For every 2 pounds of prepared fruit, add 4 oz. sugar (a gently rounded half-cup is 4 oz.) and combine in a large bowl. Scale as necessary; I usually do 6 pounds fruit and 12 oz. sugar, which gets me about 10-12 half-pint jars of jam, depending on how much I reduce the jam. Cover fruit-sugar mixture and transfer to the refrigerator to macerate. Let sit overnight, or up to 24 hours.
In truth, I’ve left my sugared fruit for a few days in the fridge and there’s never been any harm done. That’s another reason I like this method. Sometimes it’s very nice to be able to put fruit “on pause” for a day or two until you can get it in a jar.
After 12-24 hours, the sugar should be mostly dissolved and the fruit should have released quite a bit of juice.
Transfer the fruit, sugar and all the juices to a large, very wide, shallow pan. Something like a huge saute pan is good. You want as much surface area of the preserve exposed as possible to allow for the fastest evaporation of excess water from the preserve. If you have more fruit than you have pan, divide your fruit and juice as evenly as possible among pans, or work in batches.
Bring the macerated fruit and juices to a simmer over medium heat. Stir frequently, you do not want your fruit to scorch.
When your fruit has softened but not fallen apart, add in your lemon or lime juice, 1 tablespoon for every 2 pounds of fruit initially prepared.
Also add in your Dry Zing component, if using. Use ¼ teaspoon for each initial 2 pounds prepared fruit unless you are using a really potent spice like cloves. Then use less. Stir.
At this point you have to decide what kind of texture you want your preserve to have. If the texture in the pan is too chunky or the pieces are too large, crush your fruit with a potato masher or puree as desired with an immersion blender. I like a quite chunky texture but this is entirely personal.
Take a small spoon of preserve, including some fruit and a bit of syrup together if your preserve is chunky, and taste them. Is your jam sweet enough? Does it need more sugar?
If your preserve is tart at this point, add a bit more sugar, up to an additional 4 oz. (another rounded ½ cup) for every 2 pounds of fruit initially prepared. You may need even more sugar if you are cooking something quite tart, like quince, currants or gooseberries. Trust your judgement. If you think the preserve needs more sugar, add it. If it is sweet enough to your taste, leave it alone. Remember that as you cook the preserve longer the flavors, including the sugar, will taste more concentrated. Stir everything gently but consistently.
When your preserve is glossy, a bit darkened and looks slightly thickened, transfer a bit of jam to a cool (ideally refrigerated) plate. If you run your finger through a dollop of jam on a cool plate and the finger mark remains visible or runs together only very slowly, the jam has reached the soft spoonable stage I prefer.
At this point, add the Wet Zing flavoring if desired, using 1 tablespoon for every 2 pounds of fruit initially prepared. If using a flavor extract, like vanilla or almond, use only 1 teaspoon and adjust to taste. Strength of extracts varies considerably by brand and you don’t want to overdo it. Most of the Wet Zing components have flavor compounds that are quite volatile and should be added towards the end of the cooking time lest their flavor evaporate away.
Stir well, taste jam one last time (clean spoon, please!) and make any final adjustments to the sugar level. You may also add additional citrus juice at this point, if desired. If a preserve tastes like it just needs a little something, usually that something is a few drops of lemon juice. No kidding.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (1015g)|
|Recipe Makes: 1 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 15 (2%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 1.6g||2 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.2g||1 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.3g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.7g|
|Cholesterol 0mg||0 %|
|Sodium 41885.9mg||1444 %|
|Potassium 1197.1mg||32 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 219.8g||65 %|
|Dietary Fiber 17.2g||69 %|
|Sugars, other 202.6g|
|Protein 12.9g||18 %|
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Calories per serving: 889
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