Category Archives: Jams with natural ingredients

Super Easy Mixed Fruit Jam – Preservative Free

 


  
This is a mixed fruit jam that came out perfect, almost a look alike and taste alike store bought bottled jam.. the X factor here being the non-addition of preservatives. The brightcolor, smooth texture, citrussy flavor and awesome taste has made us yearn for more and more. The fruits that I added for color were black grapes (the seeded variety this time) and pomegranate; fruits added for the pulpy texture were apples and banana. This was the first time I laid my hands on a multi fruit jam and the success lead me try more variants, that came out absolutely perfect too. So, choice of fruits is your forte. Just combine citrus fruits like grapes or berries for tangi flavor and fleshy fruits or vegetables like apple, banana, beetroot and pumpkins respectively for pulpy consistency.
  
Home made Super easy Mixed Fruit Jam – Preservative Free

  


  
Ingredients

  •  pomegranates – 3 no.s
  •  seeded black grapes (one can also use seedless) – 1/2 kg
  •  apples – 2 no.s
  • bananas – 2 no.s medium sized (I used red bananas)
  • sugar – 2 cups approximately (1 cups sugar for 4 cups of total pulp put together)
  • lemons – 2 no.s

  

    

These are the basic 3 steps in Jam Making; Do let me know if there are more please.
  
The Basic 3

Part I

  1. To disinfect the grapes and apples, take separate bowls of water with turmeric and salt. Leave them in the water for 1/2 an hour.
  2. Pomegranates and Bananas have their natural protective skins.

  
Part II

Place a plate in the freezer and a few spoons- we need to check for consistency later by placing the jam in the chilled plate.


  
Part III

Sterilize bottles with lid

  1. Wash the bottles and lids to store jam very well with no food particles sticking to it.
  2. Take a big bowl and place the washed bottles and lids on sides.
  3. Fill water in the bowl immersing the bottles.
  4. Let the water come to a full boil.
  5. Close with lid and let it stay till the jam is done.

  

Method of Preparation-


  
1. Blend pomegranate seeds and strain the juice

2. For grape juice/pulp

  • Cautiously remove grapes that are spoiled or with grey fungus
  • Thoroughly clean and wash the perfect grapes
  • In a pan, cook grapes with 1/2 cup water in medium flame till they are softened and easy to mash with spatula
  • Juice it in a blender and strain the thick pulp or don’t bother if it is thin.

  
3.  Wash and peel apples and blend with banana to a smooth pulp

4. Mix pomegranate and grape juice, apple and banana pulp together in a bowl

5. Take a heavy bottomed pan on stove; measure and pour the above fruity mixture into it

6. Add 1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of pulp

7.  Add the juice of lemons

8. After the first boil, simmer stove and let it boil

9. Adjust burner of stove to medium and back to sim position till the liquid starts thickening

10. At this stage, check with the plate in the freezer- swipe a spoon of jam on the plate and cut into two halves. If it sets well and isn’t flowing on the plate when tilted, jam is done. Else, cook for some more time.

11. If it seems too thick, add little water and let it boil for some time, until it reaches right consistency

12. Pour into sterilized hot bottles directly from stove and close lid tightly.

13. Enjoy with home made bread or bun. Also try as a filling in tarts or pies.

The Pinkalicious Jam – with Pomegranate-Beetroot

 

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The Pomegranate and Beetroot mixture reminds me of the stories in the Pinkalicious Series of children’s book that my daughter used to read few years ago. Those are interesting stories on a child’s love for pink. This fruit-vegetable combination exhibits the same color and I hope the jam brings the same brightness to your morning breakfast bread too.

There can be numerous passions and obsessions in everyone’s life. It’s a thin line that differentiates both. And when passion turns into obsession, it sometimes becomes a burden. But let’s think otherwise… obsession clubbed with passion can certainly be a joy forever. Why not? Especially, when that obsession is concerned with the well-being of your loved ones, and aids in better life-style through effective foods – there’s no point of having negativity about the word ‘Obsession’.

