made a trip to the Farmer's Market and bought some beautiful peaches. I decided to experiment with my bounty and made some beautiful and tasty sugar free jams!
First off, being diabetic, I am always looking for an alternative to sugar. I have found what I consider the golden child of sugar substitutes! Xylitol is an all natural sweetener derived from fruits and vegetables. It has little to no effect on my blood sugar and it substitutes 1 to 1 for sugar in most recipes. I love it because it has no weird aftertaste and it is all-natural. I order my xylitol online.
Although xylitol works as a great sugar substitute, I was not sure how it would work in jam. When making jam, you usually add pectin....of course you can cook down the jam without pectin, but this takes much longer and I just don't have that kind of patience! Store bought pectin has added sugar to help with the gelling and the preservation of the jam. This creates a dilemma when using a sugar substitute. I have read that it is possible to make jam using pectin and sugar substitutes but most recipes recommend doing this as a freezer jam. I was interested in doing canned jam so I did a little research on making sugar-free jam and found this wonderful product...
Pomona's Universal Pectin is wonderful! Use it for making low-sugar, no sugar added, and sugar free (using sugar substitute) jam. You can use any kind of sugar substitute including splenda, stevia, xylitol, and honey. The pectin is easy to use and just has one extra step that is different from other store bought pectin. I purchased this at our local natural foods store, but I think you can order it online as well!
So...here is the recipe I used for my sugar free jam. I halved the suggested recipe in the Pomona's insert and made half batches of each blueberry and peach. The recipe listed below is for the half batch.
Sugar-Free Jam (using xylitol)
Before you start jamming, prepare the Pomona's Pectin Calcium Water following the directions in the box insert. The calcium water is shown in the picture above, it keeps for months in the fridge and you only use a small amount per recipe, so you will only need to do this step once.
2 cups mashed berries or peaches
2 tbls lemon juice
3/4 cup xylitol (use less or more depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon Calcium water (for blueberry jam) or 2 teaspoons calcium water (for peach jam)
1 teaspoon Pectin powder (for blueberry jam) or 1.5 teaspoons Pectin powder (for peach jam)
1. Prepare canner and jars.
2. Measure fruit and place in a large stainless steel pot, add lemon juice.
3. Add calcium water and stir well.
4. Measure xylitol in a separate bowl and add pectin powder, mix well.
5. Bring fruit mixture to a boil.
6. Add xylitol/pectin powder to fruit mixture and stir vigorously until pectin is dissolved.
7. Return to a boil and boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
8. Fill hot jars with 1/4" headspace, seal with lids and boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Follow your canner recommendations for processing jams.
I filled 4 oz jars, since I don't eat a ton of jam, these sizes work better for me (and they make the cutest gifts!). I yielded three 4 oz jars of peach with a little left over and four 4oz jars of blueberry with a little left over. They taste amazing! I am pretty darn proud of myself being that this is the very first time I have experimented with sugar free jams!