Today I would love to share the recipe for my favorite mixed fruit jam – made without adding commercial fruit pectin (an ingredient used to thicken and gel jams, jellies and preserves). Its delicious and flavor-packed. It has only three major ingredients – the fruits, sugar and lemon. Its easy to make and has a shelf-life of at least 1 month in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Ingredients (Makes about 1.5 cups)
1. Strawberries – 2 cups, washed, hulled and roughly chopped
Blueberries – 1 cup
Apple – 3 small, peeled and cut into chunks
Watermelon – 1.5 cup, cut into chunks
Banana – 1 small
Other fruits that you can use – Mango, papaya, pineapple etc
2. Sugar – 3/4 – 1 cup
Lemon juice – 3 tbsp
Cloves – 1 – 2 crushed, cinnamon stick – 1 inch
3. Salt – 1 pinch (optional, to balance the flavors)
1. Coarsely grind the fruits in 1 – 2 batches in the large jar of a mixie or in a food processor. Transfer it to a saucepan and add sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. taste-check for sugar. Cook for around 45 minutes – 1 hour (timing may vary depending on the type and moisture content of the fruits that are used) at low-medium heat stirring often until thick (Stir continuously during the last 15 – 20 minutes. To reduce the cooking time, cook it on medium-high heat but stir continuously). Remove the cinnamon stick when it starts thickening. Add a pinch of salt when it starts to thicken, but that’s optional.
To test for jelling – Once the jam thickens, test for jelling. Place a tsp of the jam on a cold plate and see if its holding shape. If it is runny and saucy, cook for some more time. OR Place a small plate in the freezer while the jam is cooking. When the jam starts to thicken, put a small amount of the jam onto the plate and place it back in the freezer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, press the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles it’s done. OR you should be able to run your finger through the middle of the jam and it should stay put.
It will thicken more as it cools. While still warm transfer to clean, dry bottles and cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
1. Different fruits contain different levels of natural pectin, so if you want to make a jam with all low-pectin fruits, consider adding lemon juice or some high-pectin fruits into the mix to help with the gelling.
High Pectin Fruits – Lemon, Apples (especially tart apples), raspberries, blackberries, currants, cranberries, concord grapes, plums etc
Low Pectin Fruits – Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches etc
2. Sugar acts like a preservative and is crucial for the jam to gel properly so do not reduce it considerably. Also slightly under-ripe fruit contains more natural pectin than ripe fruit so you can use a mix of few under-ripe and ripe fruits for your jam.
3. Do not be tempted to make this in large batches as it may not set.