The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pomona's pectin

Calcium water

Making jam with
honeyAfter reading about my experiments with low-sugar jamming, one of our readers kindly sent me several packages of Pomona's Pectin to try.  (Thank you, Rhonda!)

Pomona's Pectin was discovered by Euell Gibbons' diabetic brother who experimented with various ways to create low-sugar jam.  Gibbons learned that the pectin in citrus peels (low-methoxyl pectin) uses calcium phosphate (the form of calcium found in cow's milk) instead of heat and sugar to create a gel.  Modern homesteaders repeat Gibbons' feats the easy way by purchasing Pomona's Pectin, which comes with both the low-methoxyl pectin and the calcium phosphate.

Pomona's Pectin

With Pomona's Pectin, you can use much less sweetener than with normal jams (about 0.25 to 0.5 cups of sugar or equivalent per cup of fruit), and you can also use sugar-substitutes like honey.  I won't repeat the jamming instructions here, since they come in each box of pectin.  But the upshot is that you mix the calcium with water, put a bit of calcium water (and lemon juice) in your pureed fruit, mix the pectin with your sweetener, then bring the fruit mixture to a boil, add the pectin, and bring it all back to a boil.  You can eat the jam as-is, or can it in a hot-water bath.

I was nearly out of peaches by the time my Pomona's Pectin arrived, so I only made one batch of jam with frozen puree and honey.  The result was delicious --- a lot like freezer jam, but less sweet and thus fruitier.  It didn't gel as well as some of my other jams, but I suspect tweaking the recipe would have fixed that problem.  I guess I'll have to wait and report back during jamming season next year!

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free treat for pampered backyard hens.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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It's funny that you are just now trying it since this was, I believe, the site I first saw it mentioned earlier this summer. Living in a town with a good natural foods store, I was able to get it right away, in time for the berry preserves. It is so much easier, so much more forgiving, and makes a good freezer jam to boot that I will never use anything else (unless I ever get to be full-time in the home economy and want to try your great experiments with apples).
Comment by Julie Mason Fri Sep 6 07:41:47 2013
I've had such horrible failures with the Ball stuff in the plastic jar that I swore off it altogether. I love Pomona's - it's sure to work for me, and gives you the freedom with the sugar. I'm not the type for natural pectin (too type A :-)) and won't be switching back to Ball for sure.
Comment by Katharina Fri Sep 6 09:05:13 2013
I'm so glad you got good results. I think tweaking the amount of pectin/calcium will give you a firmer set, if desired. We like ours 'soft spread' but not too runny.
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Fri Sep 6 14:50:49 2013
Thanks for the review! I will have to give it a go next year as I think my jamming is done for the year. I would love to have a fruitier, fresher taste and less sugar. My low sugar, old-fashioned jam is decidedly quite cooked, though still tasty.
Comment by Brandy Fri Sep 6 19:38:00 2013

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