Friday, March 25, 2011

Using Freeze Dried Fruit to Make Jam?! YES!

Now seeing that my teaching next week will be basics on homemade jam and canning safety, I had to do some experimentation. You may ask, "Can luscious homemade jam really be as simple as adding water and a few basic ingredients...and yet be so far above most people's grasp?" I wonder that exact question. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just too "simple silly". I hope I am. I hope that when folks read my words of wisdom and sound understanding that they will feel empowered to make wonderful things. Now...that being said I don't know how to say this...but this raspberry jam was made out of a little honey, some freeze dried raspberries and some pectin. Why freeze dried? Well...just for the danggum-fun-of-it-all. Honey...because I found this yumm-a-licious honey made from my native Sonoran Desert Blossoms...and I was a happy girl.

For argument's sake, let's just say that perhaps raspberries are out of season and I have a can of freeze dried fruit just laying around my house. If I don't have to spend money...even on a bag of frozen berries...I won't. I'm a tight wad. There. I said it. I like freeze dried fruit for making muffin mixes and cake mixes. Plus I saw these at the Preparing Wisely store I would be teaching classes at starting next Tuesday...and I was curious if it could be done. So...that being said, I got a can.

They look really crazy freeze dried...but the only ingredient in the can is raspberries!

Chef Tess Raspberry honey jam
4 cups freeze dried raspberries (or frozen work)
1 1/2 cup honey ( I love the dessert blossom honey)
2 cup water (only add water if using freeze dried berries)
1/2 cup UltraGel or 1 box (1.59 oz) low sugar pectin
Combine all ingredients in a pot for cooked jam except the UltraGel. This hydrates the berries and they look remarkably like what they are...real berries.

Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Whisk in the ultra gel or pectin. Return to a boil and cook a minute more.

Process in sterile half pint jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes at sea level.

Freezer jam is even easier. Simply add the honey, water and fruit together. You can also use agave nectar in place of the honey if you need lower glycemic or vegan sources. Use freezer pectin instead of low sugar pectin. Ultra gel works in both applications (cooked or freezer jam).

Once the berries have absorbed the water, add the pectin or ultra gel. Stir a minute or two. Freezer pectin will take about 10-20 minutes to gel. Ultra gel will set almost instantly. Transfer to freezer safe containers. Keeps good up to a year in freezer safe containers.
There you go. Fast easy jam even with crazy dried fruit. Who knew?! Now don't you just want to come to my jam class next week?!
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