Thursday, September 13, 2012

no wonder we have a sugar addiction/crisis

                                                            © Andrzej5003 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

I have been steadily preserving the harvest for the last several years. I find pride in seeing my full jars lined up like little soldiers. There is nothing better than home canned fruits.

One thing that disturbs me is the amount of sugar in the jams and jellies. I made some raspberry jam a few years ago that was so over-the top sweet. I couldn't eat it. This comes from a woman who five years ago, could not get enough sugar, and nothing was too sweet. I was suprised to find something too sweet. It blew me away.  When you have sugar amounts that are more than double, sometimes nearly triple the amount of fruit, something is wrong. When I made jam this year, I was also shocked to see corn syrup in the recipe. I also noticed that my pectin has dextrose as the second ingredient. Dextrose is yet another sugar, and one that my body does not tolerate well.

I have been under the impression that to make safe jam and jelly you have to use the pectin and the recipes included with the little box of pectin.  My eyes have been opened.  My friend Caleb Warnock wrote about making very low sugar blackberry jam. 91/2 cups of berries and only 1 1/4 cup sugar. I was surprised, then I realized this is how jam used to be made. Take fruit at peak season and cook it down with a bit of sugar until the natural pectin comes out. What has happened to that? We got in a hurry!

I am ready to slow down and create real fruit jams. I have discovered that people are really busy and do not want to spend the time nor energy to make "real" jam and jelly. It is process that does take a bit of time and skill. It also can easily scortch and burn. I found that out the hard way when I wanted to make orange marmalade. The pectin box had no recipe. I got online and found several recipes that did not require pectin. I ended up burning the batch. I think I will take Caleb's advice and cook the jam in a slow oven, or in the crockpot. I look forward to creating and eating food the way it was meant to be.

I have included a link to that post by Caleb below (Oh how I wish I could have attended his class where he was teaching about the jams and jellies)

Caleb Warnock low sugar blackberry jam

also a link to a previous post about the cornsyrup in my jam


  1. It has always bothered me that there is more sugar in jam that fruit. When I buy jam, which isn't very often because I make it, I usually but the kind that is all fruit. Next time a make jam, I am going to have to try this way. I may be calling you for help. (it won't be this year, I can barely find time to make dinner, let alone jam, but next year when they baby is bigger, I will be at it again.)


  2. I have been experimenting with jam making two because I don't like so much sugar in jam. I have used the low sugar pectin and been pretty happy with that but I want to try using no pectin at all as well as using honey for the extra sweetener. I did some experimenting with green apples in my jam but I don't think I cooked it long enough.

  3. This is great! I have not made any jam or jelly this year because of the high high quantities of sugar. I will definitely have to try this! Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday.