Honey has a long history of being the favorite natural sweetener, so it’s resurgence into preserving recipes isn’t surprising.
It’s a natural, much healthier alternative to processed sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its supporting role as a sweetener allows the flavor profile of the fruit or other ingredients to shine through instead of the super sweetness of sugar.
If you’re familiar with Pomona’s Pectin, you know that there are 2 parts; a liquid – calcium water (that you’ve already made using water, according to the directions on the packet) and pectin powder. The powder is what gets incorporated to the sweetener of choice. When you’re substituting honey, you simply combine the pectin powder with the honey & mix well before you add the honey to your fruit.
Important things to keep in mind:
Marisa’s latest book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, has an entire section devoted to recipes that use Honey as the sweetener. During one of her preserving classes at Fillmore Container, we made this Pear Vanilla Jam with Honey. It was amazing!
Makes 5-6 pints
6 pounds ripe, thin skinned pears (like Bartlett or Bosc)
3 cups honey, divided
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons calcium water
2 tablespoonsPomona’s Pectin powder
Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 5-6 pints of jam (the yield varies depending on how much water the pears contain).
Wash, core and chop pears. Place them in a low, wide pan and add 1/2 cup water, 2 cups honey, vanilla seeds and beans, the lemon zest and juice, and the calcium water. Stir to combine and place on the stove. Set the burner to medium-high heat and cover the pot. Cook the pears, stirring regularly, until they are soft. This should take 35-40 minutes.
Once the pears are tender, grab a potato masher and break them down into a chunky sauce. Whisk the pectin powder into the remaining cup of honey. Bring the pears up to a simmer and stir in the pectin-spiked honey.
Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, until the jam begins to thicken. Once it is thickening, remove the pan from the heat. Funnel jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
When time is up, remove jars from canner and set them to cool on a folded kitchen towel.
Sealed jars are shelf stable for up to a year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 weeks.
Marisa shares a wonderful variety of “Honey Sweetened” recipes on her Food in Jars Blog.