June 18, 2018

The Best Homemade Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

Sweet, homemade low-sugar strawberry jam. A must for late Spring and early Summer.
Makes 8, 1/2 pint jars

This strawberry jam is the best! Sweet and smooth, this homemade jam is made with whole strawberries, lemon juice, and pectin for a yummy low sugar jam you can add to toast, biscuits, cookies, cake, and much more. 

It’s not summer until we’ve been strawberry picking.

Growing up, we went strawberry picking every Mother’s Day. The official start of summer in my mind; ditching the cooler days of Spring for shorts, sun, and all-you-can-eat strawberry fields. For my first Mother’s Day this year, all I wanted to do was go strawberry with Van. Sadly, because of this crazy weather, the berries weren’t quite ready yet. So we took a rain check a few weeks later.

The idea was much better in my mind. Van lasted all of ten minutes until my mom had to take him back to the farm store while I finished collecting all the berries I could. It’s alright babe, we’ll try again next year.

What to do with all of these berries? The possibilities are endless. I think I ate 5 cups of fresh sliced strawberries the moment we got home. Still warm from the sun, these are the berries I wait all year for.

strawberries

Strawberry jam feels like the gift that keeps on giving. We made two batches of this recipe, allowing me to stockpile jars of homemade jam for effortless gift-giving and thank you’s. Neighbors who took our trashcans in while we were gone? A jar of jam for you. A friend who picked up Van while I was running late from a meeting? Two jars of jam! Strawberry jam is really good currency.

Since having kids, I’ve become more conscious on how much sugar and salt we’re consuming. Therefore, it was a no-brainer that this jam would be lower in sugar than traditional recipes.

Spoiler alert- you can’t tell. It’s not as cloyingly sweet as some jams can be, but who wants that anyway? This jam tastes like summer! I swear I can still taste the sun-kissed strawberries straight from the garden in every bite.

homemade strawberry jam in jar with knife

Should I use pectin in my strawberry jam?

If you want your homemade jam to be thick, then you will want to use pectin! Without pectin, your strawberry jam will be cooking for a very long time until it sets. 

Ingredients for homemade strawberry jam

Strawberries: I crushed up whole strawberries for this jam so it would be smooth and easily spreadable. You can use either fresh or frozen strawberries that have been thawed.
Pectin: To keep this recipe low in sugar, be sure use to find pectin specifically for low-sugar canning. It can be harder to find at some grocery stores, but you can purchase online.  
Sugar: White granulated sugar is needed for this recipe for best success. If you use alternative sweeteners, the final jam may not thicken the same. 

strawberry jam on toast on platestrawberries

Have you canned before? Years ago when we lived in our first apartment in Sacramento, I thought I was going to be one of those people who canned everything. We were living in the middle of salad bowl, with fresh grown produce of every variety on literally every corner. Why not learn to can?

That lasted all of two months, but long enough for me to buy a few tools. A giant stock pan for holding a dozen mason jars, a funnel for easy filling and a magnet for placing the lid on top. Though, you really don’t need any of this. A funnel will make things easier, but you can do without. You will need a large enough pan to place the jars in, mason jars and that’s it!

You can find low-sugar pectin in most grocery stores, or online. The regular pectin won’t work, so make sure you find the low-sugar one.

FAQs

Why do you put lemon juice in strawberry jam?

The lemon juice allows the pectin to set quicker and also neutralizes the flavor of the jam. 

What happens if you cook jam too long? 

If you cook the jam too long, then it will form into a solid rather than soft jam. 

How long does homemade strawberry jam last? 

If you are not immediately opening the jars, then the jam will last in a cool dry place for up to a year or two. If not canning, you can store homemade strawberry jam for a year in the freezer in an airtight container! 

Will my jam thicken as it cools?

Yes, the jam will thicken as it cools. Be patient! 

homemade strawberry jam in jar

If You Like This Strawberry Jam, Then You Will Love These Strawberry Recipes: 

sourdough toast with strawberry jam on plate

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

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sourdough toast with strawberry jam on plate

Homemade Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: ~8 half-pint jars
  • Category: breakfast, jam, sauce
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This healthy strawberry jam is the best! Perfect and subtly sweet, this freezer-friendly recipe is so easy to make and tastes delicious with almost anything! You will love this strawberry jam made with lemon juice, pectin, and just a little bit of sugar!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: ~8 half-pint jars
  • Category: breakfast, jam, sauce
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: ~8 half-pint jars
  • Category: breakfast, jam, sauce
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. If you are canning your jam, then I sanitize and prepare the jars. Boil them in a water bath for ten minutes, then remove. Not only does this help sanitize the jars, it also warms the jars before you put the hot jam in.
  2. Wash strawberries and remove the stems and hulls. Crush the strawberries either by using a food mill or hand potato-masher. If you want jelly, then blend the strawberries in a blender and strain the juice, discarding any seeds and pulp.
  3. 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. Keep stirring the mixture to prevent the bottom from burning.
  4. Add in the sugar and return to a rolling boil. Continue boiling for a minute, while stirring then remove from heat.
  5. If you don’t plan on canning the jam then let cool for a few minutes before pouring into containers. Cool completely, then place in the fridge to harden. You can store jam that hasn’t been canned for ~5-6 days.
  6. If you are canning the jam, place a funnel in jar, then ladle the hot jam into the warm jars, leaving a 1/4″ head space. If any jam got onto the lid space, clean off then top with lids and rings.
  7. Place sealed jars into a boiling water bath and boil, fully submerged, for 10 minutes. Carefully remove jars (I use tongs or my special canning tongs) and place on a cooling rack to cool. Once cooled, the lids should seal. You can check this by pressing down on the center of the lid- if it is able to be pushed down, then it hasn’t sealed correctly. The one’s that haven’t sealed (if you have any) can either be reprocessed in a water bath or just placed in the fridge to eat immediately.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 18
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.5 g

