Jamming

September 17, 2010 in Blog Recipes, Cooking & Baking Hints, Diabetic Menu Item by Mary Ireland

One of my first acts of being an earth mother was making jam. I had always avoided any sort of canning or preserving because I didn't want to kill anyone. I guess I was sort of traumatized by all of the warnings against botulism. Then I discovered that one of my neighbors made jelly and I decided that I could do it too.

As one who avoided sugar most of her life, I was always reluctant to put so much sugar in something that I was making. I bought the "low sugar" pectin -- the one that calls for "only" 3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of fruit. (The sugar to fruit ratio varies depending on the fruit being used.) Some how I got over my reluctance and put the sugar in.

The instructions for making jam are very specific -- do not vary the amounts of sugar or fruit. To do so would inevitably result in the dire consequences of your jam not setting. Another instruction -- no double batching! Make only one batch at a time -- period. One day I discovered my husband double batching -- and his jam turned out just fine. As you are aware, generally there are people who follow the rules and those who don't. I decided to go to the dark side (those who don't) when it came to making jam.

I started experimenting and found that I could put "only" 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a recipe that called for 3 cups and the jam would set just fine. I didn't get as much jam, but that was okay. The jam that I did get was more fruity and tasty -- not like eating sugar that was fruit flavored.

If you have read the labels of commercially made jams, you are aware that most a made with high fructose corn syrup. See Dr. Grandma's blog Fighting Cancer One Plateful at a Time about the cancer and coronary risks associated with high fructose corn syrup.

When I went to work for Dr. Grandma's, I became very interested in Dr. Grandma's Delight Sweetener. It is an all-natural zero-calorie sweetener. I have always avoided artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes like the plague, but after reading Erythritol – the Coming Alternative to Simple Sugar and other articles on the erythritol, I started using it. Simply stated, you get the sweetness of sugar without the empty calories, the spike in blood sugar, the nasty after taste or all of the other side effects associated with other sweeteners.

As the summer rolled around and apricots began ripening, I started thinking about making jam with Delight. I have always loved apricot jam. It is my favorite and the favorite of most people that I gift with my jam. So when Dr. Grandma told me that her apricot trees were having a banner year and I should take some home with me, I decided I would experiment with making jam with Delight.

And experiment, I did. I tried making a batch with 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of Delight. It was very good. I tried making a batch with 2 1/2 cups of Delight - making it just as I would if I were using sugar. It was very good, but the jam crystallized when it was exposed to air. I tried a batch adding Delight at the end without cooking it. That batch tastes very good, although it does have a few crystals.

I will keep on experimenting and keep you updated with my latest findings. If you are a jammer and have experimented with Delight, please let us know what you tried and how it turned out. If you aren't interested in experimenting, try my Apricot Jam recipe. I'm so happy that I can have jam on my homemade bread in the morning without sending my blood sugar levels skyrocketing.