My orange jams and strawberry jams with honey are not getting set.. for some reason I don't use pectin (mental block maybe - though I know it's a natural ingredient).. reading a lot of blogs I found this could be the case when lower amount of sweetner is used.. Is this correct? My friends love the saucy consistency so that's not a problem.. but I want to know if this is normal or should I let it boil more?
Strawberry jam: -1kg strawberry + 100 grams water to boil initally to remove seeds (this was for a kid who doesn't like the seeds) -600 grams honey -3 tbsp lemon juice
To start with low flame for 10 minutes and then at a medium flame for 80 minutes.. temperature was 104°C when I switched it off..
Orange : -500 grams orange juice -220 grams honey -1 tbsp lemon juice
Low flame 10 minutes + boil in medium flame for 30 mins - end temp 104.5°C
Jam is set with pectin or it is syrup. Period.
If you are not adding pectin then you are relying on whatever pectin is available in the fruit you use. Strawberries don't have a lot. Oranges have a good amount but it's in the peel- thus the existence of marmalade.
Pectin requires sugar and acid to set. The sugar is not going to prevent a normal jam from setting.
If you boil it longer you will just be removing water which will thicken your syrup and maybe it will be thick enough for your tastes but it still is unlikely to gel like jam.
If you are deathly opposed to purchasing pectin, you can make it yourself by boiling tart apples. It's a lot of work and you will end up with a product that is no better than commercial pectin but you will have control of the process.