Capture the goodness of your garden or local farmers market with a homemade jam that brings to mind the joys of summer and fall. While delicious, traditional jams and jellies present diabetics and the health-conscious with a challenge: creating a reduced-sugar jam that still maintains the consistency of a normal spread without spoiling. Several options provide an antidote for watery results, but each recipe includes extra or modified ingredients to prevent spoiling. Sugarless jams made with gelatin or pectin must be refrigerated and used within four weeks. Adding fruit pulp and eliminating the pectin allows for the traditional canning method and room temperature storage.
Things You'll Need
Clean a quart of soft fruit and peel if necessary. Crush the fruit in a saucepan using a fork or masher.
Add 3 to 4 tbsp. of liquid artificial sweetener and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice along with one package of modified pectin marked “light” or “no sugar needed.” Insert a few drops of food coloring if desired.
Bring the fruit mixture to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil for 1 minute while stirring constantly. Move the pan from the direct heat and keep stirring for 2 more minutes. Ladle the jam into freezer containers and freeze. After thawing, refrigerate the jam and use within one month.
Scrub 4 to 6 pounds of soft fruit such as plums, peaches, apricots or nectarines. Dry the fruit and remove the skin and seeds or pits. Crush the flesh of the fruit into a coarse mixture using a fork or masher. Do not use a blender or food processor, which causes the fruit to be pureed rather than crushed.
Heat the fruit pulp slowly over the stovetop, stirring constantly. Spoon the mixture into a jelly bag and let it drain for 15 minutes. Set aside the juice for another recipe, and put 4 cups of the drained pulp back into a clean saucepan. Add 2 cups of another drained crushed soft fruit and ¼ cup of a liquid. Add artificial sugar to taste.
Heat the mixture over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle the jam through a funnel into your sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch of space at the top. Attach the lids securely and boil half-pints for 15 minutes and pints for 20 minutes.
Carefully sterilize jars before use to avoid mold growth.
References and ResourcesNational Center for Home Food Preservation
Reduced Sugar Spreads
Let's Preserve: Reduced Sugar Jellies, Jams and Preserves
ResourcesProcessing Jams and Jellies
"Easy Diabetic Condiments, Dressings, Jams & More"; J. Moses; 2011