If you just give it enough time you won’t need anything but plums and pears to make this bitter sweet, 100 percent sugar-free jam.
It’s another recipe or better: an idea I brought home from our trip to the beautiful Val Prino in Liguria where natural indulgence has a long tradition. Maybe you want to read my story to get in the mood for this pure, naturally sweet spread.
It’s a childhood memory. The memory of Natalino, a local expert on Ligurian food traditions I met during our holidays. It couldn’t be more different to my own.
I didn’t like jam or marmalade in particular. That was a pity because my grandma used to make a lot. Year after year, fruits from her garden have been destined to hibernate in glasses with too much-added sugar that covered their natural taste. “But the sugar is necessary to preserve the fruits for a long time,” my grandma explained when I was mourning.
Later I experimented with low sugar jams but thought she was right: I had to consume them within a couple of months or throw them away.
So I was quite amazed when Natalino told me about his favorite childhood memory: A jam his “mamma” made just of plums and pears – glasses full of late summer memories and tentative signs of autumn. “How is it possible?” I asked him in disbelief.” If you have enough time,” he explained. And added with a little smile: “For us, the time has never been something to worry about.”
Preserving jam without sugar
I would like to put this sugar-free jam to your heart a pure slow food experience. If you have the opportunity to pick your fruits: Don’t hesitate to do so. There are organizations like mundraub.org in Germany which are connecting people with fruit trees that are not owned by anyone. Probably there are similar projects in your country. If not or if you are living in a less green city, of course, your local farmers market is great, too:-)
Enjoy the meditative and sensorial experience of cooking your jam. Once you slowly start to heat your plums and pears, they change their color like leaves in autumn. The pulp turns from green to a warm yellow and orange while the skin changes its color from yellow or purple to red. The tempting smell is hard to explain, “warm” is the most precise memory I have.
Depending on the number of fruits it will take more or less time until the last juice dissolves, and there is nothing more in your pot than a lovely spread.
By the way: Both, plums and pears, contain a high amount of pectin, so you need absolutely no gelling agents.
But is it honestly possible to preserve a sugar-free jam for, let’s say: One year? Yes. Filled into sterilized jars, you have two possibilities. Depending on your time and the additional energy you are willing to use, you may want to can your them traditionally by immersing in boiling water. A quicker way is to freeze them. I tried both ways, and they work.
Enjoy this bitter-sweet delight with bread and butter or in your favorite breakfast bowl, with ice cream, in a cake… so many possibilities!