Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nectarine Freezer Jam

I've been wanting to test out Pomona pectin for quite a while now. It's a type of pectin that allows the cook to use even less sugar than regular pectin and would also allow for the use of alternative sweeteners such as agave nectar, honey, fruit juice, or stevia (shudder). There is an extra step because you have to mix up and add some calcium water, but it's not a big deal at all.

I've also never tried my hand at any kind of jam before, and thought that freezer jam would be a good place to start. I just don't want to mess with the boiling and the worry about safety.

It was the last week of RAMA farm nectarines and it seemed a good way to hold onto a bit of summer by transforming them into jam. Elspeth and Evan were asking to eat it from a spoon, so I'd say the end result is worthwhile.

I didn't stray from the recipe and directions offered on the Pomona pectin package. Though I had intended a no-cook freezer jam, Pomona recommends a brief cooking of peaches (and nectarines, I extrapolated), so I did that. I chose evaporated cane juice as my sweetener, figuring I can branch out to more exotic sweeteners next time if I so choose.

The Pomona pectin is highly effective, so on future occasions, I'd rein in the amount of calcium water I add.

INGREDIENTS
1 package Pomona pectin
4 cups nectarines, lightly mashed (I admit, I put slices in the food processor and pulsed to create a rather irregular texture that I think works just fine. The option recommended elsewhere was to use a pastry cutter, which I would have done if I owned one)
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice sugar
3/4 c. boiling water

DIRECTIONS
  1. Prepare 5-6 one-cup glass jars with lids (they don't need to be sterilized, but they should be very clean)
  2. Follow the Pomona pectin package instructions for making up the calcium water
  3. Place the nectarine mixture in a saucepan and heat until boiling, then boil for 2 minutes
  4. Pour this into a large bowl and let it cool
  5. Once it has cooled, add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring well
  6. Boil the water and then add it to the food processor you used for the nectarines, or a blender
  7. To the water, add 4 tsp Pomona pectin powder (or whatever it says on the package), and then process/blend until the powder is dissolved
  8. Stir pectin mixture into nectarines, making sure it is well mixed
  9. Add 4 teaspoons of calcium water, stirring well. Gel should begin to form on the sides of the bowl--I would recognize this better a second time around. If you aren't seeing gel, you can add up to 8 tsp more of the calcium water, one teaspoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Only add as much calcium water as you need for a somewhat loose jelly
  10. Pour the nectarine jam into your prepared glass jars and freeze until solid
  11. Freezer jam should be kept in the freezer until you want to use a jar. After opening, it can keep up to a week in the fridge

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