I like to have a little jam or marmalade with my morning toast. My toast slices are very small and I only use maybe a half teaspoon at a time, but it's a nice touch of indulgence.
If you live in an area where fresh fruit is plentiful in the summer months, making your own jam is very economical. Also, you can be absolutely sure of what is in it, and you can use the sweetener of your choice. However, when you want a jam that doesn't have a lot of sweetener or artificial ingredients but still manages to thicken, it can get a bit tricky.
I tried various recipes, but most rely on lots of sugar or adding pectin which often also contains sugar. Finally I decided to just make up my own simple recipe. I mainly stick to berries since these are the fruit usually recommended for a lower carb diet and so far it's worked very well.
This is not a jam I make in large quantities because it doesn't keep for any length of time. (Also I don't want to be eating a lot of it.) I prefer to freeze my fruit and berries and make it when I need it. Then I can divide it into small freezer containers and just keep one in the fridge while freezing the rest.
Also, when you first make it you might think that it won't be thick enough, but because of the gelatine (which is also very good for you) once it's been in the fridge for a while it will thicken up nicely.
- 4 cups crushed fruit and juice
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 package Knox gelatine
- Crush your fruit either by hand or use your food processor. You want the fruit to be broken down but still a little chunky.
- Place a small plate or saucer into your freezer (for testing).
- Put all the ingredients into a heavy pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting so the jam is just bubbling, then let it cook until the mixture starts to thicken. This can take anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes, depending on how much juice you have from your fruit, so just leave it to bubble away and check it every once in a while.
- When you think it's ready, take the plate out of the freezer and drop a little jam onto it. When it cools you will be able to test the thickness with your finger. (Getting to lick your finger is one of the perks of making jam!)
- Once the jam is finished, pour into small glass jars leaving room at the top for expansion, then cover and refrigerate until needed. You can also use plastic freezer containers but if you do, let the jam cool first before pouring into the container.
Because this jam is all natural ingredients, it will only keep in the fridge for a week or two, so if you've made more than you and your family can eat in this time, just leave one container in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer.
If you would really like to have a bit of healthy jam but just don't have the time or inclination to make your own, here are a few that I've tried and liked :
Making your own jam isn't for everyone, but you can still indulge once in a while if you read the labels and make sure you get some that is as close to home made as possible. After all, it's not like you're going to make a meal of it, and a little jam can go a long way to sweeten your day.