Low Sugar Natural Pectin Jam

"I got the original idea for this recipe from Ina Garten of the Food Network; she made a similar jam using apples for pectin, but with much more sugar. I incorporated some low-sugar jam recipes to come up with this one. It's really more of a "fruit butter" because it lacks the clear jelly-like appearance of jam -- it's more thick & opaque, but I use it as a jam. Delicious and healthy! [Edit: recently made this with thinly sliced oranges & their grated zest for marmalade - worked well!]"
photo by a food.com user photo by a food.com user
Ready In:
4 cups


  • 8 8 cups plums (could experiment with other fruits) or 8 cups nectarines (could experiment with other fruits)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided (you might even be able to use less, but try it this way the first time)
  • 2 medium granny smith apples (use only Granny Smith type for maximum pectin content)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled


  • Place a small saucer in the freezer to chill for later testing of jam thickness. In large deep heavy skillet (preferably NOT non-stick), or your widest heavy-bottom sauce pan, sprinkle cleaned berries or other sliced fruit with 3/4 cup of the sugar. Mash coarsely and let sit 15 minutes to "juice".
  • Bring fruit mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Boil 15 minutes - hard enough to bubble but not splatter, stirring occasionally & skimming any foam off.
  • Meanwhile, peel, core & grate apples.
  • Stir in apples, lemon juice & remaining 1/4 cup sugar & keep boiling, stirring more often now & scraping bottom of pan to prevent sticking.
  • Cook this way until thickened, about 20-45 more minutes (depends on ripeness of fruit, altitude, etc).
  • Test by placing a small drop of jam on the chilled plate from the freezer and let it sit a minute; when properly thickened, the jam should not run at all when plate is tilted at a steep angle.
  • If not thick enough, let it cook longer -- it will get there eventually!
  • Ladle hot jam into half-pint canning jars (they're heat-proof) and put the lids on hand-tight. Because this jam has less sugar, it's best to use half-pint (1 cup) or smaller jars, because it may spoil quicker once opened. You can either store the jars as-is in the freezer once cooled, or you may can them by submerging hot jars immediately in boiling water for 10 minutes.
  • If you don't have canning jars, let jam cool in the covered pan until room temperature. Ladle into plastic or other containers (1 cup volume each or smaller), and store in freezer.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I used strawberries that we had frozen with only the 3/4 sugar in them, it turned out perfect I would do this again. I got 3 pints out of this recipe. Love that is is just fruit and not so much sugar. Y
  2. I'm at high altitude, and this took over an hour in the 20-45 minute part, and still wasn't really a jam consistency really, yet a good, spreadable consistency.<br/><br/>I would make it again because it uses so much less sugar than other jam recipes... for me it's like simply fruit with a little less jam consistency. Thanks so much for the recipe.
  3. great recipe and easy to follow instructions. i made it with ripe nectarines and a whole cup of sugar. i used a 12 inch saute pan and cooked it for about 30 minutes and came out great. next time i will use even less sugar.<br/><br/>the recipe mentioned that it was more like a fruit butter. not mine, i ended up with great color and great jam consistency.<br/><br/>i am not going back to other cooked jam recipes. this is awesome.
  4. The only jam recipe on the internet that makes sense.



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