Some time ago, my friend Alexis began posting about Pomona's pectin. I had trekked out to Alexis's house last year to teach her how to make jam and while it was gloriously fun, Alexis pointed out how much sugar my typical recipe had and that she strived to make one less sugary. Time passed, and then she found Pomona's Universal Pectin.
Pomona's is a citrus pectin which allows you to make jam and jellies with only a fraction of the amount of sugar that you would have to use with other leading pectins. With a husband who is very conscious about his sugar intake, I thought I would give this product a test drive and see how things turn out.
With memories of that really tasty rhubarb cherry crumble, I wanted to use up the rest of the rhubarb in my freezer by turning it into a jam. Superstore has some really great frozen cherries which I picked up, and I found a really amazing recipe that I just had to try. After being a jam maker for years, I found that the end result is really delicious-like pureed fruit on your toast rather than a sugary syrupy version, but for what you gain in flavour you do lose a little in texture. The jam made with Pomona's is more jello-like than a soft set, but I don't mind. The flavour is really all I cared about.
First of all, before you start this recipe you need to make calcium water with powder in a small packet and water. Shake it up in a Mason jar and store in the fridge.
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tsp Pomona's Universal Pectin
6 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 vanilla bean
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted cherries, thawed
zest and juice from one lemon
4 tsp calcium water
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
Prepare your kitchen for canning; this means getting the water bath canner going so it's good and hot. Sterilize your mason jars and have all your equipment ready to start canning. (see how to do that here)
Combine the rhubarb and vanilla bean together with 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it bubble away until the rhubarb has started to break down. This should take about 10 minutes or so. Let it cool a bit and set aside. You should have 3 cups.
In a food processor or blender, puree the cherries. If they are fresh you need to pit them first-you can use a cherry pitter (use it over the sink or outside), or here's some other interesting methods! In the end you should have 1 cup of cherries.
Whisk the sugar and pectin together in a bowl. Set aside.
Fish the vanilla bean out of the rhubarb. Measure out three cups of the rhubarb and one cup of the cherries, and mix them together in a bowl. Pour them both back into a saucepan and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and calcium water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring. Once it's boiling, add the sugar and pectin. Bring it back to a boil while constantly stirring and let it boil hard for 1 minute.
Take the jam off the heat and add the Grand Marnier. Ladle the hot jam into hot, sterilized jars and top with lids (remember to have the snap tops warmed up and everything). Process in your boiling water canner for about 10 minutes.
Makes about five 250 ml jars of jam, possibly with a bit left over to enjoy right away.
Adapted from Serious Eats