Preserved

Capture the best of your seasonal produce for later.

Preserved: Spiced Vanilla Pear Jam

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[Photograph: Jennifer Cordaro]

If you have any experience canning fruit, you've probably heard the line that you need sugar in your jam if you don't want it to go bad. And not just a little sugar. A LOT. I often feel a twinge of guilt as I stir in pound after pound of refined white sugar into my beautiful fruit.

Then I met Jen Cordaro, the magical jam-maker at Jenny's Jars. She shared some of her white sugar-free strawberry jam, and it was one of the best things I've tried in a while. She also shared a few tips for making fruit juice-sweetened jams.

  • Practice, practice, practice! Write down what you did so you can either replicate it if it comes out right or find your mistake if it didn't.
  • Remember, when making jams without white sugar, it will not gel the same. Don't expect a hard-set jam.
  • If you want your jam to gel, add no-sugar needed pectin. It still won't be like a traditional jam, but it will be pretty close. A little heavy on the pectin is better than too light, if you want a more traditional set.

Want to try it out for yourself? Try this Spiced Vanilla Pear Jam, which gets a boost of flavor from cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla beans.

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.

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Spiced Vanilla Pear Jam »

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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