Yes You Can Make Sugar Free Jam!

Fruits are already sweet with high sugar concentration. So why add sugar? Traditionally foods have been preserved with sugar and salt. The problem is that process renders our wonderful home grown foods not only less nutritious, but actually damaging to our health.

Nature did not intend for us to consume such high concentrations of sugar.

Whenever we buy jam, we go for the 100% fruit varieties. The best of these may have some natural fruit juice or pectin, but no added sugar, and they still taste delicious. Not only are they plenty sweet, but you can actually taste more of the fruit versus just sweet.

Here’s one brand available from Amazon that’s sugar free with no artificial sweeteners, and contains only 8 grams of sugar per serving.

It’s great to find healthier options online or at the store, however, these healthier treats are often pricey. So it’s great to find recipes for making sugar free jams using a special pectin that uses no sugar. Some may call for a little honey, or stevia, which is better than refined sugar, but we prefer recipes with no added sweetener.

Make Delicious, Low-sugar Jams and Jellies

By By Roberta Bailey in Mother Earth News

Toast, muffins, pancakes and peanut butter sandwiches all go better with jams and jellies. Here’s how to make them at home, with less sugar.

The first time I made my own jam, I was shocked to find that the recipe called for more sugar than fruit.

When I tried to reduce the sugar in the recipe, I ended up with a thin syrup instead of the thick, fruity jam I had envisioned. As I learned more about making preserves, I found out that pectin, a carbohydrate derived from fruit, is what causes jams and jellies to thicken, and it works best when a substantial amount of sugar is included in the recipe. But one type of pectin, low-methoxyl pectin, thickens jams and jellies with little or no sugar. This pectin makes it possible to create jams and jellies sweetened with honey, artificial sweeteners, the herbal sweetener stevia, or just with fruit. It’s even easier to make low-sugar fruit “butters,” such as peach or apple butter, because these are made without any added pectin at all.

Like many foods these days, homemade jams and jellies often taste much better than store-bought. You can find good buys on quantities of fruit from local growers — check your farmer’s markets and classified ads. And if you’re too busy to make preserves when the fruit is ripe, you can freeze it and process it later when time is not at such a premium.

How beautiful the pantry of home canned goods.


How delightful gifts from the garden.

How Pectin Works

Both jellies and jams are made with sugar and pectin: The difference is that jelly is made with fruit juice, while jams are made with mashed or crushed fruit.

With most fruit pectin, recipes must include 55 percent to 85 percent sugar to allow the interaction among pectin, sugar and fruit acids that causes jams and jellies to thicken properly. That type of pectin is derived from ripe fruit, but low-methoxyl pectin is extracted from citrus peel and thickens when you add calcium phosphate. It was popularized in the early 1960s by naturalist Euell Gibbons, after his diabetic brother began experimenting with it to make jams and jellies with less sugar.

Low-methoxyl pectin is now available from most health food stores and some supermarkets. It’s sold in small packets that include calcium phosphate powder and will make up to 18 cups of jam or jelly — it’s also sold in bulk; one source is Pomona Pectin (Get yours below). I like to follow the simple formula for using this pectin found in Carol Hupping Stoner’s 1977 book, Stocking Up (Get a Copy Below), but you will also find a detailed instruction sheet inside the package. Although some references advise making several small batches, I have had excellent results making batches up to 30 cups at a time.

Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin: The Revolutionary Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Method for Crafting and Canning Jams, Jellies, Conserves, and More by Allison Carroll Duffy

The Ingredients

Whatever type of fruit you work with, here are the basic ingredients you will need:

Low-methoxyl pectin. For jams, use one-half to three-fourths teaspoon of pectin for each cup of mashed fruit. For jellies, use three-fourths to 1 teaspoon pectin for each cup of fruit juice.

Calcium phosphate solution. Mix a half teaspoon of the calcium powder with 1 cup of water to make a calcium solution. For each cup of fruit or juice, you will need 1 teaspoon of calcium solution.

Lemon juice. For low-acid fruits, such as sweet cherries, peaches or plums, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice for each cup of fruit or juice to enhance flavor and thickening ability.

Sweeteners. For each cup of fruit or juice, I would recommend one-fourth to one-half cup of sugar, or one-eighth to one-third cup of honey, but you can adjust the amount of sweetener to taste.

Editor’s Note: We don’t use any and it’s plenty sweet and delicious.

For healthier alternative sweeteners, such a stevia powders and stevia extracts, follow the product directions to find out how much to use in place of sugar. We always cut back on whatever the recipe calls for in sugar and salt.1)

No Sugar Apple Butter


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds assorted apples, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

If you liked this, you may enjoy watching Chevy Chase on with Martha Stewart making homemade apple butter.2)

For more on making canning and preserving, you may be interested in this article.

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