Looking for How to Make Jam Without Adding Sugar (Using Honey, Stevia, Splenda, Agave or Fruit Juice) - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs in 2023? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above. If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.
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But I'll warn you that if you don't add ANY sugar the jam will be a bit more bland, the color will be darker and it generally is a bit more runny. It seems to work best to use a 50-50 mix of Sugar and Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, or fruit juice and Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, . For the regular recipe (with sugar) click here!
But you can make no-sugar and overcome some of the issues: A visitor, who is a diabetic, writes "For flavor, I add in lime or lemon juice in, depending on the fruit. Blackberries, blueberries do well with lime, most other fruit does okay with lemon. You can also add cinnamon to some pit fruit, which gives it a nice flavor, too. You can also add some fresh lemon zest in to add to the flavor. I usually only add about 1-2 cups Splenda (or about 1/3 that if you use Stevia, which is my preference). My experience is that as long as the fruit is fresh, well-washed, and well-cooked, that it'll keep, just like other jams. "
Here's how to do it, in 10 easy steps and completely illustrated. These directions work equally well for strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach, fig, loganberry, boysenberry, blueberry or mixed berry jam. Any variations will be spelled out in the directions inside the pectin.
This example shows you how to make either Strawberry jam or Strawberry - Raspberry - Blackberry Jam - also called Triple Berry Jam (my favorite, and everyone I give a jar to, says it has become their favorite, too!) But you can use this recipe to make any type of jam; where there is a difference, I will point it out! The yield from this recipe is about 8 eight-ounce jars (which is the same as 4 and a half pints).
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!
At right is a picture I took of wild blackberries - they are plentiful in late June throughout Georgia. I usually look in rural north Georgia.
I prefer to grow my own; which is really easy - but that does take some space and time.
As mentioned in the Ingredients section; you may use frozen berries (those without syrup or added sugar); which is especially useful if you want to make some jam in December to give away at Christmas!
Above and at left are strawberries and blackberries that I picked at a pick-your-own farm. If you want to pick your own, here is a list and links to the pick your own farms.
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If a canning recipe calls for 10 minutes or more of process time in the canner, then the jars do not need to be "sanitized" before filling them. But really, sanitizing them first is just good hygeine and common sense! See this page for more detail about cleaning and sanitizing jars and lids.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 10 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam.
Jam can ONLY be made in rather small batches - about 6 cups at a time - like the directions on the pectin say, DO NOT increase the recipes or the jam won't "set" (jell, thicken). It takes about 8 to 10 cups of raw, unprepared berries per batch to make 6 cups of mushed up, prepared berries. For triple berry jam, I use 4 cups of mushed (slightly crushed) strawberries, 1 cup of raspberries and 1 cup of blackberries.
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in plain cold water.
With strawberries you must remove the hulls. With other berries, just pick off any stems and leaves, large seeds, stems, etc..
Then you just mush them up a bit - not completely crushed, but mostly. Most people seem to like large chunks of fruit but crushing them releases the natural pectin so it can thicken. You will need about 6 cups, mushed up.
If you want seedless jam, you may need to run the crushed berries through a Foley food mill (at right). They cost about $30.
It works well for blackberries, not so well for raspberries, and no one tries to remove strawberry seeds (they're so small). I suppose you could train monkeys to pick them out, but they'd probably form a trade labor union. But I digress..
The only difference between a jam and a jelly, is jellies are filtered to remove solids, using only the juice. So if you want to make jelly, right now is the time to get out your jelly strainer, and run the fruit through it:
Depending upon which type of jam you're making (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, apricot, peach, grape, etc.) you will need to use a different amount of sweetener (sugar, fruit juice, and or Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, ), jam and pectin - to taste. Strawberries are obviously more naturally sweet than blackberries.
You will need to use the No-sugar pectin, in order to get a good set with less (or no) sugar.
Mix the dry pectin with about 1/4 cup of the sweetener mix and keep this separate from the rest of the sweetener.
Stir the pectin and lemon juice into the berries and put the mix in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning). It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get it to a full boil (the kind that cannot be stirred away).
