Reduced-Sugar Blackberry-Plum

(or Raspberry-Plum) Freezer Jam

Makes 31/2 cups

I like to combine plums with berries because they add fruitiness and vibrant color, but no seeds. Plums are also rich in pectin, so they help ensure that the jam will jell well.

21/3 cups blackberries or red raspberries

2 cups (1 to 11/4 pounds) slightly underripe purple or red plums, pitted and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons water

2 to 21/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use 21/2 tablespoons for very ripe, sweet berries)

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (yellow part of skin)

21/3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons powdered less- or no-sugar-needed pectin, such as Sure-Jell or Ball Fruit Jell

Place several metal tablespoons in the refrigerator to use later in checking the jell of the jam. Have 3 or 4 eight-ounce jars ready.

In a large shallow bowl, crush the berries with the bottom of a wide-bottomed jar. Add the plums, water, lemon juice and zest and 1 cup sugar, stirring until well blended. Let stand about 5 minutes, until the fruit juices begin to flow. Set aside.

In a large, wide-bottomed nonreactive pan or deep-sided skillet on medium-high heat, combine the remaining 11/3 cups sugar and the pectin until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the fruit mixture, stirring to combine well.

The mixture will come to a full, foamy boil; cook, stirring constantly, for 8 minutes or until the plum skins loosen, the berries are tender and the jam is slightly thickened. If the mixture still appears runny after 7 minutes, drop about a teaspoon of it onto one of the chilled metal tablespoons and let it cool for 15 seconds. If it immediately runs off instead of jelling lightly and clinging to the spoon, continue cooking about 1 minute longer, then check using another chilled tablespoon.

As soon as the mixture jells just enough to cling to the spoon, it is done. (It will continue to jell and thicken further upon standing.) Immediately remove from the heat. Skim off and discard any foam from the jam's surface.

Ladle the jam into jars, leaving 3/4-inch headroom to allow for expansion during freezing. Wipe any drips from the jar rim and threads; screw on the lids securely. Let stand until the jam is barely warm. If lids seem loose after cooling and contracting, check and tighten further, but not so much that the seal is broken. Refrigerate for 24 hours. May refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or transfer to the freezer for up to 1 year.

Per 1/4 -cup serving: 181 calories, .2 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, .1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Nancy Baggett; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Quick-Cook, Reduced-Sugar Blueberry or Dark, Sweet Cherry Freezer Jam

Makes about 5 cups blueberry or about 4 cups cherry jam

For best results, use very flavorful berries or cherries. Although Bing is the most widely available dark cherry, other varieties will work fine.

41/2 cups blueberries or 4 cups pitted dark, sweet cherries

12/3 cups sugar

1 1.75-ounce box powdered less- or no-sugar-needed pectin, such as Sure-Jell or Ball Fruit Jell

3/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail or water

3 to 31/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use larger amount for blueberries)

3/4 teaspoon lemon zest (omit for cherries)

1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Place several metal tablespoons in the refrigerator to use later in checking the jell of the jam. Have 3 or 4 eight-ounce jars ready.

Using a food processor, chop the blueberries or cherries; do not puree. (Alternatively, coarsely crush the blueberries using the bottom of a wide-bottomed jar; chop the cherries by hand.) Set aside.

In a large, wide-bottomed nonreactive pan or deep-sided skillet on medium-high heat, combine the sugar and pectin until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the cranberry juice cocktail (or water), lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, if using, and blueberries or cherries, stirring until well blended.

The mixture will come to a full, foamy boil; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. If the mixture appears runny, drop about a teaspoon of it onto one of the chilled tablespoons and let it cool for 15 seconds. If it immediately runs off instead of jelling lightly and clinging to the spoon, cook 1 minute longer, then check using another chilled tablespoon.

As soon as the mixture just clings to the spoon and jells lightly, it is done. (It will continue to jell and thicken further upon cooling.) Immediately remove from the heat. Skim off and discard any foam from the surface.

Remove the cinnamon stick, if using. Ladle the jam into jars, leaving 3/4-inch headroom to allow for expansion during freezing. Wipe any drips from the jar rim and threads; screw on the lids securely. Let stand until the jam has cooled to barely warm. Refrigerate for 24 hours. If lids seem loose after cooling and contracting, check and tighten further, but not so much that the seal is broken. May refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.

