Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Summer Jam

My friend Summer emailed me recently to talk about the possibilities of making jam with glucose. I've never made jam before, though hope to one day, so really didn't know what I was talking about. Summer has, however, and we had quite a discussion about the properties of sugar and about pectin in fruit and decided it was well worth a try. So she went away and did the hard work, while I just watched my letterbox for a few days until some was delivered.

And what a fantastic success! Summer rang me, of course, to tell me how it had gone (in fact we have had some ridiculously lengthy discussions long in to the night about sugar and glucose) and I could hardly wait to try it. I felt as though a whole new world had opened up - jam without sugar! And I hardly ever even eat the stuff.

Summer's apricot jam was fairly tart, certainly not as sweet as we are used to. And it was apricoty. As Summer and her husband agreed "it tastes a lot more like actual apricots, rather than a sweet spread with a vague resemblance to the real taste of apricots." And that can only be a good thing.

You will see in the recipe that she kept her glucose to a minimum, so if you prefer your jam sweeter, just increase the amount you use. But I would encourage you to try it not-so-sweet. It's time we all got used to a little less sweetness in our lives, and how about actually tasting that fruit.

If you're a jam maker, all I can say is, grab your fruit and some glucose and get to it. If not, Summer's instructions below couldn't be clearer, and I'll be using them one day to give it a try (as soon as I find the energy to stone all that fruit - any tips?). 

For those of you buying glucose here in NZ and enjoying all our current summer fruit, here's another comment from Summer:  "in total I got almost 7 jars of jam for my 1.5kg of fruit. The apricots cost me $3 and my glucose was roughly  $7, so a total of $10 and I got almost 7 jars of jam! It’s delicious and very cost effective if you can get the fruit cheap enough." 

* Since making this jam, Summer has tried a cherry jam and a peach and nectarine jam. She increased the amount of glucose for both, and found that after the jars had been opened for a while the jam developed a white fuzz. We're yet to work exactly what has happened here. It may have been the amount of glucose used, or the apricots may have been happier without the fructose than other fruits are. For now, you may like to keep your glucose levels on the lower side.

Huge thanks to Summer for her bravery in experimenting and her recipe below.


Summer Jam

500g apricots (stones removed, skin on)
350g glucose powder/dextrose

Chop up the apricots and put in a large saucepan, mix with glucose and stand for about 20-30 minutes, occasionally stirring. Mixture will soften and turn into a nice gooey mess.
Thoroughly clean your jam jars and place in the oven, preheated to 100 C. Leave in oven for 20 minutes (or until jam is ready to bottle).
Heat the apricot/glucose mixture on the stove until boiling, once boiling, turn heat right down and simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the jam thickens.
To test for readiness, put about half a teaspoon on a plate and run your finger through the middle. If the jam remains separated it is ready to bottle.
Remove hot jars from oven and bottle jam immediately, seal jars.


  1. Yay, I'm a jam maker and was just wondering about glucose and jam making :-). Now to find some cheap fruit!

  2. Yay, so am I! But the birds got all my plums :( I'm sure I can find some other fruit though.

    1. I made strawberry jam and bottled pears with dextrose. The jam is nice, and my husband eats it (I wasn't sure if he would, but it tastes enough like bought jam for him!), and the children like it too. I used the above recipe or equivalent because I had more fruit. It seems like the sugar around the top of the jar has crystallized to white stuff, but it doesn't taste bad and it isn't mouldy. The pears weren't overly sweet, but they were nice enough.


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