Simple, low sugar strawberry jam with no store-bought pectin. It’s the mother of all jams, the basic of the basics, and it’s a recipe everyone has to have on hand! A true favorite and a delicious way to use the early summer harvest!
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love strawberries. They are this glorious fruit that no one can say anything bad about. They are bold in their redness and addictive in their taste.
They can be used a hundred different ways… In smoothies (like this strawberry aloe vera smoothie), in a million different kinds of desserts (like this favorite strawberry bread), and simply as a delicious snack which is our favorite way of eating them…
Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
And after all that, if you happen to have extra… Strawberry jam is the way to go! I make this delicious sugar-free strawberry jam and this mixed berry jam and today, I want to share with you this basic low sugar strawberry jam recipe…
Ingredients For Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
I used 4 pounds of clean, diced, strawberries and 1.8 pounds of sugar to make this batch of jam (I got 6 half-pint jars). The ratio of traditional jam recipes is 1 part fruit to 1 part sugar, however, I find that it’s way too sweet for me. I make jams with a ratio of 1 part fruit to 1/2 part sugar or a little less as I did here. It’s plenty sweet enough and it’s enough sugar for preserving the jam for many months.
You’ll also need fresh lemon juice from half a lemon and 5 or so lemon seeds. Since we aren’t making this jam with the traditional amount of sugar we can’t use store-bought pectin. But there is no need, really. Lemon seeds are rich in pectin and adding them to the jam will help us thicken it.
Tools That We Are Going to Need…
All right, before we start, let’s make sure that we have everything that we need to make this jam…
We are going to need a kitchen scale to measure the sugar and a deep pan or pot with a heavy bottom to cook the jam in. A spatula for stirring and a potato masher or an immersion blender for blending the jam.
You can always store your jam in the fridge but if you plan on canning it, you are going to need all the canning utensils, a ladle or a large spoon, a paper towel to clean the rim of the jars before closing them, and jars, of course. I like using half-pint jars for canning jams. You can reuse the rings but make sure that you are using new lids. Lastly, you’ll need your water bath canner to process the jam.
How to Make Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
Start with 4 pounds of strawberries. Make sure to wash them well then remove the tops and dice the berries.
Next, add the diced strawberries to a deep pan and add the sugar. Turn the heat to medium-high and start cooking the strawberries, stirring frequently.
After a few minutes, the mixture will start to boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently before lowering the heat to just below medium. Cook for an additional 10 more minutes.
At this point, the fruit is soft and you can blend it. I like most of my jams fairly smooth so I prefer to use the immersion blender but if you like larger chunks of fruit in your jam you can just mash it a bit with a potato masher.
If you are using the immersion blender, please be careful! Make sure it’s under the mixture at all times so you don’t splash boiling strawberry juice all over yourself. It’s not fun… Trust me.
Once the jam is blended and smoothed to your liking, keep cooking it, stirring frequently. You’ll probably notice a lot of foam on top, this happens with strawberry jams. Use a spoon to fish the foam out into a bowl. It’s delicious, by the way! Don’t throw it away, let it cool and use it as you would use the jam.
Keep cooking the jam for an additional 35 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
After about 35 minutes, it usually looks like the jam is starting to thicken but is not all the way there. At this point, add the juice of a half lemon…
And also add 5 lemon seeds to the jam. Stir the juice and seeds in…
Keep cooking, stirring frequently for an additional 30 minutes or so. Take into consideration that cooking time might change a bit depending on how ripe and juicy your fruit was.
To make sure that the jam is as thick as you want it you can do the spoon test. Scoop a little bit of jam on a spoon and let it cool for a few minutes on the kitchen counter. Then add the jam right back to the pan and watch it as it leaves the spoon. You can usually gauge how thick it is but take into consideration that it will keep thickening as it cools completely in the jars.
Once the jam reaches your desired thickness, turn off the heat. Now it’s ready for canning.
Canning Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
While the fruit is cooking, fill the water bath canner with enough water to cover the jars by about an inch. Set it on the stovetop and bring the water to a boil. Also, make sure to wash your jars, lids, and rings with hot water and soap and set them aside. Since we are going to process the jars in the water bath canner for more than 10 minutes, there is no need to sanitize them.
Use the funnel and a large spoon to fill the jars, making sure to leave about 1/2 inch headspace…
Next, use the bubble remover to remove any air bubbles that might got stuck between the jar and the jam. Then, use a clean paper towel to clean the rim of my jars…
Then center the lid and close the jars with the rings.
