Certain people are skeptical about adding pectins in their jams. Maybe because the practice diverts from the classical method? There are folks who look suspiciously at those pouches filled with that strange powder. When I explain that pectins are naturally contained in fruits, the interlocutor relaxes his/her face and comments with relief: “good to hear, I thought they were chemical substances!”. Well, actually, they are: pectins are chemical compounds as we are made by atoms and molecules.
If you never used pectins for preparing your jams, give them a chance: they will make your life so much easier. Not that making a jam is such a complex task, but, doubtlessly, you have to stay home for half a day, at least. On the other hand, you can get your jam ready in a couple of minutes by using pectins. Not to mention that color and flavour of the fruit will be preserved.
So, I rolled my sleeves up and tried both types of pectins: LM and HM. Despite my belief, I achieved better results with the LM type. To be honest, I must admit I have used the LM pectin for a nectarine jam, while the HM type for a strawberry one. Testing the two different pectins on the same type of fruit would have had more sense, but I just wanted to give it a try.
Actually, just one thing puzzled me. The recipe of the strawberry jam, the one where I used the HM pectin, claimed for an exaggerated, at least to me, amount of sugar. 1.4 Kg of sugar for 550 g of strawberries!!! I double check the recipe, I swear the dose was that. Now, the beauty of pectin is the possibility of using much less sugar, compared to the classic method. I didn’t dare to cut the dose in half as the instructions discouraged to do that: “the jam might not set!” So, the booklet pontificated... The more sugar I added the more I got paler and scared. Meanwhile, my pancreas got a head start with the production of insulin ;D
I tasted it: so sweet to make you sick. Look, I am the kind of persons loving treats and sweet stuff, but this jam was too much even for me…I am still thinking what to do with that…I can get diabetes just staring at it :P
On the other hand, the recipe with the LM pectin had much less sugar (400 g). Along with the LM pectin, I found a pouch of monocalcium phosphate (from that I understood it was an LM type), which was included in the box. The calcium salt must be diluted in water and added to the fruit pulp. I think I will keep using this kind of pectin, at least until I will find a better HM type.
Therefore, I leave you just the recipe of the nectarine jam, as the strawberry one is definitely too sweet, at least for my taste.
Nectarine jam (doses for about 1.5 L of jam)
- 1 L of blended nectarine pulp
- 400 g of sugar
- 60 mL of lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons of LM type pectin
- 2 teaspoons of calcium water
Prepare calcium water. If you purchased a LM type pectin, you should find a pouch of calcium salt (monocalcium phosphate, in my case) included. Dissolve it in water as reported in the instructions (in my case, 1/2 teaspoon of calcium salt in 125 mL of water). You will obtain a milky liquid, which can be stored in fridge, in a clean jar closed with a screw cap, for about a month. Monocalcium phosphate is not very soluble in water and tends to precipitate. Always shake the calcium water before use.
Weigh the sugar and mix it with pectin. Put aside.
Transfer the nectarine pulp in a large pot, add the lemon juice and add two teaspoons of calcium water. Stir well and bring to boil. Add the sugar with the pectin. Stir vigorously and bring to boil. After 1-2 min, remove the jam from the stove, cover it with a lid and let it cool down.
The jam will jell as it cools down. Therefore, do not worry if the jam doesn’t set as soon as you remove it from the stove.
I usually store my jam in fridge for 2-3 days and I use it to fill pies and tarts. Actually, jams do not last long in our home :)
Which types of pectins do you use? Do you have any recipe to recommend?