Tuesday, July 08, 2008

No Sugar Added Raspberry Syrup

I've been a fan of Bernardin's "No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin" for a couple of years now. If you like a little spread on your toast, you need to try this stuff. It's very easy to use, and with a little imagination the possibilities are endless! My favourite from last year was "apricot-mango jam"...

Another exciting thing I've tried with this pectin is syrup making. General rule of thumb: double the fruit and sweetener amounts with one box of pectin to make a syrupy fruit topping. Apricot was very successful, and today's raspberry seems to have worked. (the trial amount on my pancakes this morning would indicate complete success...)

Give it a try! It's really not as much work as you might think- and if you don't have sugar issues yourself, but have a diabetic friend or relative, there's nothing that would make a more thoughtful or well appreciated Christmas or birthday gift than a basket of homemade "no sugar added" jams, jellies and syrups!

7 cups raspberry juice*
1 box Bernardin No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin Crystals
2 1/2 cups Splenda artificial sweetener

7 - 8 1 cup (250 ml) canning jars with lids (jars with tin snap lids are recommended; they will need to be processed in hot water bath/ canner)

First, wash and rinse the jars and lids. Set oven to 225*F and set clean jars on rack in oven. They need to be there for 10 minutes to sterilize. (it will take at least that long to make the syrup, so you should be good.) Place the tin snap lids (not the rings) in a small pot; fill the pot about half full of water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and keep simmering while you cook the syrup.

Follow the directions in the pectin box for "light jelly".

Basically: Measure Splenda into a bowl/ container and set aside- where you can reach it while you're stirring the juice.

Whisk pectin crystals into juice in your largest pot. A tall stock pot is wonderful, as jams/ jellies/ syrups tend to "spit" when they're boiling.

Bring juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. When juice is boiling, add Splenda. Stir/ whisk in and boil for 1 full minute.

Remove from heat, and skim foam off into a bowl (for the kids to eat on bread... ) Now, instead of "ladling into jars", I poured the syrup into my 8 cup Pyrex bowl- the one with the handle and the pouring spout... and then I filled the jars.

Remove jars, one at a time, with tongs or oven mit, then pour syrup into jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top of the jar. Using a magnetic canning tool, or tongs or a fork, lift a tin snap lid from the hot water and place it on the jar, securing it in place with the ring.

When all the jars are filled, place them in a canner, cover the jars with water, and boil the jars in the canner for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the jars, and without tightening the lids, set them on a towel to cool, upright and undisturbed for 24 hours. (well... that's what the instructions say... I can't promise I always leave them "undisturbed" that long...)

The tin lids should snap down, feeling a little curved under. They shouldn't "pop" up and down at all. If popping occurs the jar isn't sealed, and you must store it in the fridge.

Yield: 7 - 8 cups syrup.

*You could try using pure, unsweetened commercial juice, but I used juice obtained from fresh fruit: I put the raspberries in my largest pot and added water to almost cover the berries. You need water to keep the berries from burning on the bottom, but you don't want them swimming in it or the juice will be watery. I brought the fruit and water to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so, then turned the stove off, removed the pot from the heat and let the cooked berries stand until they were completely cooled. I then ladled the fruit into a jelly bag (a pillow case that I could do without was cut in half for this purpose several years ago) With a strong string, I tie the bag closed and hang it from an upper cupboard doorknob over a very large bowl. My jelly bag has 2 corners, so I catch one of the corners in the middle when I'm tying it up so the other corner is aiming down into the bowl. (this helps the juice drip to that point, and prevents a big mess all over the counter)

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