Since we started selling our jams and jellies several years ago we have prided ourselves on kickin’ out old school jams without commercial pectin. Sure-Jell and similiar products make jamming easy but they also give you a jam that is too thick and overly sweet.
For example, the Sure-Jell strawberry jam recipe calls for 5 cups of berries and 7(!!) cups of sugar. Yikes. When we make strawberry jam we do a 2(ish):1 ratio – 5lbs berries to 2lbs sugar. We like to make the fruit the star of our jams, not the sugar.
How can we do that? We add lemon for natural pectin and we cook the fruit down. Way down. Like hours of stirring on the stove top. Our jams usually require 1-2.5 hours of cook time (with near constant stirring) depending on the natural pectin in the fruit we’re jamming. And then there is the time spent preparing the fruit and canning equipment and the actual processing time.
So, where am I going with all this? Remember 5 months ago I had a baby?
Recently, we occasionally started using flex pectin when jammin’ low pectin fruits. We can keep our jam to sugar ratio the same but by adding a little flex pectin we can speed up the time it takes the jam to set.
A couple of weeks ago one of our favorite customers seemed a bit dismayed when she noticed pectin on the list of ingredients in one of our jams. She mentioned that she had been telling a friend how much she liked our jams and how she loved we didn’t use pectin. It made me sad to hear her disappointment. We certainly don’t want to disappoint anyone!
But sometimes in life you make sacrifices.
After working an 8 hour day I’m much more interested in spending time with baby girl than I am with standing over the stove for 3 hours.
One day Ellie will be able to help me make jam and just thinking about that makes me tear up. Sharing something I love and teaching her the importance of saving the season is something I am looking forward to. But in the meantime, we’ll make this tiny sacrifice.