This recipe is an example of how to make jam with Clearjel instead of pectin.
Many people have speculated about doing this over the years.
Washington State University Extension did some work with this, and released a recipe leaflet (see Further Reading below for link.)
We made one of the jam recipes, for the sake of evaluating the quality of Clearjel instead of pectin in jams. We evaluated this recipe largely because we know some people are starting to experiment making sugar-free jams using Clearjel, and we wanted to at least use one from an Extension.
We found that essentially, you are making one of the Clearjel pie fillings, and calling it a jam. Some might call the texture “goopy.” The jam, though, is delicious. In the low-sugar context that the Clearjel allows, the wonderful delicate flavour of the summer fruit really comes through.
Using Clearjel, WSU Extension points out, also gives you the following benefits:
- flexibility of using whatever sweetener you want, in whatever amount;
- flexibility of batch sizes;
- Clearjel can work out cheaper than using pectin.
We had some hesitation about processing time for a larger size jar mentioned in the leaflet so we left that size out as an option. If someone from the Extension sees this and wants to clarify, we’d be happy to hear.
We used blueberries — the recipe writers say that any berry can be used.
Jar size choices: Quarter-litre (1/2 US pint / 250 ml / 8 oz)
Processing method: Water bath or steam canning
Yield: 3 x quarter-litre (1/2 US pint) jars
Headspace: 2 cm (1/2 inch)
Processing time: 10 minutes. Adjust time for altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.
Blueberry Jam (Clearjel)
Crush berries with a potato masher.
Add to a medium-sized pot.
Stir in the lemon juice.
SUGAR: if using a solid granular sweetener such as sugar or splenda, mix the Clearjel with the 1/4 of solid sweetener. Add to berries in pot. Bring to a boil, stir in remaining sweetener.
LIQUID STEVIA OR HONEY: if using a liquid sweetener such as liquid stevia or honey, stir it directly into the berry mixture. Stir in the Clearjel one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Regardless of sweetener method, now bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring non-stop.
Remove from heat.
Ladle into quarter-litre (1/2 US pint / 8 oz) jars.
Leave 2 cm (1/2 inch) headspace.
Debubble, adjust headspace.
Wipe jar rims.
Put lids on.
Process in a water bath or steam canner.
Process either size jars for 10 minutes; increase time as needed for your altitude.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
For stevia, Better Stevia liquid stevia was the stevia used.
Information about Clearjel.
More information about Sugar and Salt-Free Canning in general.
- You can use as much or little sugar as you want; it’s not required for the set, or safety.
- Use a potato masher or other such device to crush the berries; do not use a food processor or blender. The machine blades damage the natural pectin in the fruit (though to be fair, we’re not actually sure that matters here with the Clearjel.)
- We found 7 tablespoons of Clearjel a bit too stiff for our liking. Try that amount at first to see what you think; for subsequent batches, you may wish to dial it back to 6 or even 5 tablespoons.
- The recipe calls for 1/4 inch (1 cm) headspace. In our experience, products with Clearjel in them expand greatly during processing and require more headspace, so we have increased the headspace to 1/2 inch (2 cm.) For that reason — expansion — we also wouldn’t recommend trying the small 125 ml (4 oz) jars, though you could if you wish — same processing time.
- The Extension allows for this jam to be canned in half-litre (pint) size jars, for the same processing time of 10 minutes. However, we noted that Clearjel Blueberry Pie Filling, to which this is very similar, in those size jars requires 30 minutes. It’s not our place to naysay an Extension’s recommendations, but we did feel uncertain about the 10 minute processing time for that size of jar instead of 30 for the same density of product, and so left off that size of jar option. Besides, if you are making low-sugar jams, it’s best to make them in smaller jars because once you open them, moulds begin attacking them, even in the fridge.
Joanne Austin, Skagit County Extension Faculty, WSU Skagit County Extension. Using Clearjel. Washington State University. October 2007. (No Extension publication number.)
Nutritional information will of course vary wildly based on your choice of sweetener.
With 350 g (1 1/2 cups) white sugar.
Per 2 tablespoons:
- 64 calories, 1 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, 2 tablespoons: 2 points. SmartPoints®: 2 tablespoons: 4 points.
With liquid stevia
Per 2 tablespoons:
- 19 calories, 1 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, 2 tablespoons: 0 points. SmartPoints®: 2 tablespoons: 1 point.
* Nutrition info provided by MyFitnessPal
* PointsPlus™ and SmartPoints™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® registered trademarks.