Are you tired of putting more sugar than juice in your American Beautyberry Jelly? Well, fear no more, I have the recipe you want!
We always have a lot of American Beautyberry growing around our property. It is in abundance and tastes great so why not use it for jelly!
What are Beautyberries
In our area the beautyberry we are talking about are American Beautyberries (Callicarpa americana L.), which grow in the wild from the Atlantic Ocean to Texas, and from Missouri or Maryland to the Gulf of Mexico. Said another way, it is prevalent in the Southeast.
While it is available in the wild there are also cultivars you could choose to grow on your property.
It likes to grow on edges, like the edge of a forest on the side of the road, a field, or other situations like that.
It is hard to describe the taste, as it isn’t much like anything else, but if I were to give it a try I would call it floral, with a fruity undertone. Don’t I just sound like some foodie now…
Making Homemade Jelly
Anyhow – every recipe I was finding had this CRAZY ratio of 3 cups of juice to 4 1/2 cups of sugar! Well, we all know what that ended up tasting like – sugar, with sugar undertones.
I wanted that beautyberry flavor and since I have an ample supply of beautyberries to pick from, it was time to experiment.
My first step was to procure some low-sugar fruit pectin. Surely this would have the information I needed inside of it.
Of course beautyberry isn’t a common ingredient so we can’t just skim down the chart and follow directions. On average the recipes call for a ratio of about 4 1/2 cups of juice to 3 cups sugar.
Well, that is certainly better, but not what I really want. I still want to use less sugar, yet the instructions clearly state in bold capital letters: Do not reduce the sugar in recipe since that will result in set failures.
Oh, really? Well, you know what they say about rules!
I had 3 cups of juice and it seemed to me that if I wanted to sweeten the juice but keep it flavorful a good ratio to try would be 3 to 1 – so 1 cup of sugar it is.
I made the juice just as most others does, nearly 2 liters of berries to 2 liters of water, boiled for 20 minutes and strained (this made 6 cups of juice, 3 cups were used in the standard recipe and 3 cups I used for this trial).
I followed all the same general jelly-making rules. I added 1 packet of the low-sugar pectin and brought it to a boil. I added my sugar and brought it back to a boil. I boiled it for 1 minute and removed it from the heat.
The result? Flavorful, yet sweet, beautyberry jelly. It worked. It set up JUST FINE, though perhaps not as quickly as before. I think perhaps boiling just a bit longer than a minute might help it set more quickly, but after a night in the fridge it was set up perfectly, no run at all.
So, there you have it:
LOW-SUGAR BEAUTYBERRY RECIPE
1-packet Low-Sugar Fruit Pectin
3 Cups Beautyberry Juice
1 Cup Cane Granulated Sugar
A few noteworthy items – lowering the sugar by necessity means less yield. This recipe made, as you might expect, 4 cups, or 32 ounces, of jelly. We put it in four 8-ounce jars and put them in the fridge for immediate use. The other note is that it is said that lowering the sugar content will reduce shelf life. As such you may only wish to do this if you plan to use the jelly right away.
If you have any tips about making low sugar jellies from fruits that don’t have enough pectin to set up without it, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about what you’ve learned!
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