Among my various passions that have turned into obsessions, is the latest one on breads and jams. Jams and Preserves with the best of simple ingredients, along with the goodness of fresh fruits are heated up in my kitchen and stored in beautiful bottles. This time, it is pomegranate and beetroot. The bright color that both these ingredients impart is no match to any artificial pink. The antioxidants preserved by nature in these both are well-known.

How have I been using them separately –

While pomegranates have been included as fresh juices, combined with sprouts for breakfast and seeds mixed with yoghurt rice for the sweet-sour flavor; beetroot has been included as a dry vegetable curry (poriyal), beetroot halwa (sweet pudding) and beetroot cakes (healthy version of red velvet).

I have been passionately incorporating a combination of beetroot and pomegranate in my salads along with cucumber and tomatoes. But when passion turned into obsession, I chose to preserve the iron-rich combo pack.

 

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When I had a few hand-picked pomegranates fresh from the garden, the idea of making a jam came up. But with the liquid juice from the fruit might need loads of sugar and hours of time to thicken. Additionally, the pomegranate variety was white, not the blood red seeds, that would add color to the jam by itself. So, why not combine another similar colored healthy ingredient, that would economize the usage of extra sugar and also save exhaustive time, in bringing a juice to jam consistency. Beetroot came to my rescue. I also added a couple of red seeded pomegranate for my satisfaction of added color. Actually, with addition of beetroot, this was really not needed.

The usage the beetroot puree, has most importantly helped not wasting the nutrient value of the iron-rich fruit in extended cooking, plus contributing to the iron content of the end product-jam. Hence, the idea of adding beetroot puree to pomegranate juice in Jam making, has added volume and color (hope this doesn’t sound like an artificial hair color advertisement) to the wonderful preserve.

 

Pomegranate-Beetroot Jam

with flax-seed bread

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Ingredients

  • pomegranate – 10 no.s – juice from 10 pomegranates – little less than 1 lr (I got 980 ml app)
  • beetroot – 1 kg – puree from 1 kg cooked beetroot – 550 gm (little more/little less)
  • sugar – 2 cups – 300 gms
  • lemon – 1/2 cup (juice of app. 8-10 small lemons)

 

Method of Preparation
Step I – Pomegranates

 

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  1. Remove seeds of pomegranates and place in a wide bowl.
  2. Wash well and fill in more water to immerse the seeds.
  3. This helps the white fibrous layer to get separated on the water surface and seeds stay beneath.
  4. Strain water and extract juice; strain well for a clear liquid.

 

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Step II – Beetroot

 

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  1. Peel and wash beetroot well
  2. Cut random pieces and let it cook in a pressure cooker. Do not add water to the beets, instead pour water in the bottom of the cooker and place the bowl with beetroot without water and cook; close the bowl with lid.
  3. We are not steaming here. So, do not forget the whistle in the cooker.
  4. Or cook as you please – the notion is that, we don’t need any added water from cooked beets to make puree.
  5. Cook till done. I gave one whistle in full flame, reduced and left it for two more whistles in sim flame, and opened the cooker when all pressure was released by itself.
  6. Take out cooked beetroot pieces and make a puree in a blender.

 

Step III – Sterilize bottles

  1. Wash the bottles and lids to store jam very well with no food particles sticking to it.
  2. Take a big bowl and place the washed bottles and lids on sides.
  3. Fill water in the bowl immersing the bottles.
  4. Let the water come to a full boil.
  5. Close with lid and let it stay till the jam is done.

 

Step IV – Plate in freezer

 

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Place a plate in the freezer and a few spoons; we need to check for consistency later by swiping the jam in the chilled plate.

 

Step V – Making of Jam
1.In a heavy bottomed pan/utensil, mix pomegranate juice and beetroot puree and bring to boil

2. Simmer and let cook for ten minutes. You can find a foamy layer settle on top of the boiling liquid. Gently remove foam and let it simmer.

