Nothing beats the taste of fresh fruit jam. And when you make it yourself, you can control the amount of sugar used.
Combine fruit, sugar to taste and water in a Dutch oven. Bring to a vigorous boil and crush fruit with a potato masher until desired consistency. Add pectin in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Stir until the pectin is dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that cannot be “stirred down”), stirring constantly. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
If freezing or refrigerating, ladle the jam into clean canning jars to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Wipe rims clean. Cover with lids. Let the jars stand at room temperature until set, about 24 hours, before refrigerating or freezing. Or process in a water bath to store at room temperature (see Tip).
Tip: How to Prep & Measure Fruit—Berries: Remove stems; hull strawberries. Measure whole. Cherries: Remove stems and pits; halve. Measure halves. Peaches, Nectarines & Plums: Peel if desired. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces; discard pits. Measure pieces. Apples, Pears & other fruit: Peel if desired. Quarter, remove seeds and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Measure pieces. To peel stone fruit, dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute to loosen their skins. Let cool slightly, then remove the skins with a paring knife. Notes: 3/4 cup maple syrup (or honey) or 1/2-1 cup Splenda Granular can be used in place of 1 cup sugar. We tested Fresh Fruit Jam with “No sugar needed” pectin from Ball and Sure-Jell. We prefer this to regular pectin because you can adjust the amount of added sugar. Regular pectin cannot be used in its place because it requires more sugar to ensure a proper set. Although Sure-Jell’s instructions indicate that you cannot use less sugar than called for in their recipes, we had successful results using less (as indicated in our recipes). Tip: Processing in a boiling water bath ensures safe storage at room temperature for up to a year. For step-by-step pictures and instructions, go to eatingwell.com/kitchentips.