This is a 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, And simply as a delicious snack which is our favorite way of eating them…
Aside from strawberry jam, of course, which is another favorite way to use strawberries.
I made this delicious sugar free strawberry jam and today, I want to share with you this basic low sugar strawberry jam recipe…
Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
A few years ago, I planted a bed of strawberries. I was hoping that I’d have enough for us to both pick and eat fresh and also for me to make jam or use in baked goods…
In my dreams…
After a couple of seasons I realized that if I want to accomplish this elaborate goal, I am going to have to plant a field of strawberries.
A bed ain’t gonna do it!
My kids practically sleep by the strawberry bed and watch the flowers turn to berries. Once a berry is ready, Word War III happens in the backyard and the berry is snatched by the termites before I even blink.
I’ve tried to sneak behind their backs and pick some strawberries in hopes to have enough to make… Something, or God forbid snack on a couple.
It’s not going to happen… So now, I try to go to a local strawberry farm once a year in the spring. I take the kids and we pick as many as we can.
We eat fresh strawberries until we feel like puking, I freeze as many as I can, and I try to make enough jam to last for the whole year.
I figured, with the level of love for strawberries around here, I need the help of the professionals.
Today I want to share with you my go-to strawberry jam recipe. It’s simple and easy. It has one half of the amount of sugar traditional jam has like all of my other jams and no store-bought pectin.
It’s really a basic recipe that I use to make most of my jams and it’s the kind of jam that no one ever gets tired of. It has to be in stock on the shelf at all times!
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…
Mixing bowl – for the strawberries. As you dice your strawberries you can add them right into the pan.
Cutting board – I love my wooden cutting board!
Knife – to dice the strawberries.
Deep pan – most of the time, when I make jams (unless I process a really large amount of fruit) I use my non-stick deep pan.
Kitchen scale – to measure the sugar.
Spatula – to stir the jam. Or you can also use a wooden spoon.
Immersion blender – to blend the fruit and smooth the jam. I use an immersion blender because I prefer my jams on the smooth side. If you like large chunks of fruit in your jam you can use a potato masher instead.
Canning utensils – we will use all of them; the funnel, the jar lifters, the magnetic lid lifters and so on…
Large Spoon – to ladle the jam into the jars.
Half-pint jars – I think that the best jar size for this jam is either pint or half-pint with the regular mouth. For this recipe, you’ll see me using the half-pints.
Paper towel – I always use a clean paper towel to clean the rim of my jars before I cover and close them.
Small pot – to sanitize the bands and lids.
Lids and bands – to cover and close the jars before processing.
Water bath canner – to process the jam.
We’ve got everything that we need, now let’s start by preparing the strawberries for this amazing low sugar strawberry jam…
Preparing the Strawberries For Jam…
I started with 4 pounds of strawberries. I make sure to wash them well…
Before I remove the tops and dice the berries.
Cooking Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
Next, I add the diced strawberries to a deep pan and add half of the weight of the berries in sugar. In fact, I usually go a little bit lower.
This time I added 1.8 pounds of sugar…
I turn the heat to high and start cooking the strawberries. I make sure to mix them with the sugar constantly until the sugar melts and there is more juice…
After a few minutes, the mixture will start to boil. I let it boil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently before I lower the heat to just below medium and cook for an additional 10 more minutes.
Blending the Fruit…
At this point, the fruit is soft and I can blend it to smooth for the jam.
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 my jam is blended and smoothed to my liking, I keep cooking it, stirring frequently.
Removing the Foam…
You’ll probably notice a lot of foam on top. It doesn’t happen with other jams as much as it happens with strawberry jam.
Usually, I just ignore it and mix it right in but with strawberry jam I fish it out because often there is a lot of it.
So I just use a spoon, and fish the foam out into a bowl. It’s delicious, by the way! Don’t throw it way, just use it as you would use the jam.
Once most of the foam is removed, I just keep cooking for an additional 35 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
Preparing the Waterbath Canner…
While the fruit is cooking, I fill my water bath canner with water, set the rack inside and add my jars to the canner.
From the 4 pounds of strawberries that I processed, I produced 6 half-pints of low sugar strawberry jam.
You want to make sure that you fill the canner with enough water so when you add your jars of jam to the water bath canner the water covers the jars by about 1”.
I let the water in the canner come to a boil and then boil for 5 minutes or so to sanitize the jars. Then turn the heat down to keep the water simmering until the jam is ready.
While the jam is cooking and the water in the water bath is heating, I also take a small pot, fill it with water and add my bands and lids to it. I set it on the stovetop and bring it to boil as well.
I let it boil for 5 minutes to sanitize the bands and lids before I turn the heat off. I just leave the bands and lids in the hot water until I need them.