 

the pinkalicious puree

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3. After removal of foam, add sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium heat.

4. Once the mixture becomes thick, check for consistency : Take the plate from the freezer- place a spoonful of jam on the plate and swipe splitting into two halves. If it sets well and isn’t flowing on the plate, jam is done. Else, cook for some more time.

5. When the jam has reached the required consistency, switched off flame.

6. Pour hot jam into sterilized hot bottles directly from stove and close lid tightly.

 

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7. Do not pour hot jam in cold bottles, otherwise the bottles would crack.

8. Leave the jam to cool by itself. Do not engage in cooling by other means. That would affect the setting of the Jam.

9. If you find the jam is less in sugar after done, place jam in pan, add more sugar to taste and boil again. If it is too thick add very little water to loosen jam and boil it back to jam consistency with added sugar.

10. Enjoy with home-made bread or bun. Also use in-between biscuits.

 

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Apple and Peach Jam

 

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With the same motive of making jams without added store bought pectin or other preservatives, this is an Apple and Peach Jam. With the tanginess of peach and sweetness and a bit of sourness of apple, this recipe again uses the natural pectin already preserved in the two fruits and additionally in the seeds of apple and stone of peach.

The learning fact this time – ‘There is pectin in the cores/seeds of certain fruits that helps the jam to ‘set’.’ – thanks to this elegant blog post – http://merrynsmenu.blogspot.in/2013/04/peach-and-apple-jam.html

So, I got 100% organic apples and peaches, pectin from apple seeds and peach stones, minimal sugar (400 gms sugar for 1200 gms of fruit with the core and stone) and scored well with a good consistency Jam.

I would suggest a reduction of 100 gms of sugar, as the jam seemed a bit higher on the sugar side, but go on with the same 400 gms if you prefer a sweet jam as store-bought.

Thanks to my little one who chopped a few apples and squeezed lemons in the making of this healthy Jam with natural pectin.

 

Apple and Peach Jam

 

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Ingredients

  • peaches – 4 no.s – app. 400 gms
  • apples – 6 no.s – app. 800 gms
  • sugar – 400 gms
  • lemon juice – juice of 4 lemons
  • apple cores and peach stones – tied in a clean muslin cloth
  • water – 1/2 cup – app. 150 ml

 

Method of Preparation

Part I

 

  1. Wash the peaches and apples.
  2. Soak them in turmeric-salt water for 1/2 an hour.

 

apples

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and peaches

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Part II

Before cooking the plum, there are two other things that are essential in the making of Jam-

a) Plate in the Freezer

Place a plate in the freezer and a few spoons- we need to check for consistency later by placing the jam in the chilled plate.

b)Sterilize the bottles with lid

  1. Wash the bottles and lids to store jam very well with no food particles sticking to it.
  2. Take a big bowl and place the washed bottles and lids on sides.
  3. Fill water in the bowl immersing the bottles.
  4. Let the water come to a full boil.
  5. Close with lid and let it stay till the jam is done.

Part III
1. De-skin the fruits and cut into small pieces.

2. In a hard bottomed vessel, first add the chopped apples and water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer.

Note: If both fruits are added together, apple remains hard but peach tends to become soft, as peaches cook faster than apple.

3. Then, add peach and sugar and stir well.

4. Tie the apple cores and peach seeds in a clean white muslin cloth and keep it dipped in the fruit-sugar mixture and let it boil for 10 minutes.

Note: It is suggested in http://merrynsmenu.blogspot.in/2013/04/peach-and-apple-jam.html  to immerse the apple cores and peach seed just after apples are brough to boil – i.e. before adding peaches and sugar, but I forgot that step. So after addition of peach and sugar, I dipped the cores and stones. Yet, it turned out be perfect…lucky me.

 

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5. After 10 minutes, remove the cloth with seeds and add lemon juice to the cooking mixture.

6. Let the mixture cook well and set to jam consistency.

7. Check in-between with the plate in the freezer for consistency – swipe a spoon of jam on the plate and split into two halves with a spoon. If it sets well and isn’t flowing on the plate, jam is done. Else, cook for some more time.

