Classic Jams

I’ve turned from my mom’s classic recipes to more fruit-forward jams. Get homemade jam recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
As a kid, jam making dominated the summer berry and fruit season. My dad grew much of the fruit: rows of strawberries ripened not long after school let out, and raspberries, boysenberries, and loganberries, which my dad started with cuttings from my grandfather’s vines, came on midsummer. Raspberries were always my favorite: I learned from my mom to fill small canning jars with fresh berries using a classic recipe straight out of the Ball Blue Book, with fruit, lemon juice, powdered pectin, and lots of sugar.

That last bit is the reason I’ve turned from my childhood recipes to updated versions using Pomona’s Universal Pectin whenever I want to can any jam with added pectin. It jells with little or no sweetener and is vegan (it’s extracted from citrus peel and activated by calcium). You can get about four batches instead of the usual one from each box of pectin, and although you risk a softer set, I’ve successfully cooked multiple batches at once. The first jam I ever made with it, more than 10 years ago and using a blend of berries, is still one of my favorites. I soon followed it with a version using my favorite sour cherries.

Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 3 types of berries plus honey, pectin, and lemon juice.
1. Mash the berries.
2. Stir in calcium water from Pomona’s Universal Pectin and lemon juice.
3. Cook in honey and pectin.
4. Fill and water bath the jars.

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Tart Berry Jam

  • Servings: 8–9 half-pint jars
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Print
4 teaspoons calcium water
2-2/3 cups raspberries
2-2/3 cups blackberries
2-2/3 cups blueberries
1 cup honey at room temperature
4 teaspoons pectin powder
1/3 cup lemon juice

Prepare the calcium water according the Pomona’s Universal Pectin package directions, combining the calcium powder with 1/2 cup of water in a small, clean jam jar with a lid and shaking. Add all of the berries to a wide, 6- to 8-quart pot; mash them with a potato masher until mostly crushed. In a bowl, measure out the honey and sprinkle it with the pectin powder; thoroughly mix the pectin into the sweetener.

Shake the calcium water jar, and then add 4 teaspoons of calcium water to the pot; stir it into the fruit. Stir in the lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then add the honey–pectin mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3–4 minutes, just until the pectin dissolves and the jam boils again. Remove the pot from the heat.

Ladle into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, plus your altitude adjustment. Makes 8–9 half-pint jars.

Tips & Tricks
  • This recipe essentially doubles the ratios listed in Pomona’s pectin packaging—a practice approved by the company, unlike other pectin manufacturers. If you have a large canning kettle in which you can fit 7 quart jars, you’ll be able to squeeze in an extra jam jar or two—or have some leftover for sampling.
  • Once you dissolve the calcium powder in water, store the jar in the refrigerator between uses; it will last the jamming season for other recipes that use this pectin (see below).
  • Pomona’s pectin is flexible enough that you can mix and match fruits and still get the jam to set. I love this berry combination: it’s full of fresh fruit flavor with just a hint of sweetness, unlike most jams that hit the tongue in reverse. Although Pomona’s instructions don’t require the lemon juice for raspberries, they do call for 1 tablespoon for every cup of the other two berries in this mix.


I’ve turned from my mom’s classic recipes to more fruit-forward jams. Get homemade jam recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.

Twice as Tasty

I’ve turned from my mom’s classic recipes to more fruit-forward jams. Get homemade jam recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.I have vivid memories of the cherry tree in the backyard when I was growing up. It was one of the first trees I climbed, getting into the branches to pick cherries so ripe that the juice ran down my arms. Somehow we managed to pick at least some of the tree before the birds pecked all of the fruit away. These were sour cherries, which meant they were destined for pie. My grandmother was the master pie maker in the family, but I seem to remember my mom always baked the cherry pies—perhaps Grandma Tiny, already in her 80s by then, was happy to pass on the finicky lattice crust.

When the harvest was big enough, my mom canned those cherries specifically for pies. They were one of my favorites to sneak straight from the jar: tart fruit in a sweet syrup that put maraschino cherries to shame. Even then, I was known to eat the tart cherries straight from the tree, but these days I’m all about letting that sour flavor shine in sweet and savory jars. This was the second recipe I ever canned using Pomona’s pectin.

Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 4 ingredients: cherries, honey, and the pectin and calcium from a packet of Pomona’s Universal Pectin.
1. Boil the chopped cherries and calcium water.
2. Stir in honey and pectin and cook.
3. Fill and process the jars.

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Sour Cherry Jam

  • Servings: 8–9 half-pint jars
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Print
4-1/2 pounds sour cherries
1 cup honey at room temperature
4 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin powder
4 teaspoons calcium water

Remove the stems and pits from the cherries, placing the fruit in a large bowl. Chop the cherries coarsely with an immersion blender, and then measure the fruit; you should have 8 cups. In a small bowl, measure out the honey and sprinkle it with the pectin powder; thoroughly mix the pectin into the sweetener.

Transfer the fruit to a wide, 6- to 8-quart pot. Shake the jar of calcium water that you refrigerated after making Tart Berry Jam until the powder dissolves, and then add the required calcium water to the pot; stir it into the cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then add the honey–pectin mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3–4 minutes, just until the pectin dissolves and the jam boils again. Remove the pot from the heat.

Ladle into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, plus your altitude adjustment. Makes 8–9 half-pint jars.

Tips & Tricks
  • I grab the immersion blender for this recipe, because I like the rough texture of coarsely chopped cherries in the jam. For a smoother spread, pulse them in a food processor to your desired texture.
  • It’s best to pick a few extra cherries when you plan to make this recipe in case some are spoiled or small enough to yield less fruit when crushed. If you still come up short, just adjust the ratios: 2 tablespoons of honey and 1/2 teaspoon each of pectin and calcium water for every cup of crushed cherries.
  • Honey is my preferred sweetener for both of the recipes in this week’s post, but you have many options with this pectin. For the same level of sweetness, add an extra 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. If you prefer a sweeter jam, add up to twice the amount of honey or up to 4 cups of granulated sugar.
  • Although the recipes here are for canning, both of these recipes can be made into freezer jam by following the instructions in the pectin packaging for turning the powder into a liquid pectin. If you do, you’ll be following my mom’s canning trajectory: These days, she makes only freezer jam, and all of the processed jams in her pantry come from me and my sister. Perhaps by the time I turn 80, I will follow in my ancestors’ footsteps and give up canning.


Want to play with more variations? Twice as Tasty is teaching these techniques in a workshop held in your own kitchen, among friends—and with my personal help. Click here to learn more.

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