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Homemade Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

32 comments
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    1. Carolann Guilford
      August 1, 2021 AT 10:13 pm

      What is your thought about using older frozen fruit in low suga.

      Would using more sugar/pectin make it possible?
      Or should I just throw out the fruit?

      Thank you
      CG

      1. Alex
        August 2, 2021 AT 3:55 am

        Hi Carolann– I haven’t made this jam with frozen fruit so not the exact ratios to increase as freezing fruit may reduce the jelling effect of the natural pectin. You may need to increase the amount of pectin added to this jam to make sure it sets properly. If you are going to throw out the fruit anyways– I’d make it and see, but make sure to thaw all the way first and save any juices that thaw with the berries. If it doesn’t gel enough, you can always reboil and add more.

    2. Carolann Guilford
      August 1, 2021 AT 10:11 pm

      What is your thought about using older frozen fruit in low sugar/pectin recipes?

      Trying to salvage some Oder berries.

      Would using more sugar/pectin make it possible?
      Or should I just throw out the fruit?

      Thank you
      CG

    3. Lorelei
      July 23, 2021 AT 5:51 am

      Can you use honey or agave instead of sugar??

      1. Alex
        July 27, 2021 AT 9:46 am

        Hi Lorelei, few thoughts about substituting honey. Honey is a sweetener then sugar, so you’ll need less. I usually recommend ~3/4 cup honey to 1 cup sugar. However, honey changes the gelling nature of the jam and since this is a lower-sugar recipe I haven’t tested it with this particular type of pectin. It SHOULD work as it’s still a commercial pectin, but can’t verify that as I haven’t tried it. If you do, can you come back and let us know if it worked?

    4. Judy
      June 29, 2021 AT 12:52 pm

      Have you ever tried to freeze the jam? I really like the Sure Jell low sugar recipe, but love the fact that you use less sugar.

      1. Alex
        July 27, 2021 AT 9:47 am

        Hi Judy, It should work to freeze! It’s my understanding that any jam can be converted to a freezer jam, and is easier than canning. You’ll just cool the jam completely in the jars before placing in the freezer.

    5. Gisele
      June 7, 2021 AT 4:34 pm

      Hi I just made a low sugar strawberry jam recipes a few months ago and threw them all in the garbage recently because they all turned brown. Why does this happen? How long can you keep the recipe above in mason jars? I want to try your recipe so bad. Waiting on your reply.

      1. Alex
        July 27, 2021 AT 9:52 am

        Hi Gisele– browning, or oxidation of the jam, happens because there is too much oxygen in the jar. It doesn’t affect the taste, but obviously not very pretty. You can read more from the National Center for Home Preservation Safety on ways to prevent, but it’s likely because of too much headspace or bubbles left in the jam before processing or not enough processing time. Using some citric acid will prevents browning. https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/general/cannedfoodproblems.html

    6. Silvia Andrito
      February 28, 2021 AT 3:10 pm

      Very easy to follow and the jam came out perfect. Thanks!

    7. Tammy Verge
      February 23, 2021 AT 4:09 am

      Could you use frozen strawberries? Perhaps just cooking them longer?

      1. Alex
        February 28, 2021 AT 4:19 pm

        Hi Tammy, I haven’t tried it with frozen strawberries.

    8. Debbie Pope
      July 11, 2020 AT 9:28 pm

      Hi! About how many lbs of strawberries per cup smashed? Also, can I do this recipe and half it all to do 4 jars? Thanks.

    9. Pat
      June 26, 2020 AT 9:46 am

      Hi Alex, These past 2 days I have made 3 batches of this strawberry jam! My husband and I love the flavor, and the fact there is minimal sugar. I’m wondering if this same recipe will work for peach jam … I have been all over trying to find a similar recipe, but there are none that I can find.

    10. Tori Proudley
      June 20, 2020 AT 9:27 am

      HI I noticed on this recipe it has the option to double or triple the batch. Many other recipes i found won’t allow you to do that (you have to cook them batch after batch), can you confirm that tripling will be okay?

      1. Alex
        June 25, 2020 AT 8:20 pm

        Hi Tori– that feature is automatic in the recipe card that I use; I don’t recommend doubling or tripling this recipe as I don’t know if it will set correctly.