How to make jam using home made pectin

Today we are talking jam!! With this recipe, we can jam any fruit with varying amounts of pectin using just a handful of ingredients. Pectin is essential for setting jams to the right consistency and it occurs in varying amounts in different fruits (Google is your friend to understand the pectin content of different varieties of fruit). For example, pineapples, apples, lemons etc are high in pectin. Berries, however, happen to have medium amounts of pectin and mangoes are quite low, so they need a bit of help in the pectin department. While you can buy pectin and use according to the packet instructions, making some from scratch is such a beautiful and easy way to make just enough to suit your jam making needs and not worry about leftover store bought pectin pointlessly taking up space in your cupboard. It really is as easy as is simmering some apples in water low and slow until they fall apart and leave you with pectin using which you can make all the jam that your heart desires:)

Ingredients for Home-made pectin (yields about 230-250 ml; enough for make jam with about 1 kilo of fruit)

  • 2 apples (tart unripe apples are best but any variety will work beautifully; I usually go for granny smith or green apples for this.
  • 400 ml water

Instructions

  • Chop the apples and throw all of the peel, core, seeds and the meat of the fruit into a non reactive pot.
  • Add in the water and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer away for 1 hour to 1.5 hours stirring every 10 minutes to ensure that the apples don’t catch at the bottom of the pan and burn.
  • Once the apples are really mushy and completely fallen apart, pour it over a sieve lined with a piece of cheese cloth and let it stand at room temperature overnight or until all of the pectin drips into a container; you should end up with about 220 – 250 ml from 2 apples.
  • You can use it immediately as needed or store in the freezer until ready to use.

Thoughts on pectin making

If you watch my YouTube video, you might wonder why we make the pectin separately; why not simmer the apples along with the strawberries or the mangoes. This is because it takes a while to extract the pectin and is cooked at a low temperature for an hour or so and jamming is cooked at higher temperature until it’s set. Also, so much of the pectin comes from the cores and seeds that it would be a waste to not use them; but using them would be a pain as well. Thirdly, cooking fruits for too long reduces some of the nutrients drastically and therefore, I don’t want to cook my fruits any longer than it is necessary. You see, I want my jam as nutritious and vibrant as possible 🙂

Ingredients for strawberry jam

  • 500 grams of hulled strawberries
  • 500 grams of granulated sugar
  • Juice from 1/2 – 1 Lemon
  • 120-130 ml of pectin (made with 1 apple and 200 ml water)

Instructions

  • Quarter the strawberries and place them in a deep non reactive pot.
  • Add in the sugar, stir well and let the strawberries macerate for at least an hour stirring it 2-3 times to help the sugar dissolve. This step will soften the fruit and let all of the juices ooze out of the berries. If you choose to blend the berries, you can omit this step and add the sugar when you are ready to make your jam. This is the perfect amount of time to prepare your pectin.
  • Once the pectin is ready, add in about 120 ml or half a cup of pectin.
  • Now add in the lemon juice; add from half a lemon, taste a little and add more if you like.
  • Bring it to a boil and reduce to medium-high heat.
  • Boil away stirring every 3-4 minutes to ensure it does not catch and burn.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 70-90°C and sterilise the jam jars by washing them with soap and very hot water and placing them upside down including the lids until completely dry. Leave them in the hot oven until your jam is cooked and ready to bottle.
  • Cut baking parchment into discs about the size of the mouth of the jar and place it in the oven.
  • If oven safe, sterilise your measuring cup following the same instructions as your jam jar.
  • Also, place a couple of plates in the fridge to test whether the jam is set.
  • Boiling rapidly, cook the jam until it reaches setting point. Allow it to stand briefly and skim any scum from the surface.
  • Now pour a bit of jam onto the chilled plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  • Once chilled, push with a spoon or your finger and if you see wrinkles form, your jam is ready. If not, turn the heat back on and boil. Check every 5 minutes until done and remember to turn it off while checking to ensure that your jam doesn’t over-reduce.
  • Once the jam is cooked, let it stand for a minute and then pour into dry and sterilised jars until you are left with no more than 1 cm of space on top.
  • Ensuring that the mouth of the jar is clean and devoid of any spilled jam, top with baking parchment discs and seal tightly with sterilised lids.
  • Leave it to cool at room temperature undisturbed overnight.
  • Once cooled, label them with the use by date, store in a cool and dark place for up to a year and enjoy.

Ingredients for mango jam

  • 500 grams peeled and diced mangoes
  • 330 grams sugar
  • Juice from 1/2 – 1 Lemon
  • 120-130 ml of pectin (made with 1 apple and 200 ml water)

Notes for mango jam.

  • Ensure that your mangoes are sweet and not a fibrous variety. Ensure that you chop your mango into 1 cm pieces, chopping the mango is crucial to ensure that the jam is not of stringy consistency. A stringy jam is taste just as good but it will be a bit messy to scoop and spread.
  • Mangoes are a sweet fruit and you can get a lovely jam using sugar that is half to 2/3rds of the fruit in weight. But with reduced sugar, the shelf life will reduce to about 6 to 9 months.
  • Follow the exact recipe as the strawberry jam and enjoy the taste of ripe mangoes all through the autumn and winter months until it’s time to make more jam 🙂

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