Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Making Jam with Stevia



Several of you asked if I have a low or no sugar option for jam making. Or if I tried making jam sweetened with stevia.

I had not, though Regina, who wrote the series here on natural sugars, had shared her recipe with me. It did always bother me to dump cup after cup of sugar into a batch of jam. My alternative was to just stop eating jam. In the past few years we have eaten very little jam, saving it for only a rare occasion when I didn't really care if we consumed some sugar.





But this year we had a bumper blackberry and red raspberry crop. I thought that maybe I should try making some jam with stevia. So I called my friend Regina and asked her to tell me again how she made her stevia jam. With some trial and error (and a batch that was more like a raspberry syrup) I have some completely sugar-free jam that we love!















First I tried using blackberries. Since they were so seedy, I decided to strain out the seeds. I cooked the berries in a cup of water, then put them through a small food mill. If you didn't have a food mill, you could use a sieve.















I tried to get as much as the pulpy juice out as possible.



Then I cooked the pectin, stevia, and water for several minutes (detailed recipe below) and stirred it into the fruit juice. After cooling, I had a great blackberry jelly! And a berry stained bowl for the children to fight over who gets to lick clean!



For red raspberries, I wanted to use the whole fruit, without straining out the seeds. Using my food processor, I crushed the berries into a pulp.


















Then I measured out my berries and added the right amount of the pectic/stevia water.



















 It helps to have a willing helper for all the stirring!














Now they are in freezer containers and waiting for us to enjoy yummy berry goodness all winter!

Caution: Since this jam contains NO sugar, it may not keep as well as regular jam. Sugar does have a preserving affect, in other words, that huge amount of sugar in jam inhibits bacteria from growing. Without the massive amounts of sugar, this jam is more like fresh fruit, which obviously does have a shelf-life - even in the fridge.

From the research I've done, the recommendation is to not store in the refrigerator for longer than two weeks. Longer than that should be stored in the freezer. For my family, eating a container of jam in two weeks is no problem! I did push a container to the back of the fridge to see what it looked like in two weeks and there was no sign of mold or bacteria. So I think this can be safely used for a couple weeks.

Freezer Jam with Stevia

3 cups crushed fruit (or fruit juice/pulp if you have strained out seeds)
1 tsp pure powdered stevia
4 T low or no sugar pectin (Sure Gel or other brand, I like to buy it in bulk instead of the small boxes.)

1 cup water

Mix stevia, pectin, and water in a pan and bring to boil. Boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Pour into fruit and stir for four minutes. Pour into freezer containers and place in fridge. Cool for three hours. Freeze.

Option: Regina likes to add about 1/3 cup of sugar for added sweetness. I did not add any extra sugar. You may want to taste your fruit and adjust to your taste depending on the sweetness of your fruit.

Regina also added some water to her fruit, especially for strawberries and blueberries. Her children thought that it was too "fruity" and watering it down (maybe 2 cups of fruit and 1 cup of water to make 3 cups of crushed fruit) was more to their liking. Plus it helped stretch her fruit.

I'd love to hear your experience with making stevia jam!

18 comments :

  1. We have cut back on the amount of sugar we put into jams and jellies too. I have been using the Pomona Universal Pectin. It requires much less sugar and you can substitute honey or other sweeteners. We, so far, really like it. Enjoy your day and God bless.

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  2. Hi Gina,
    I've noticed the past 2 post you have substituted stevia for sugar. Since I was diagnosed with Diabetes a couple of years ago, I rarely serve jams and jellys. But my experience with Stevia has not been great. It left a nasty aftertaste in my mouth. Where do you get your stevia and what brand is it? Thanks, Kim Martin

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    Replies
    1. Kim -
      I know a lot of people complain about the aftertaste of stevia. I use the pure stevia from Berlin Seed that is supposed to have very little aftertaste. I have been very pleased with it. I use it in all my canning and have never had anyone think that it had an aftertaste. I do think I can taste the stevia when I use it in homemade lemonade. So for that I stevia to replace only half of the sugar which seems to work well for our family. I'd encourage you to try other brands until you find something that does work for you.
      Gina

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    2. I just started using stevia...wanted to for a long time but was just too skeptical. But I've been very happy with the NOW brand pure stevia extract that I ordered from Amazon. I haven't noticed any funny taste from it and I'm pretty picky about that kind of thing!

      I'm hoping to try the stevia jam next year Gina. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. trying it tonight with sure-jel pectin, and I think too I could add extra water

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  4. I am curious if you have tried to can your jam. I don't want to do the freezer jam, but instead do 4 ounce jars. Last year I got Damson Plums and made peach butter and such but I did it all with sugar and since then we found out my diabetes is not controlled any longer so I would love to make some with stevia this year. I am getting cherries in a few weeks and am excited to start my stevia canning but am super scared. I am enjoying seeing some of the stuff you have done.

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    Replies
    1. Virginia - I haven't tried canning it - but that is on my list of things to try! Let me know how it turns out for you!
      Gina

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    2. I am very interested in wether stevia can be used in canning jam. I used to make tons of jams and jellies each year, but I am doing Trim Healthy Mama eating now , and sugared jellies are not on plan. :/ I hate to let so much bounty go unused, and I'm gonna miss eating the berry jam goodness.

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    3. I hope you do some experimenting and discover some recipes that work for you!
      Gina

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  5. You can also make jam with low sugar, but it doesn't gel as jam does. The consistency is that of a very thick syrup with a lot of fruit flavour. It's really good. I've done mango jam, strawberry jam and saskatoon berry jam. I'd rather have the flavour of the berry then the sugar...

    example: for 5 1/2 pounds of blueberrys I used 1 3/4 cup sugar... It's delicious.

    I use steevia, but in my tea, never thought about it jam.. I'll try that next..

    GOD Bless you and your family

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  6. I'm so excited to be trying this soon!!

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  7. In my opinion the only stevia is KAL brand. There's no aftertaste and it's pure extract so it takes a minuscule amount. I use 1/2-3/4 teaspoon of it per gallon of iced tea and it is sweet.

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  8. I use sweet leaf pure stevia. I notice that your recipe says to use 1 tsp of pure stevia. The sweet leaf conversion to sugar for 1 tsp pure would be 4 cups of sugar. This seems like way to much to me. You would have more sugar than fruit. Can you tell me if this is correct? I order my stevia from sweet leaf as the kind that is sold here locally is not the pure I am referring to. I have also not notice any after taste in tea or recipes. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The kind of stevia I use has a conversion rate of 1 tsp stevia to 1 cup sugar. You'll need to adjust the stevia amounts for your kind of stevia.
      Gina

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  9. I agree 1 tsp pure powdered stevia, for 3 cups crushed fruit, as in the recipe, it appear to be too much for my jam... so I used 1/2 tsp. Still did taste a little bitter. I will use 1/4 tsp next time..
    Thanks to all and to Gina for the good info/suggestions.

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  10. I used chai seeds in place of pectin in my raspberry jam today. Worked great! =)

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  11. Hi Ursula. Could you give a recipe for you chai seed jam?

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  12. I use a crockpot full of blackberries, one grated apple, a few tablespoons of ground chia seeds and one cup of pure unrefined organic cane sugar. Let it cook on low (start on high) about 24 hrs and process in my water bath canner for 15 minutes as you would berries. It works well!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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