Sugar-free orange marmalade was a very big project for me.
I wanted to reconcile at all costs my love for all things jam and preserves with my very moderate sugar consumption. While I find it very hard to swear off all sugar (life without an occasional cookie or ice cream scoop would not be worth living!), I like to use my modest sugar allowance as judiciously as I possibly can. I thought, if I could pull off a great Sugar-free jam of some sort, I could go back to slathering it on whole grain toast, with a layer of peanut butter, and call it lunch: one of my favorite treats. Just like in my young care-free lean years when diet was a dirty word!
So I tinkered until I dropped.
Sugar-free orange marmalade was not an instant success.
In fact it drove me a little nuts. I hated to drab and lackluster color I kept getting, even though the flavor was terrific. It was missing the pristine sheen of sugar-based preserves, and frankly it was too uninviting. If Mind Over Matter didn’t work for me, the artisan, how on earth would it work for anyone? We all know our eyes eat first, and my eyes were not having any of it, thank you very much!
What do I mean by Sugar-Free Marmalade?
I resolutely distance myself from the Splenda crowd, sorry. So no, not going there. Rather, I experimented with natural sweeteners that had a much more respectable pedigree: Xylitol, Erythritol and Pure Stevia (no carrier). In fact I love this trio so much I always make a big batch so I always have it on hand. I find that when the three of them are combined, I get no objectionable taste whatsoever, and I use it even in hot chocolate and muffins.
How did I improve on the color of sugar-free marmalade?
This is where I have to thank my Social Media Fans: Suggestions abounded: The ones I kept came from two valuable places: My talented friend and soul sister Sarah Rivka Zulauf, and a relative and dear friend of mine. The first suggested dried safflower. It looks like a poor man’s saffron, but is used for its deep color and its medicinal calming qualities, and is very inexpensive. The second is, crushed high potency Vitamin C. Both do a great job of retaining a deep color. I decided, since they are both very cheap, I will combine them. So: Dear Rivkah and Leah, thank you, I have reached the Holy Grail! Talk about what you can give for a Healthy Mishloach Manot!
I have a whole chapter on all-fruit jams in my book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen. But I wanted to streamline the recipe further, and I am mighty pleased with my results.
The choice of a pot is important:
It must be stainless steel, and your mixture must be as shallow as possible. This means choose a pot with a broad bottom.
I used sunflower lecithin for added suspension:
Natural, very inexpensive and very efficient.
OK. Watch out for berry jam and apricot jam next.
Now that I got the hang of it, the rest is easy!
I am using using about 2/3 oranges and 1/3 lemons, but you can use all oranges.
- 8 cups orange juice marked "lots of pulp"
- 1 12-0z container pure frozen orange juice
- 1/4 cup safflowers
- 4 caps high potency vitamin C, crushed with a little boiling water
- 1 cup xylitol
- 1 cup erythritol
- 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia
- 4 large thick-skinned navel oranges
- 4 large thick-skinned lemons
- 2 teaspoons sunflower lecithin
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
In a heavy broad bottom stainless steel pot, bring the first set of ingredients to a boil. While the mixture is heating, wash the fruit thoroughly, quarter it, and remove any seeds. Shed the fruit in a food processor, and add to the pot. When it comes to a boil again, reduce the flame to medium low, and cook uncovered about 1 hour, stirring often to prevent scorching. The mixture will start thickening. Stir in the lecithin and lemon juice, and cook just a few more minutes.
You will end up with about 4 pints. Store in glass jars.
It freezes very well, so don't divide: Freeze!