Per 1/4-cup serving: 97 calories, .2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates,.1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 2 mg sodium, .9 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Nancy Baggett; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Quick-Cook, Reduced-Sugar Strawberry Freezer (or Strawberry-Raspberry) Jam

Makes about 5 cups

Many fruits and berries are improved by cooking, which sets their color and intensifies their flavor. Strawberries, on the other hand, lose much of their color and fresh taste during cooking, so they are not stirred in until after the pectin mixture has boiled. This yields a jam with a wonderful, right-from-the-berry-patch taste. For a change of pace, use the same recipe to prepare a strawberry-raspberry jam blend.

Note that the jam may be fairly thick when made but will probably thin out a bit during storage.

41/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries (may substitute 3 cups strawberries and 11/2 cups red raspberries)

3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

2 cups sugar, divided

1 1.75-ounce box powdered lower- or no-sugar-need pectin, such as Sure-Jell or Ball Fruit Jell pectin

3/4 cup water

Place several metal tablespoons in the refrigerator to use later in checking the jell of the jam. Have 4 or 5 eight-ounce jars ready.

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the strawberries, lemon juice and 3/4 cup sugar. Let stand about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juices begin to flow. Set aside.

In a large, wide-bottomed nonreactive pan or deep-sided skillet on medium-high heat, combine the remaining sugar and pectin until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the water (and raspberries, if using).

The mixture will come to a full, foamy boil; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. If the mixture still appears runny, drop about a teaspoon of it onto one of the chilled tablespoons and let it cool for 15 seconds. If it immediately runs off instead of jelling lightly and clinging to the spoon, continue cooking about 1 minute longer, then check using another chilled tablespoon.

As soon as the mixture jells just enough to cling to the spoon, it is done. (It will continue to jell further upon standing.) Immediately remove from the heat; stir the strawberry mixture into the pectin mixture. Continue stirring for 2 minutes, scraping the pan bottom until well blended. The mixture will thicken somewhat and will thicken further as it cools. Skim off and discard any foam from the jam surface.

Ladle the jam into jars, leaving 3/4-inch headroom for expansion during freezing. Wipe any drips from jar rim and threads, and screw on lids securely. Let stand until barely warm. Refrigerate for 24 hours. If lids seem loose after cooling and contracting, check and tighten further, but not so much that the seal is broken. May refrigerate for up to 3 weeks longer or freeze for up to 1 year.

Per 1/4-cup serving: 98 calories,.2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, .1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, .1 g saturated fat, .5 mg sodium,.7 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Nancy Baggett; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Reduced-Sugar Nectarine-Orange Marmalade

Makes about 3 cups

It's not necessary to peel the nectarines for this recipe. Depending on their hue, their skins contribute an amber or amber-pink color and deepen the fruit flavor. The skins also contain pectin, which helps the marmalade to jell. Packed in attractive jars, this marmalade makes a special gift. Because it cooks down quite a bit and its pectin concentrates, only a little purchased pectin is needed to facilitate jelling.

1 large navel orange

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup water

2 cups sugar, divided

31/2 cups (11/2 to 2 pounds) pitted and thinly sliced, slightly underripe nectarines

2 tablespoons powdered less- or no-sugar-need pectin, such as Sure-Jell or Ball Fruit Jell

Place several metal tablespoons in the refrigerator to use later in checking the jell of the marmalade. Have 2 or 3 eight-ounce jars ready.

Using a grater that yields fine shreds, remove the zest from the orange, taking care not to take with it the bitter white pith underneath. Using a paring knife, remove the pith from the orange. Cut the segments away from the white membranes; discard membranes and seeds.

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the grated orange zest and segments, lemon juice, water and 1 cup of the sugar. Add the nectarines and gently mix to prevent their discoloration. Let stand about 5 minutes until the fruits release some juice and the sugar begins to dissolve.

In a large, wide-bottomed nonreactive pan or deep-sided skillet on medium-high heat, combine the remaining sugar and pectin until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the fruit mixture to combine well.

The mixture will come to a full, foamy boil; cook, stirring constantly, for 7 minutes or until the nectarines are tender but still hold some shape and the marmalade has slightly thickened. If the mixture still appears runny after 7 minutes, drop about a teaspoon of it onto one of the chilled tablespoons and let it cool for 15 seconds. If it immediately runs off instead of jelling lightly and clinging to the spoon, continue cooking about 1 minute longer, then check using another chilled tablespoon.

As soon as the mixture jells just enough to cling to the spoon and thicken slightly, it is done. (It will continue to jell further upon standing.) Immediately remove from the heat. Skim off and discard any foam from the marmalade surface.

