Interested in a delicious, naturally sweetened jam that only takes 8 minutes to make? Well, here it is!
For a long time I couldn’t bring myself to make jam – it just uses so much sugar and is sickly sweet (and as you’ve probably figured out by now, I don’t like refined sugar)!
I’d heard that if you wanted to use a natural sweetener (or no sweetener) to make jam, you needed apple pectin (which I couldn’t find anywhere) or you could make your own from apples (which I couldn’t be bothered doing)… Then I found a jam recipe in the “My Way of Cooking” Thermomix cookbook that solved the problem for me! Amongst the variations listed, it said you could use honey or other sugars, or even no sugar, if you used *agar-agar powder. Yippee!! I immediately made about four batches of apricot and honey jam with some organic apricots I had in the freezer, and it was lovely… The only problem was I made too much at once, and it didn’t keep well in the cupboard – a lot of it went mouldy, despite being in sealed jars. This is because the sugar in the jam is what preserves it, and the small amount of honey I used just wasn’t enough.
So I learnt my lesson, and now I only make small batches at a time (500g of fruit), and keep them in the fridge. When jam only takes eight minutes to make, it really isn’t a hassle to make some whenever you need it. (If you have an abundance of fruit, you can prepare it and freeze it in 500g amounts, ready to thaw and make jam when needed.)
The strawberry jam in the photo above was made just before some visitors arrived – I whipped up some spelt scones in the Thermomix, popped them in the oven, and the jam was ready by the time the scones were cooked. It was still hot and a bit runny when the visitors arrived, but we didn’t mind – we just spooned it over the scones and it tasted delicious! After about an hour in the fridge the jam was nice and firm (see photo above). I love the way the natural flavour of the fruit shines through in this jam – it doesn’t taste like flavoured sugar, it tastes like strawberries! The only problem is that you may not be able to stop eating it – we ate the whole batch in one day – half of it on scones, and the other half on a strawberry shortcake.
You can of course use any fruit you like, and any sweetener to taste, or no sweetener at all! Some fruits are nice with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to add some tartness.
Update: I now make this jam with powdered gelatine, same amount as the agar, as gelatine is very healing for the gut. Either will work.
* You can buy agar-agar in small packets from health food shops, and the health food section of some supermarkets, or online.
- 500g strawberries (or other fruit)
- 100g Rapadura or 50g honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons agar-agar powder or good quality gelatine (eg. Great Lakes)
- Before you begin, place a saucer into the freezer for testing the jam on.
- Wash out your jam jars thoroughly with hot soapy water and rinse well with hot water. Set aside.
- Place fruit in Thermomix bowl and chop roughly on speed 4 for 3-5 seconds, depending how chunky you want it.
- Add rapadura or honey, and agar or gelatine powder and cook 8 mins/100C/rev/speed 2.
- Test if the jam is set by placing 1/2 tsp of jam onto the cold saucer. When it is cool, push it with your finger. If the jam wrinkles, it's ready. If not, add a pinch more agar/gelatine, and cook for another 2 minutes, then re-test.
- When jam is set, pour into 2 hot rinsed jars with twist-off lids and close immediately. Turn jars upside down for 10 minutes.
- If you prefer your jam smooth, cook without the reverse, and puree on speed 8 when you're done.
- Store jam in the fridge for up to one month. This jam cannot be stored in the pantry.
Don’t you love how simple it is? I’m so glad I can make my own, healthy jams now with seasonal fruits, instead of buying the commercial, over-priced, naturally-sweetened jams!
Leave a comment and let me know what variations you try and what you like best!