Summer Fruit Jams

Summer Fruit Jams
Notes: We've been buying a lot of fruit from the Leslieville Farmers' Market on Sundays, mostly from Bizjak Farms and the vendor selling blueberries. Much of it has been turned into peach crumble or a peach cake (which we froze), but on one evening last week, we decided to make two batches of jam.

The apricot jam was made using the reduced sugar pectin. It is very hard to find the no-sugar versions in the supermarket (there's one by Certo), and we usually reduce the sugar by a quarter and/or increase the fruit by a quarter. This makes for a runnier jam, which is how we like it anyway. Our apricots were probably some of the best we've had from Ontario, juicy, firm and sweet, but without a pronounced apricot fragrance that I've only read about. The finished jam was a bit tart, but the texture and flavour were marvellous. The directions on the pectin box are meant to guarantee success, if you define that as being a firmly-set, sweet jam, regardless of the quality of your fruit. But with experience, I know how much I can deviate from the sugar and fruit quantities, and still make tasty jam.

We also bought a package of liquid pectin for making freezer jam. This product must be pre-sweetened, because it didn't require a lot of additional sugar. We used a hand blender to break down the blueberries, following the recipe as given, but reducing the sugar by a bit. Since we had our canner set up for the apricot jam, I sterilized the jars, a step that is not necessary for freezer jam. The next morning, the jam had set up quite thickly, and had a delicious blueberry flavour. Too sweet, in my opinion, though.

At this point, we have four kinds of jam sitting on a shelf, and I just bought some New Haven freestones this past weekend with the goal of making another batch!

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