Low sugar / no sugar added jam

Heather says:

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for the feedback they gave regarding the recent post on strawberry jam. I’ve had several requests for lower sugar, sugar substitute, and diabetic recipes. Pickyourown.org has some fantastic tips for reducing the amount of sugar involved in the canning process.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • No sugar added jam is darker, blander, and runnier than conventional.
  • You must use the no sugar pectin, if you are substituting Splenda
  • Some suggest adding lemon zest or juice to compensate for the blander taste
  • When using Splenda, substitute half the sugar for best results

It is important to make sure the recipe you choose has been vetted by the FDA. Too many tweaks to the recipe can change the acidity or the thickness of the jam. The processing time is dependent on both.

I am only a nutrition nerd, not a nutritionist. There’s my disclaimer. If a person does not have a medical condition such as diabetes I cannot understand the desire to replace conventional sugar with products such as Splenda or other substitutes. Moderation and attention to labels will go a long way to avoiding excessive sugar intake. Pay particular attention to jarred and canned sauces, they are often loaded with unnecessary sugar.

I avoid high fructose corn syrup whenever possible, but I do not abstain from a couple teaspoons of homemade jam on my whole grain morning toast. I know exactly what went into the jar and that it did not include dyes or preservatives. While I occasionally don a tinfoil hat, artificial sweetners cause me to pull it down over my ears. I am sensitive to aspartame and will cuss to beat the devil if I accidentally buy sugar free yogurt. (One of my next projects is homemade yogurt, look for it!) For those who are diabetic and must take particular care to avoid sugar I think artificial sweetners are invaluable, but one must be careful not to rely too heavily on these products and should examine the amount of consumption in regard to their overall diet.  Here are two other alternatives to sugar stevia and agave syrup.  Neither one exactly replicates the taste and baking properties of sugar, but they may be useful in an attempt to reduce the your families overall consumption of refined sugar.

/rant off


  1. Patia on April 27, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    I have a related question, if anyone feels like responding: How long can an open jar of jam or jelly be kept in the fridge before it spoils? (And how do you know when it spoils?)

    I’m not a big jam eater, but enjoy it once in a while. However, I end up throwing out a lot of jam because I don’t know whether it’s still good after it’s been in the fridge for months.

  2. Heather on April 27, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Geneva, I’d definitely say that bariatric surgery qualifies as a medical condition. I was referring to those who assume that sugar substitutes are healthier, rather than analyzing their diets as a whole.

  3. Geneva on April 27, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks for this, I appreciate it.

    People like myself who have had bariatric or stomach surgery have a medical need for not having sugar – I physically cant digest it and it causes a severe reaction – and having great people like you on side to help us out makes a great difference.

    Keep up the great work!

    In the great words of Homer (simpson that is) “mmmm Jam…”

  4. Jerry Patterson on April 27, 2007 at 1:34 am

    Well I’ll be damned!!!
    I never would have, in a million years, believed you would be a website admin!
    Then again, in a trillion years, you never would have believed I would be the IT Manager for a fortune 500 company, would U? So much for the redneck who laughed at the houses in Va you wanted.
    How are you these days? get back to me at it@dshms.com (heather).

  5. Liz on April 26, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I agree that no one should rely too heavily on sweeteners, but I think the same can be said for normal sugar as well. Trying to have sugars (or sweeteners) in moderation I think is the key. I love soda, and I don’t think a little HFCS will hurt me every once in a while as long as I maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle otherwise…

  6. Rona on April 26, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you so much for the link and information. I see we’re not the only one’s with a no sugar concern. It’s great to know that there are alternatives for Diabetics.

  7. Nashville is Talking » I Know You Are, but What Am I? on April 26, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    […] Can your own low-sugar/no-sugar jam […]