Ladle the marmalade into jars, leaving 3/4-inch headroom to allow for expansion during freezing. Wipe any drips from the jar rim and threads; screw on lids securely. Let stand until cooled to room temperature, and refrigerate for 24 hours. If lids seem loose after cooling and contracting, check and tighten further, but not so much that the seal is broken. May refrigerate for up to 3 weeks longer or freeze for up to 1 year.

Per 1/4 cup serving: 160 calories, .5 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, .2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, .5 mg sodium, .9 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Nancy Baggett; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Peach-Raisin Chutney

Makes about 21/2 cups

This lightly spiced chutney might seem tart when first made, but after a day or so, the raisins impart their sweetness and flavor. Although white peaches will work fine, yellow peaches are more colorful.

I like this as a condiment for curries, as well as a garnish for grilled or roasted poultry or pork. It is also delicious used to perk up a pork chop saute; simply brown the chops, then add 1/2 to 2/3 cup chutney, a peeled and sliced fresh peach or two, and saute until the chops are cooked through.

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper (about 1/3 of a pepper)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon peeled and finely chopped ginger root

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

Scant 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds (may substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom)

Two 3-inch sprigs fresh thyme (may substitute generous 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)

6 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

21/3 cups slightly underripe peeled yellow or white peaches, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup dark seedless raisins

Have 2 or 3 eight-ounce jars ready.

In a medium-size nonreactive pan over medium-high heat, combine the onion, sweet pepper, ginger root, mustard seeds, cardamom, thyme, sugars, vinegar and water. Adjust the heat as necessary so that the mixture boils briskly; cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the peaches and raisins. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, 3 to 6 minutes longer, or until the peaches are barely tender when pierced with a fork and the liquid seems almost syrupy. Remove from the heat.

To test for doneness, put about a tablespoon of the chutney in a small, nonreactive bowl and place in the freezer about 3 minutes. If the syrup is slightly thickened, the chutney is done. If it is still runny, return the pan to the burner and boil 2 minutes longer. (The chutney may still seem rather fluid but will thicken somewhat when chilled.)

Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Ladle the chutney into jars, allowing about 3/4-inch headroom for expansion during freezing. Wipe any drips from the jar rims and threads; screw on lids securely. Let stand until barely warm. If lids seem loose after cooling and contracting, check and tighten further, but not so much that the seal is broken. May refrigerate for 1 month or freeze up to 1 year.

Per 1/4-cup serving: 104 calories, 1 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, .4 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 4 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Nancy Baggett; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Spicy Red Plum

and Tomato Chutney

Makes about 31/2 cups

This zesty chutney goes well as a garnish for almost any grilled or roasted poultry or meat, especially beef. If you have a mortar and pestle, use it to crush the dried spices; otherwise, put them in a small, sturdy plastic bag and, using a rolling pin, crush them until very fine.

1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped

11/2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped ginger root

One 3-inch stick cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice berries, crushed (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice)

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed (may substitute scant 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pinch to 1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, crushed, to taste

2 cloves, finely crushed (may substitute 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons water

21/2 cups pitted and chopped (3/4 inch) unpeeled red or yellow plums

11/4 cups slightly underripe peeled tomatoes, chopped in 3/4-inch pieces

Have 2 or 3 eight-ounce jars ready.

In a medium-size nonreactive pan over medium-high heat, combine the onion, ginger root, cinnamon stick, allspice, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, cloves, sugar, vinegar and water. Adjust the heat so mixture boils briskly and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the plums and reduce the heat to simmer gently for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the plum and tomato pieces are cooked through but still hold some shape. The liquid should seem almost syrupy. Remove from the heat.

To test for doneness, put about a tablespoon of the chutney in a small, nonreactive bowl and place in the freezer about 3 minutes. If the syrup is slightly thickened, the chutney is done. If it is still runny, boil 2 minutes longer. (The chutney may still seem somewhat fluid but will thicken further when chilled.)

Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Ladle the chutney into jars, allowing about 3/4-inch headroom for expansion during freezing. Wipe any drips from jar rims and threads; screw on the lids securely. Let stand until barely warm. If lids seem loose after cooling and contracting, check and tighten further, but not so much that the seal is broken. May refrigerate for 1 month or freeze up to 1 year.

Per 1/4-cup serving: 80 calories, 1 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, .5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol,.1 g saturated fat, 29 mg sodium, 1.6 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Nancy Baggett; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com