The better the quality of the fruit you use, the better your jams will be. (Save the squished fruit for compote!) Most fruits have enough natural pectin to gel adequately, so you need not use commercial pectin (I never do!). When you chop the fruit prior to making the jam, the natural pectin is released.
What’s the difference between jelly, jam, and preserves? If you think they’re all the same, read on! Jelly: The fruit comes in the form of fruit juice, i.e., grape jelly is not made from grapes proper! Jam: The fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit (blended) and is therefore less stiff. Preserves: The fruit comes in the form of chunks in syrup or a jam. All three (store-bought varieties) are made from fruit/fruit juice mixed with sugar and pectin. Pectin gives these their thickness.
You can substitute stevia (a natural sugar substitute) for part of the sugar in jam. Do not use Splenda (sucralose) or Equal (aspartame). To make completely sugar-free jam, do the following: Cook together two and a quarter pounds (one kilogra,) clean fruit (any — apricots, strawberries, blueberries, etc.), one cup apple juice concentrate (check that it doesn’t have added sugar), juice of one lemon, and (optional) honey to taste, for approximately one hour. This jam should be frozen as it contains no sugar to preserve it.
Photography: Daniel Lailah
Styling: Michal Leibowitz