Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sugarless Blackberry Jelly - the Update

A while back I posted about trying to find the perfect sugarless jelly recipe. I had come across Pomona Pectin, a product that says it will set jams and jellies without the need for sugar. I promised to report back once I'd tried it out, so here it is. I apologize as it's been a while, but I wanted to test a couple of batches and get a number of opinions. Luckily most people won't say no to a request to eat some jelly.

The Verdict:
The Pomona Pectin worked just like they said it would. It was easy, pretty unfiddly and there were no failed settings (like Ive had with pectin-sugar combinations).
The texture was pretty good. I thought it was maybe a wee bit gelatin-like, but people told me I was being too picky and thought it was the same as jellies set with sugar.
Taste? Freaking delicious. It was fresh, intense and tart, just like blackberries straight from the bush. It was tart even to my sugar deprived taste buds (since being off sugar, things taste a lot sweeter to me than to people on the typical Western Diet) but the tasters said that once they got it on their usual whatever-they-normally-put-jelly-on vehicle, that the tartness didn't matter.

So, as promised, here's how to make sugarless blackberry jelly.

Make the juice: 
Pick blackberries, 75% perfectly ripe, 25% slightly under ripe.
I found that the juice from the perfectly ripe blackberries was a little boring and the jelly didn't have the full blackberry flavour I was looking for. You may beg to differ.

Gently wash and pick over the berries then put them in a large pot. Pour in just enough water that the berries don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Place them on the stove at medium high until they come to a boil, then turn the heat down and allow them to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the berries are falling apart. I usually use a potato masher to help break up the berries.

Once the berries are mushy, pour the contents of the pot into a cheesecloth bag and hang over a large bowl to collect the blackberry juice. Let drip for several hours. You can freeze the juice for later jelly making if you wish or proceed to making jelly now.

Make the jelly:
Remember you can scale this recipe to any amount of juice you have as the Pomona Pectin is not finicky about amounts. Make up calcium water as described in the Pomona Pectin instructions. Clean and sterilize your jars, lids and rings.

To a large pot add:
  • 7.5cups blackberry juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
bring to a boil then turn heat down and allow to fast simmer for about 5 minutes. This is to further concentrate the blackberry flavour and add some sterilization. 

Add 7 teaspoons Pomona Pectin to 3/4 cup boiling water and blend well. I used an immersion blender for about 1 minute but the instructions say to use a blender on High. It made a very thick gel which made me a bit concerned but it turned out just fine.


Add 7 teaspoons calcium water to the juice and bring back to the boil. Add the pectin-water mixture and stir well. Return to the boil, then remove from heat and spoon off froth and bubbles. Ladle into clean, sterilized jars. Process in a hot water bath for 5-10 minutes. This made 6 one-cup jars.

Because this jelly has no sugar, it is more prone to bacterial and fungal growth. Ensure the jars have sealed; place any that haven't in the fridge and eat right away. They also advise you should eat low sugar jellies and jams within 3 months of jarring.

Now the only question is what to eat it with? For us primals, heap it on some sharp Manchego cheese, use it as a filling for paleo thumbprint cookies, or make some paleo bread to spread it over.

Enjoy!

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