Thickening the Jam…
After about 35 minutes, it usually looks like the jam is starting to reach my desired thickness but is not all the way there…
At this point, I add the juice of a half lemon…
And I also add 5 lemon seeds to the jam.
Lemon seeds have natural pectin in them and they help the jam thicken (you can leave them in or fish them out when the jam is ready).
I stir the juice and seeds in…
And keep cooking, stirring frequently for an additional 30 minutes or so.
Take into consideration that cooking time might change a bit depending of how ripe and juice your fruit is.
To make sure that the jam is as thick as I want it…
I scoop a little bit on a spoon and let it cool for a few minutes. Then I add it right back to the pan.
I watch the way the jam slides off the spoon to measure its thickness. Just remember to take into consideration that the jam will keep on thickening after you can it and while it cools completely.
Once the jam reaches my desired thickness I turn off the heat and place the pot on my cutting board on the counter.
We are ready to can this low sugar strawberry jam!
Canning Low Sugar Strawberry Jam…
I like to use half-pint jars for this jam but pint jars or anything in between will work well too.
At this point, the water in the canner is simmering, the jars are still in there and the lids and bands are ready too.
I use my jar lifter to lift one jar from the canner. I dump the water that is in it right back into the canner and place it on the cutting board.
I use the funnel and a large spoon to fill the jar, making sure to leave about 1/2 inch headspace.
Next, I use the bubble remover to remove any air bubbles that might got stuck between the jar and the jam…
Then, I use a clean paper towel to clean the rim of my jar…
Before I use the magnetic lid lifters to lift a lid from the pot of hot water and center it on the jar.
Lastly, I close the jar with the band finger-tight (not too tight) and move on to filling the next jar.
Processing the Strawberry Jam…
Once the jars are ready, I set them back on the rack in the water bath (the water there is still simmering) and lower the rack into the water slowly.
Then, I cover the canner with the lid and turn the heat back to high to bring the water back to a rolling boil.
I process my low sugar strawberry jam for 15 minutes for both pint and half-pint jar size.
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, I turn the heat off, uncover the canner and let the jars rest in the hot water for an additional 10 minutes or so. Then, I use my jar lifters to lift them out of the canner and set them on the wooden cutting board or on a kitchen towel on the counter.
I let them rest and cool completely, undisturbed, overnight.
In the morning, before I store them, I 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.
Usually all of my jars seal but if I have one that didn’t seal I store it in the fridge and use it first (you can also try to process it again).
I remove the bands, wipe down the jars and store them in a kitchen cabinet or in the pantry.
The reason that I remove the bands is that it’s easier to monitor what’s happening inside the jar if they are not in the way and also I reuse the bands for canning something else.
My general rule is that I try to use all of my jams within a year but it will probably last even longer.
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 called for strawberries or for jam.
That’s it! This low sugar strawberry jam is really the most basic jam that I always have it on hand because everyone loves it so much.
This process is the process that I use to make most of my jams. There is really no reason to go for the traditional 1:1 ratio between fruit and sugar.
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…
- 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 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.
- While the jam is cooking, use a spoon to scoop some of the foam out (you can 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'' and set it on the stovetop. Place your jars inside the canner, on the rack, and bring the water to a boil. Let the water boil for 5 minutes or so to sanitize the jars and then turn the heat down to keep the water simmering until the jam is ready.
- Also, add your lids and bands to a smaller pot. Cover them with water, set on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes before turning the heat off. Leave the lids and bands in the hot water until you need them.
- 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 it is thick enough for you. To check if the jam is thick enough I scoop some jam on a spoon and give it a few minutes to cool. Then I add it back to the pan. I 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. When the jam is ready, turn off the heat.
- Use your jar lifter to lift a jar from the canner. Dump the water back into the canner and set the jar on a wooden cutting board.
- Use a canning funnel and a spoon to fill the jar 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.
- Use the magnetic jar lifters to lift a lid from the pot of hot water and center it on the jar.
- Use the magnetic jar lifters to lift a band from the pot of hot water and close the jar finger-tight (not too 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 bring the water back to a boil. Process in boiling water for 15 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars stay in the hot water for 10 more minutes.
- Use your jar lifter to lift the jars out of the canner and set them on a kitchen towel on the counter or on a wooden board. Let them cool undisturbed 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 jar is sealed and ready for storage.
- Remove the band, wipe the jar, and store in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet.
Processing time is the same for half-pint and pint jars (or anything in between).
If you live in altitude above 1000 feet you'll have to adjust your processing time. Please find the adjustment table in the post above and follow it.
This jam will last for a year or more in the proper storage. I try to use all of my jams within a year.
This is a basic low sugar recipe that you can use to make jam with any fruit!
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