I can honestly say a homemade jam or other soft spread is by far THE best ever. I will never buy store bought again and the kids come raiding my pantry often when they run out. However in the quest of making lower sugar or even no sugar soft spreads it's a must to use a special pectin made specifically for low or no sugar recipes in order to get that just right set. It is a must to follow your recipe to the letter in order to get the results you are looking for.
There are a few out there but I prefer to use SURE JELL for LESS or NO SUGAR NEEDED RECIPES and it is is a low-methoxyl* fruit pectin, which enables gelling in the absence of sugar. Spreads made without sugar may demonstrate different characteristics than those made with sugar. leaving out the sugar can affect the spread's flavor, clarity and set. You can pick it up online, at the grocery store and even Wal-Mart.
FlavorFlavor profile will be improved by starting with fresh, ripe, highest quality fruit or frozen fruit. Also, jams — which use all of the fruit — will naturally have a higher flavor content than jellies, which use only the juice. I am hands down a jam and preserves kind of gal verses jelly. I just happen to love the flavor and consistency.
Clarity/ColorMost spreads made without sugar will appear pale or cloudy — even the freshest ingredients will fade when heated. Tip: To enhance the sweetness and color of the jam - prepare as directed, substituting one thawed can (12 oz.) frozen white grape juice or apple juice concentrate in place of the water.** Just keep in mind adding juices alter your low to no sugar results nutritional wise.
SetSugar aids the gel formation; spreads made without sugar will be more likely to have a softer set. Refrigeration can provide a firmer spread, but may affect spreadability. Low-methoxyl pectin uses calcium to produce a gel. Substituting thawed frozen white grape juice or apple juice concentrate for water will impact the nutritional profile of the finished jam, increasing calories, carbohydrates and sugars. Refer to recipes for complete nutritional information.
Diabetic ConsiderationsAlthough low to no sugar recipes do not require the addition of sugar, SURE-JELL FOR LESS OR NO SUGAR NEEDED RECIPES contains dextrose. Ingredients like fruits, fruit juices and concentrates also contain natural fruit sugars. People with high blood sugar or those who are on restricted diets may wish to consult with their Physician or Dietitian.
* Low-methoxyl pectin uses calcium to produce a gel.
** Substituting thawed frozen white grape juice or apple juice concentrate for water will impact the nutritional profile of the finished jam, increasing calories, carbohydrates and sugars. Refer to recipes for complete nutritional information.
Happy Jammin' and until next time, see you 'round the table