Notes about pectin: I usually add about 25% - 30% more pectin (just open another pack and add a little) or else the jam is runnier than I like. With a little practice, you will find out exactly how much pectin to get the thickness you like.
Is your jam too runny? Pectin enables you to turn out perfectly set jam
every time. Made from natural apples, there are also natural no-sugar
pectins that allow you to reduce the sugar you add by half or even eliminate
Get canning jars, rings, lids and pectin deliverd:
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle; you don't really have to sanitize the jars - the boiling water bath sanitizes everything; but you DO want to get the jars as clean as you can first. I get the dishwasher going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars.
Lids: put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
When the berry-pectin mix has reached a full boil, add the rest of the sweetener (as specified in step 5) and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jam is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/s to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.
Why? Otherwise, the fruit will often float to the top of the jar. This isn't a particular problem; you can always stir the jars later when you open them; but some people get fussy about everything being "just so", so I've included this step! Skipping this step won't affect the quality of the jam at all.
Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put the filled jars into the canner!
Note: Although you will hear some people say they don't even boil the filled jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them, that is a terrible idea. Putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage! To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the jam and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 5 minutes. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them. The directions inside every box of pectin will tell you exactly. The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative. Clemson University says you only need to process them for 5 minutes. I usually hedge my bets and start pulling them out after 7 minutes, and the last jars were probably in for 10. I rarely have a jar spoil, so it must work.
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
Once cooled, they're ready to store. find they last about 18 months. After that, the get darker in color and start to get runny. They still seem safe to eat, but the flavor is bland. So eat them in the first 12 to 18 months after you prepare them!
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Jam - makes 8 jars, 8 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2023||Source||Subtotal|
|Berries (strawberries)||1 gallon||$11.00/gallon||Pick your own||$10.00|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||8 jars||$11/dozen 8 oz jars
|Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$5.00|
|Sweetener - see step 4||6 cups||$2.50||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$2.50|
|Pectin (no-sugar, low sugar or regular, dry)||1 and a third boxes *||$1.50 per box||
Sure-Jell No-Sugar needed pectin
or about $2.44 per jar
|* pectin use varies - blackberry
jam needs very little, raspberry a little more, strawberry the most.
** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles,, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! abcxyz123.
These are my favorite essential canning tools, books and supplies. I've been using many of these for over 50 years of canning! The ones below on this page are just the sampling of. my preferred tools. but you can find much more detailed and extensive selections on the pages that are linked below.
This is THE book on canning! My grandmother used this book when I was a child.; It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc.
If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)The New Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving
Canning and Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward
This is another popular canning book. Click here for more information, reviews, prices for Canning and Preserving For Dummies
Of course, you do not need to buy ANY canning book as I have about 500 canning, freezing, dehydrating and more recipes all online for free, just see Easy Home Canning Directions.
I have several canners, and my favorite is the stainless steel one at right. It is easy to clean and seems like it will last forever. Mine is 10 years old and looks like new.
The black ones are the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce.
This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, Jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. It's only missing the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book.
You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)!
The complete list of canners is on these pages:
If you plan on canning non-acidic foods and low acid foods that are not pickled - this means: meats, seafood, soups, green beans corn, most vegetables, etc., then you ABSOLUTELY must use a Pressure Canner.
Of course, you can use a pressure canner as a water bath canner as well - just don't seal it up, so it does not pressurize. This means a Pressure Canner is a 2-in-1 device. With it, you can can almost ANYTHING.
There are also other supplies, accessories, tools and more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
From left to right:
Don't spend money on books. that you don't need to. Almost everything you can find in some book sold online or in a store is on my website here for free. Start with theEasy Home Canning Directions below. That is a master list of canning directions which are all based upon the Ball Bblue book, the National Center for Home Food Preservation and other reputable lab tested recipes. Almost every recipe I present in addition to being lab tested com. is in a step by step format with photos for each step and complete. explanations. that tell you how to do it, where to get the supplies and pretty much everything you need to know. In addition, there almost always in a PDF format so you can print them out and use them while you cook.
most recent version of
the Ball Blue Book