Farmers Market photo-22

Published on July 26th, 2009 | by Jamie Ervin

5

Summer Jam’n: Low Sugar/No Sugar Organic Jam Making

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It’s 85 degrees in my house (because we do without A/C, but that’s another story!).  Despite the heat I’m still in the kitchen because there’s nothing like a slice of fresh, whole wheat bread topped with nut butter and homemade jam.  Yum-o!  Today I made a double batch of organic raspberry and a single batch of organic marionberry.

Normally, we make a low sugar jam recipe, but that still takes about 4 cups of sugar!  This year, I opted to make a no sugar variety and a lower sugar variety.  Our resulting jams are tart, tangy and fabulous (not to mention better for your health!).  Here’s how to make jam without a canner, because it’s not so cost effective if you have to buy expensive tools!

To prepare jars-

Wash and dry jars.

Place 3-4 pint size jars and lids in a large bowl (leave rings out).  Pour boiling water over and in the jars.  Let sit while preparing jam.

For each batch (approx 3 pint size jars)-

  • 1 box Ball Natural Gel No Sugar Needed Pectin
  • 4 cups crushed organic berries (this took about 2 1/2 containers, I get them by the flat which will make 4-5 batches).  You can get all crazy and mix berries as well for a whole new taste sensation!
  • 1 cup local honey (we buy ours at the Farmers Market and it’s a Wild Berry flavor) or 2 cups Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar
  • 1 cup organic non filtered non sweetened apple juice (we used Natural Directions)

Place berries and apple juice in a large pan on high heat, slowly add pectin.  Stir constantly.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Add honey or sugar.  Stir constantly and return to a full boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat.  I use a measuring cup to fill the prepared jars, but a ladle will work as well.

As each jar is filled, immediately wipe any jam from the top and sides, place a warmed lid on top, finish with a screw on ring.  Place the jar upside down on the counter for one hour, then flip upright.  Within a couple hours the top should go down (won’t pop back out if you push on center of the lid) which indicates the jam is sealed.  Allow to cool fully (usually overnight), then store in your pantry.

Eat Well. Be Well.

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About the Author

Being green comes naturally for Jamie, a Native Oregonian. Educated at Oregon State University she is now a UofO Ducks fan, but remains true to her Alma Mater, the Beavers. Jamie lives vicariously through her husband, a developer of shoes for little feet, who travels the world over and prays she doesn't blog about him. She is the mother to five children, aged 4-16 and a Registered Daycare Provider. Her long term goals include traveling Asia, completing her first novel, obtaining her Master's Degree in English Lit and Education, in addition, Jamie would love to start a natural household and body product line, or maybe just pour some (organic soy) candles. Visit Jamie's personal blog, Looks Good In Polka Dots where it's not just about mothering, gluten free cooking and socially conscious living.



  • Abbie

    LOL. It’s 85 degrees in my house too, AND we have the air on. It’s Phoenix.

  • http://www.alittlebitofgreen.com Rose

    The jam sounds great. However I wanted to add a word of caution. I’ve read that you should never can using the method of just flipping the jars over on the counter. You have a much greater chance of getting bacterial contamination. First the processing in the hot water bath kills anything that got in the jar while you were handling ingredients. Second while upsidedown the liquid can seep under the lid and cause a poor seal allowing it to go bad later.

    For my “cheap” method I’ve processed jam in a hot water bath in a regular large stock pot. I tried a folded dish towel underneath to buffer from the bottom of the pan but it always caught air bubbles. If I hadn’t decided to buy a real canner this year I would have spend the ~ $10 for a canning rack insert.

    • http://Web Melissa

      I have used the flip jar method every time b/c a friend of mine told me about it. I have had every jar seal and do just fine. I do boil my jars for about 10 minutes before I put anything in them and keep everything very clean while working. I don’t leave them upside down for 1 hour but instead for about 10 minutes. Good luck to everyone. Nothing beats homemade jams from fruit you pick yourself!!

  • Renette

    I will definetly try this recipe!!
    I also would be afraid to flip the jar vs, waterbath. I have several canners but if I have just a very small batch (using 4 oz or 8 oz jars), I have taken a deep saucepan, placed a round cake rack in the bottom to get the jars off the bottom. Of course you will need to put a lid on the pan while you waterbath. You could even use several jar rings in the bottom of the pan to get the jars off the bottom but would have to be careful they would not move.
    I am always looking at garage sales or thrift stores for canning supplies, including canners! One thing I would recommend to anyone starting to can is to buy a jar lifter (worth 10 times the mioney).

  • http://Web janice shotkin

    Using apple juice and honey is chemically no different in the body than using table sugar and consequently no healthier. There must be a sugar free way to make homemade jams?

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