Jams / Marmalade

Under jam I group all forms of concentrated preserved fruit, from fruit paste to jelly or seedless jam, to full fruit jam, and on to marmalade, a jam made exclusively from citrus, and containing peel. In all forms a fruit is preserved with sugar, its only further requirement being that it stay on a piece of warm toast on its way to your mouth.

This requires the services of pectin, a misunderstood but marvelous three dimensional web of quirky, loosely looping molecules that hold the fruit juices and sugar in gelatinous suspension, only to dissolve by the heat of our tongues. Some fruit is rich in pectin, apples plums and citrus, others like berries have almost none. For much of history the only way to concentrate pectin to setting stage in those fruits was more sugar and longer cooking time to reduce moisture.

When commercially extracted pectin became available, used in mass to bulk up thin industrial fruit jams, it was denounced by purists justifiably fond of the old ways. Convention is that if the pectin originated in the fruit itself you neednít list it in ingredients, but if you add more, you do. This becomes misleading if one assumes it isnít present if it isnít listed. There would be no jam if there were no pectin.

When Iím asked, at the Farmerís Market, if I Ďuse pectin,í itís as if Iím asked if I use heroin. As the torch-wielding mobs surround my house, let me say that all pectin molecules are created equal, and it doesnít matter if you take them from one place to put them in another, as long as the fruit you cooked can make its final journey on a raft of toast without ending up in your lap. And that youíre glad it made the journey. Period.

The pectin I use is either what I extract myself from the pounds of citrus seeds I collect from the exotic citrus I process or a fine pure citrus-derived pectin from France that is very expensive and available only to the trade. I use this to allow me to reduce sugar, while also concentrating or intensifying the amount of fruit I use, without long cooking times, and believe this produces a superior product.

See our selection of Jam and Jelly and Marmalades.

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Jams / Marmalade

Jams / Marmalade

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