In the search for a healthier lifestyle, I was able to replace many ingredients such as flour, milk, and butter successfully. But sugar is at another level. Artificial sweeteners are even worse for our health and their taste is poor. Honey is good, but because of it’s texture and flavor it only works on specific recipes. The same goes for molasses and dry fruit.
All I wanted was to make jam without any kind of sugar. Until I found a way. This recipe is very simple and I love to make it. It doesn’t last long as it is made only with fruit, but in my opinion, it’s delicious and healthy. I have tried this recipe with strawberry and with guava, and it worked very well in both cases, so I decided to try with mixed berries this time.
So what is necessary to make jam?
The first thing I had to do was figure out the difference between jelly and jam.
Basically, they are the same form of preserve made using fruit, sugar, and pectin. The difference is that jelly uses the strained fruit juice and jam use the whole fruit.
The main focus when doing jam is pectin. They for a physical structure similar to a gel that gives jam its unique texture, and they are activated when sugar and the acids present in fruits interact with the help of heat. Heat helps release pectin from the fruit’s cell into any water added to the recipe. At this point, the pectin molecules need three things to bond back together. First is sugar that will bring the molecules together. The second part is water evaporation, the will bring everything even closer. And third, acidity, that will provide a good acid environment for the gelatination of pectin.
- 1 apple
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 lemon or lime
- 400 g berries fresh or frozen (or any other fruit)
- Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to taste
- Place the berries in a medium saucepan.
- Wash and cut the apple without peeling it. Remove the center and the seeds. Put enough water to be able to blend it. To make things easier, blend the lime juice together. The result will be a very thick juice.
- Add the juice to the berries and cook it on medium heat until the fruit begins to lose its shape and the liquid reaches a proper jam texture. I also added half of a cinnamon stick to the pot.
- If using powdered spices, be careful with the amount, as the flavor will intensify once the water evaporates.
- Once it cools down, the jam will be even thicker. Store the jar in the refrigerator.
The reason why this recipe works, even though there is no added sugar, is that apples are very high in pectin and also have a lot of natural sugar. The lime provides the necessary acidity and it also works as a preservative. Although it might take a little longer to achieve the proper texture if compared to regular jam, the longer it is exposed to heat – at the appropriate temperature, the more consistent it gets.
When you look at it, all you can see is a beautiful, nicely textured jam, with a few chunks of fruit. The color is beautiful and very true to the original fruits that were used. What I like the most about this jam is its taste. It not very sweet and you can clearly taste a hint of lime, which I am a big fan. The smell is of berries and cinnamon is probably one of my favorites. For me, it makes the house smell like a home.
The texture is very similar to regular jam, except you don’t get the residual sugar in the mouth. It is very fresh, as you can actually taste the fruits, the lime, and the cinnamon. The pieces of fruit will provide a slightly different texture, firmer and in the case of berries, you can sometimes hear as you bite into the now soft seeds.
This recipe is one of my favorites. It is made entirely of fruit, it is very light and fresh and it tastes great. It is also very versatile. I sometimes eat it as dessert, but it can also be served with yogurt, cakes, waffles, pancakes, and so much more.
As I mentioned before, this was the first time I used mixed berries to make this jam, and this was probably the best I have ever made. Texture and consistency are perfect and it tastes amazing. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the result.