Yesterday was a stormy November day in the Yamhill Valley, with rain in inches and branches falling at nearly the same pace what with winds approaching 40-50 mph during the worst of it. Couple that with intermittent power outages and what's a girl to do but whip up a batch of raspberry jam!
Marissa over at Food in Jars held a giveaway recently for a Ball FreshTech Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker and I won! My new toy arrived late last week and for the past few days has been sitting on the counter beckoning me to experiment, so experiment I did. The appliance comes with a small recipe book for several varieties of jam and jelly, all using the classic pectin that requires a huge amount of sugar in order to achieve a gel and preserving quality. For years I've made all our jams using a low-methoxyl pectin that requires very little sugar to achieve a set, allowing your homemade jams and jellies to taste like real fresh fruit and not overpowered by sugary sweetness. Low-methoxyl pectin is sold under the brand name Pomona at your local natural foods store, or can be ordered in bulk online which is the way we purchase it.
So, would my low-methoxyl pectin work in this new contraption that uses an entirely different cooking method than the directions for my pectin required? And, more importantly, would the power stay on for the required 21 minutes to make a batch of jam from start to finish? I figured what did I have to lose - if the jam didn't come out exactly right, the worst we'd have would be raspberry topping for ice cream or chocolate cake - not exactly a losing situation in my book! So, off to the kitchen we went.
I love the fact that the paddles do the continuous stirring for you, and this will be a great method for making some of my favorite recipes that typically yield small batches, mango chutney and tomato-peach marmalade to name a couple. Could this appliance also produce tomato paste? Next summer's crop of Roma tomatoes will provide us with another tasty experiment.
I hope you'll check out Marissa's delightful Food in Jars blog for tons of delicious inspiration!