One of the books we carry is Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy. In our quest to reduce the amount of sugar in our jam this year, we find ourselves referencing this book frequently.
Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin is a great guide to help you on your journey of low-sugar preserves. You’ll learn how to use Pomona’s Universal Pectin to create marmalades, preserves, conserves, jams, jellies, and more. From sweet offerings like maple, vanilla and peach jam to savory favorites like red pepper and jalapeno chutney.
We have a great jam recipe using Pomona’s Pectin. Carey Nash created Merry Mulled Merlot Jam, a low-sugar jam made with Pomona’s Pectin. Here’s what she had to say about the recipe. “I developed this recipe right before the holidays to give out as special gifts. It is complex, robust, tart, gorgeous red, and perfect for gifts!”
A special thanks to our friends at Pomona’s Pectin for sharing Carey’s recipe with us!
Yield: 5 to 6 cups
Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use. If you aren’t familiar with Calcium Water, Pomona’s Universal Pectin.
Wondering what calcium water is? Calcium water is a solution of the monocalcium phosphate powder (food-grade rock mineral source) that comes in its own packet with every purchase of Pomona’s Pectin. The Pomona’s Pectin directions tell you how to make calcium water with the calcium powder. Pomona’s Pectin recipes call for calcium water because the pectin is activated by calcium, not by sugar. You can read more about calcium water here.
1¼ cups up to 2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin Powder
1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
3 cups Merlot (750 ml bottle, which contains about 3¼ cups)
2 cups peeled and coarsely chopped navel oranges
¼ cup lemon juice
3 packets Mulling Spice (see alternative option for mulling below)
2 teaspoons calcium water
1. Wash jars, lids, and bands. Prepare water bath canner.
2. Measure sugar into a bowl and thoroughly stir pectin powder into the sugar. (Carey’s original recipe called for 2 cups sugar; at Pomona’s we used 1¼ cups sugar and it was just right for us.) Set aside.
3. In your jam-making pan, simmer 1 cup cranberries in 1 cup of Merlot until the cranberries soften and pop (about 10 minutes). Once they have popped, squish them all up with your wooden spoon.
4. When cranberries are squished, add the remaining 2 cups Merlot (drink any Merlot left in the bottle or add it to the jam – your choice!), 2 cups orange pieces, ¼ cup lemon juice, and 3 packets of Mulling Spices. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Remove Mulling Spice bags and add 2 teaspoons calcium water. Bring to a boil. Add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
6. Taste and add more sugar if desired. If adding more sugar, stir for 1 min. more at full boil.
7. Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water bath and cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals; lids should be sucked down. Enjoy within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.
Enjoy any way you choose or try one of Carey’s serving suggestions:
Alternative Mulling Ingredients & Directions
3 strips of orange zest, 2” wide, or equivalent (best to use an organic orange)
4 whole peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
¼ of a whole vanilla bean
1. After measuring out 1 cup of Merlot to simmer the cranberries in, pour the rest of the bottle (should be a little more than 2 cups) into a saucepan.
2. Add above ingredients.
3. For vanilla bean, use a paring knife and slice the piece of vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds into the Merlot to be mulled and also add the vanilla bean pod itself to the mixture.
4. Bring covered mixture to a simmer and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into the pan with the squished cranberries.
5. Add remaining ingredients and follow steps above to finish making the jam.