 

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8. When the jam has reached the required consistency, switched off flame.

 

9. Pour into sterilized hot bottles directly from stove and close lid tightly.

10. Do not pour hot jam in cold bottles, otherwise the bottles would crack.

11. Leave the jam to cool by itself. Do not engage in cooling by other means. That would affect the setting of the Jam.

12. Enjoy with home made bread or bun. Also try in tarts or pies.

 

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Home made Plum Jam with Unrefined Cane Sugar (Preservative Free)

 

100% whole wheat Bread and Jam without store bought Pectin

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This post calls for some great adventure in the kitchen. From a person who started off highlighting traditional Tamilnadu dishes, with an open mind to learn cuisines of different countries, Baking Bread and Making Jam is of course an adventure. But it has certainly been a fruitful adventure.

Everyone aims at Healthy Food for the Family. Aiming at providing healthy food might mean many things –

Cooking-

a. food from scratch
b. with fresh, healthy ingredients
c. with unrefined food products like whole grains, lentils or unpolished stuff
d. that inculcates balance in all nutrients – carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins and fiber
e. that sticks to traditional foods
f. that involves less time to cook

and any other version that suits you and your family and more essentially the Family’s Palate.

My preferences of making food, starts from scratch and follow a traditional Tamil Grandma’s Household style.  Satisfying the taste buds that long for foods from different parts of the world, through specialties which can be cooked at home – from scratch with minimal ingredients, has been no less than a  beautiful, adventurous journey across the world.

So, my recent passion has been Baking Bread – 100% whole wheat and 0% all purpose flour. And connected to it, came the Making of Jam with no added preservatives or store bought Pectin.

 

The Nutty Bread

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Cooking Healthy Food might seem like a difficult task in hand. I chose the simple method of clinging on to all the above, especially understanding traditional foods – be it from any country or culture.

Simpler than this can be to just avoid processed food. That might not sound practically simple, but I assure, it is certainly a simple affair with loads of care and patience in choice of food stuff bought from the store.

When you go farther away from Earth, less the gravitational force and hence you float. A visit to the Local Super Market can be like a visit to Space, away from the true necessities of healthy living. While it pulls you or sucks you in, you float in the amazing aura and aroma of packed, refined junk basic items.  As your heart and brain is immersed in the tempting outer world of packaged nonsense, we tend to pick the most fancy ones, easy to cook and less time consuming. The next possible misery would be to fool oneself in the health benefits that has been quoted in the pack, and come back to the original world- Home, with more unwanted processed stuff.

It is so easy, we pick what we want, depending upon what had already tempted us and the beloved kids through advertisements. Now, we are proud owners of all those beautifully sealed packets – but, the proud owner of the super market is surely ‘The Winner’. That Super Market is indeed a Special SPACE where Losers are also satisfied souls.

Obesity and increasing health issues at a very young age throughout the world are things of real concern. This anxiety and uneasiness made me bake my own whole wheat breads and buns. The additional benefit of home made 100% whole wheat breads and buns  is the abundant patience instigated in the family. Truly, the chunky breads and buns need endurance to be consumed, after so many years of soft/store bought/ s0-called whole wheat bread.  Yet, the aroma of baking bread that fills the house and the satisfaction of having a healthy whole grain meal has become an addition. It has become our Sunday breakfast after a 6 day breakfast plan with power packed pancakes. https://dosaikal.com/2014/04/19/power-packed-pancakes-whole-grain-dosais/
My own… Dinner Rolls and Breads

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and buns…

 

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While I need to perfect my bread baking efforts, before I post a few breads and buns that I make, I thought of the best accomplishment for breads – Jams and Jellies – easily the most sort after store bought item. Have a glance on the package of Jams available, there would be a long list of ingredients for storage purposes. Why not make our own Jam with the minimal ingredients – truly only two needed – sugar and fruit.

