So here are some things I learned from today’s canning class… Some of them I can’t wait to try!
1. Liquid and powdered pectin are not interchangeable
2. Using pectin gives a larger yield
3. You need 65% of your recipe to be sugar in order to act as a preservative
4. 1/2 of the sugar can be replaced in recipes without added pectin
5. 2 cups honey can replace 2 cups of the sugar in recipes using pectin
6. Lower sugar jams/jellies will be softer and will mold sooner after opening
7. Pomona Universal Pectin is amazing! It never expires, you can use it to double (or more) a recipe, doesn’t need sugar, can use any sweetener you like. It may clump and foam more and is a bit softer over time on the shelf but is SO worth it!
8. If your jam foams you can stir in 1/4 tsp butter or oil
9. You can use clear gel instead of pectin. It also doesn’t need sugar. Use 7 Tbsp of clear gel in place of a box of pectin in cooked jams/jellies or 3 Tbsp for freezer jam.
10. Recipes and tips for using clear gel can be found at the Skagit county WSU extension office
11. Using a larger than 1/2 pint jar causes a weaker jell
12. If you squeeze your jelly bag when making juice, it will make your jelly cloudy
13. Do not process grape juice straight from a steam juicer. Put it in the fridge for 24 hours to let the tartaric acid sink to the bottom.
14. Strawberries are notorious for floating to the top of jams.
15. Freezer jam lasts for 1-3 years in freezer
16. Reboil and rechill freezer jam that has become soft.
17. You can freeze any cooked jam recipe.
18. Ripe fruit has less pectin than under ripe fruit. Use 3/4 ripe and 1/4 under ripe fruit in recipes not using pectin. Cook to 220 degrees.
19. To test the pectin content of fruit, put a bit of mashed fruit in a bowl. Add 1 tsp of rubbing alcohol. If it becomes a stringy mess, it has enough natural pectin.
20. You can add dried chilies to any fruit jam or jelly recipe without changing the recipe. It will give it some bite and make a great glaze for meat or over cream cheese on crackers or bagels. (I am so going to do this soon!)