gluten free, dairy free, no-added sugar
Call me old fashioned, but I love jam. I haven’t eaten it in ages though, because it’s sooooo sugar-laden FYI if you’ve never made it before – conventional jam has a ratio of 1:1 fruit to sugar…thus 1 teaspoon of jam is pretty much 1 teaspoon of sugar. It’s perfectly sweet and tasty – yes, but it’s definitely not good for us…. Until now !
This easy 15-minute ‘jam’ recipe is something I created by default last week. I was stewing dried apricots to mix through my baby’s natural sheep milk yoghurt, when it occurred to me that the end result was more like a spread, rather than stewed fruit…. (perhaps I overcooked it!)
Unlike conventional jam recipes, which use kilos of fresh fruit expensive! and kilos of sugar so not good for us, this recipe uses one AFFORDABLE ingredient and that is, dried fruit. It’s as simple, as basic and as sugar-free at least no-added sugar as that.
While you can add other ingredients, such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla pods or ginger, it’s really not necessary as it’s hard to overpower, let alone compete with the sweet and concentrated flavour of the dried fruit itself. You could, however, get a little adventurous and combine a couple of different fruits – apricots and peaches for example would make a good combination.
I als recommend using dried fruits, which are sulphur dioxide (SO2) free. SO2 is a food preservative, common in a lot of dried fruit. In apricots for example, it’s used to maintain that bright orange colour. Instead, look for naturally dark apricots, which should therefore be S02-free, the same goes for dried peaches too. It’s also best to choose dried fruit which does not contain vegetable oil either – it’s just not necessary.
So give it go and even if jam is a little too fuddy-duddy for you then use it as a substitute for quince paste next time you throw together a cheese platter!
Makes: approx 2 cup
- Small bowl
- Fork for mashing
- 2 Cups Dried Fruit eg apricots, peaches, strawberries, or figs
- In a saucepan, bring the dried fruit to the boil in 4 cups of water.
- Allow to simmer until very tender. Apricots will take approx 12-15 mins
- Strain the fruit, discarding the excess water.
- Transfer the fruit into a bowl and mash with a fork until you achieve a smooth ‘spread’-like texture. Figs are a little harder to mash, so you may need to finely chop them with knife too.
- Once cooled, transfer to a jar or airtight container and/or use immediately.
- As there is no added sugar, which would otherwise act as a preservative, store this jam in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- If you don’t think you’ll use it within a week, choose smaller storage containers and freeze the surplus jam until you’re ready for it.
Beyond use as a toast or sandwich ‘spread’, with this jam, you can:
- Mix a tbsp through porridge
- Use as a sweetener for natural yoghurt
- Mix through ice-cream for dessert
- Use as a Jam-Drop filler
- Use as a tart filler
- Spread on a sponge cake
- Spread on bread & butter pudding
- Serve instead of quince paste on a cheese platter
Baby & Toddler Food
- Mix through baby’s yoghurt
- Spread on toast fingers
- Mix through mashed steamed vegetables for spoon feeding