What about Pectin, an important ingredient needed for the consistency of jam? This has been a learning experience.

http://healingcuisinebyelise.com/2012/07/questions-answered-is-pectin-healthy.html gives a detailed analysis on Pectin.

 

According to the USDA, fruits contain the greatest amount of pectin — all fruits are made up of at least 5 to 10 percent pectin. Peaches, apples, oranges, grapefruit and apricots contain the highest amount of pectin among fruits. For example, one small peach contains 0.91 gram of pectin, while 1 cup of apple slices contains 0.654 gram of pectin. http://www.livestrong.com/article/289067-list-of-foods-high-in-pectin/

 

The learning fact is that fruits can be direct sources of Pectin, to attain the exact consistency in Jams and what can be skipped is the store bought Pectin. The danger of commercial pectin is that it might be a chemical combination with artificial sweeteners.

 

Pectin Fruit content

Courtesy: http://healingcuisinebyelise.com/2012/07/questions-answered-is-pectin-healthy.html

 

Hence, for a healthy food style, just choose unprocessed food. A visit to super market is a necessity. But, having healthy choices makes all the difference. What is healthy is something to be understood with Precision.

Additionally, it also means preserving foods with natural preservatives – unbelievable natural ingredients available in your kitchen – also available in small shops and super markets – but not as a processed version but as a basic unprocessed raw material. Amazing isnt it? But what remains most important is that ‘We Need to Make Our Choices’ for a healthy life style.

That’s why it is time for a Jam with fruit and sugar alone. When I had beautifully ripe Plums, that also had a sour touch to it, I chose to make a jam with plum and unrefined cane sugar – no refined white sugar either…Hurray!! Why bother about Pectin from store – Plum has all that is needed to fix the jam. And that was a true Success – with a capital ‘S’.

Come along… let’s see how I made it.
Plum Jam with Unrefined Cane Sugar (No Preservatives or store bought Pectin)

 

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Ingredients

  • plums deseeded and chopped – 1200 gms (approximately 6 bowls)
  • molasses/unrefined cane sugar – 500 gms

 

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Method of Preparation
Part I
To disinfect the plums, take a big bowl of water with turmeric and salt. Leave the fruits in the water for 1/2 an hour.

 

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Part II
Before cooking the plum, there are two other things that are essential in the making of Jam-
a) Plate in the Freezer
Place a plate in the freezer and a few spoons- we need to check for consistency later by placing the jam in the chilled plate.

 

b)Sterilize the bottles with lid

 

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  1. Wash the bottles and lids to store jam very well with no food particles sticking to it.
  2. Take a big bowl and place the washed bottles and lids on sides.
  3. Fill water in the bowl immersing the bottles.
  4. Let the water come to a full boil.
  5. Close with lid and let it stay till the jam is done.

 

Part III

 

  1. Remove the plums from turmeric-salt water. Wash well and pat them dry with a clean cloth.
  2. De-seed and chop them into small pieces. Smaller the pieces, more blended the jam would turn out.
  3. Smaller pieces combined with slightly bigger chunks in-between, taste delicious with a candied flavor.
  4. Take a hard bottomed, wide bowl and drop in both ingredients -plum and sugar.

 

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4. One can also substitute molasses with cane sugar.

5. Let the mixture boil in open bowl, do not close with lid.

6. The procedure would take 45 minutes to an hour to reach the required jam consistency

 

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7. Check in between with the plate in the freezer- swipe a spoon of jam on the plate and cut into two halves. If it sets well and isn’t flowing on the plate, jam is done. Else, cook for some more time.

 

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8. When the jam has reached the required consistency, switched off flame.

9. Pour into sterilized hot bottles directly from stove and close lid tightly.

10. Do not pour hot jam in cold bottles, otherwise the bottles would crack.

11. Leave the jam to cool by itself. Do not engage in cooling by other means. That would affect the setting of the Jam.

12. Enjoy with home made bread or bun. Also try in tarts or pies.

 

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