Homemade low sugar strawberry jam perfectly captures delicious summer strawberries in easy-to-make jam that you can enjoy all year long!
I have a confession. I am a total jam snob. I refuse to eat store bought jam. Ever. I have been making and canning my own jam for about 6 years and haven’t touched store bought since. It just tastes so bad compared to homemade jam made out of real fruit!
I got into making jam because of my Aunt Debby. She used to make raspberry jam and give the entire family jars at Christmas. We have a very large family so if you’ve ever made jam, you know that this is quite the undertaking, but it was a labor of love for her, just like everything she did. Her jam was so delicious, and I’m sure the fact that her hands touched it made it even more amazing.
When she passed away a few years ago, I knew I wanted to carry on the tradition, so I bought a boatload of jars, bought whatever fruit went on sale in the summer, and learned to make jam. Making it is the easy part. It’s the canning that takes some real work (and a lot of practice). It was pretty hilarious on jam days in the tiny house my husband rented because there was almost no counter space and no dishwasher. It always looked like a giant strawberry and an antique shop got in a fist fight in the kitchen. And it took forever to clean. We would find jam splatters for days.
The first jam I ever made was strawberry. So simple and delicious, it’s what got me hooked on making my own jam, because it tastes nothing like the syrupy sugar-filled versions that I grew up on. It tastes like actual strawberries. It turns simple toast into the best toast you’ve ever eaten. (Although since then, I’ve also become a bread snob and refuse to eat store-bought bread, too.) This homemade low sugar strawberry jam is glorious.
I buy the Ball No-Sugar or Low-Sugar Pectin that allows you to make low-sugar jam, which is what I prefer, but you can buy regular pectin too. The recipe I use is just from the back of the label, and any label will tell you how to make it. This is just the version I make, and I’ve found that it works out beautifully and so tasty with just the right amount of sweetness so you can still taste the delicious fruit.
You don’t have to can your jam, and if you don’t, I would recommend halving the recipe. I usually double the recipe to make a lot of jars, even though the label says not to, because it may not set correctly. Naturally that’s a challenge to me, so I try to see how many jars I can get out of one batch. Turns out, they are right. I’ve had some not set before, but I still risk it. (What can I say, I live life on the edge!) If you don’t can your strawberry jam, just store it in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it in a freezer-safe container. If you can it, you can store sealed cans in the pantry and have delicious homemade low sugar strawberry jam for months to come!
Low-sugar homemade strawberry jam perfectly captures delicious summer strawberries in easy-to-make jam that you can enjoy all year long!
- 4 cups prepared strawberries (see instructions below)
- 1 cup water
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 4 1/2 tbsp low sugar pectin (I use Ball)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- If you are canning your jam, sanitize and prepare your jars. I like to wash them in warm soapy water, then boil the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes, then I keep them in the oven on 200°F on a cookie sheet to keep them hot. (Do not pour hot jam into cold jars or they will shatter.) Boil the lids in the water bath for at least 5 minutes before using.
- To prepare strawberries, wash them and remove stems and hulls. Place strawberries in a food mill and mash all of them, catching the juice in a large bowl. You can also blend them in a blender and strain the juice, discarding the seeds.
- Place strawberries, water, and lemon juice in a large stock pot. Stir in pectin and heat the mixture over high meat until it comes to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Make sure you are stirring the whole time to prevent the bottom from scorching.
- Add sugar and return to a rolling boil. Continue boiling for a minute, while stirring. Remove from heat.
- If you are not canning the jam, let cool for a few minutes before pouring into containers. Allow at least an hour in the refrigerator to solidify. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. It can also be frozen in freezer-safe containers.
- If you are canning the jam, ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving a 1/4" head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth dipped in vinegar. Top with lids and secure tightly with rings. Place jars into a boiling water bath and boil, fully submerged, for 10 minutes. Carefully remove jars and place on a dish towel to cool. You should hear 'pops' as the lids seal. Wait a few hours and check that the jars have sealed by pressing down on the center of the lids. If it 'clicks' or is able to be pushed down, it hasn't sealed properly. You can store these ones in the fridge or re-process them in the water bath. Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry until ready to use.
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