Set the jars on the rack in the water bath and lower the rack into the water slowly. Cover the canner with the lid and process the jars in the boiling water for 15 minutes.
If you live above 1000 feet in altitude, adjust your processing time according to the table above.
Storing Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
Once processing time is done, turn the heat off, uncover the canner and remove the jars. Set them on a kitchen towel on the kitchen counter and let them cool undisturbed overnight.
In the morning, before storing the jars, make sure that all the jars have sealed by pressing on the center of each lid. If there is no movement there it means that the jar is sealed.
I remove the bands (because they stick and rust and make it hard to monitor what’s going on inside the jar), wipe down the jars and store them in a kitchen cabinet or in the pantry for up to 18 months.
Serving Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
Strawberry jam is a classic! It might be the first jam most people turn to and luckily it’s an easy one to make at home. It tastes like spring and a promise to a wonderful summer.
I spread some butter on toast (or homemade bread) and top it with this low sugar strawberry jam. All I need is a cup of hot coffee. In my book, that’s the right way to start the day!
My kids love it with peanut butter in a sandwich. Sometimes, I’ll also add it on top of yogurt with or without my homemade granola. Another option is to add it on top of some sour cream. You can’t go wrong there!
I also love to use it in baking. I make these simple thumbprint cookies and I use it to spread on a cheesecake or in any other cake recipe that calls for strawberries or for jam.
That’s it! This low sugar strawberry jam is really the most basic jam. I always have it on hand because everyone loves it so much. Less sugar allowed us to taste more of the fruit but is still enough to preserve the jam for many months. And as you can see, there is also no real reason to use store-bought pectin. The lemon seeds do the trick just fine!
If you liked this jam recipe, make sure to check my other ones…
For a list of all the jam recipes that I have here on the blog, make sure to check my low sugar jam recipes page here!
- 4 lb strawberries
- 1.8 lb sugar
- Juice from half a lemon
- 5 lemon seeds
- Wash your strawberries. Cut the top of each strawberry and dice it. Add your strawberries to a deep pan.
- Add the sugar to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently until the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Let boil for 5 minutes before lowering the heat to just below medium.
- Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Mash your fruit with an immersion blender or with a potato masher if you like your jam to have larger chunks in it. If you are using an immersion blender, please be careful not to splash hot jam on yourself!
- Stir frequently and let cook an additional 30 minutes. Use a spoon to scoop foam as needed (you can let it cool and use it like you'd use jam. It's delicious!).
- Meanwhile, fill the water bath canner with enough water to cover your jars by 1''. Set it on the stovetop, turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil.
Wash your jars, lids, and rings with hot water and soap and set them aside (since we are going to process the jars in the boiling water for more than 10 minutes, there is no need to sanitize them).
- Back to the jam... Add the juice of half a lemon and add 5 lemon seeds. Mix the juice and the seeds in and cook the jam, stirring frequently, for an additional 35 minutes or until the jam is thick enough for you.
To check if the jam is thick enough, scoop some jam on a spoon and give it a few minutes to cool on the kitchen counter. Then add it back to the pan. Watch how the jam slides off the spoon to measure how thick it is. Just take into consideration that the jam is going to thicken a little more while cooling in the jars. When the jam is ready, turn off the heat.
- Use a canning funnel and a spoon to fill the jars with the hot jam. Make sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace.
Use the bubble remover to remove any air bubbles that got stuck between the jam and the jar.
Use a clean paper towel to clean the rim of the jar. Center the lid and close the jars with the rings, finger tight.
- Once all of your jars are full of jam and ready for processing, set them on the rack in the canner, cover the canner, and process in boiling water for 15 minutes (make sure to adjust processing time according to the table below if you live in altitude higher than 1000 feet).
- Turn the heat off and remove the jars. Set them on a kitchen towel on the counter to cool overnight.
- Check that all of your jars have sealed by pressing the center of the lid. If there is no movement there it means that the jars sealed and ready for storage. Remove the band (cause it sticks and rusts), wipe the jars, and store in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet for up to 18 months.
Adjust processing times according to the table below if you live in altitudes higher than 1000 feet...
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 96 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g
Hi! I’m Lady Lee. I help homesteaders simplify their homesteading journey while still producing a ton of food! I am a single mother of four, I was born in Israel and raised in an agricultural commune called a Kibbutz. Now I homestead in central NC.