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Low sugar alternatives for jams and jellies

You can make tasty and healthy jams and jellies with little or no sugar. However, unless you use special recipes and gelling agents, they may fail.

Making strawberry jam.

For best results, use one of the following methods:

  • Special modified pectins: Look for packages of pectin that say "light," "less sugar" or "no sugar added" on the label. Follow the directions on the package insert carefully for the brand of pectin you are using.
  • Regular pectin with special recipes: These special recipes have been tested and formulated so no added sugar is needed. Remember, regular pectin does contain some sugar. Artificial sweetener is often added.
  • Recipes using gelatin: Some recipes use unflavored gelatin as the thickener for the jelly or jam. Artificial sweetener is often added. Do not process in a boiling water bath or freeze. Store in the refrigerator and use within 4 weeks.
  • Long-boil methods: Boiling fruit pulp for long periods of time will make a product thicken like a jam, preserve or fruit butter.

Key points to remember when making low and no-sugar jams and jellies:

  • Follow the directions on the package or in a no-sugar recipe exactly.
  • Because these products do not have sugar as their preservative, be sure to process or store them as directed in the recipe. Some require no processing, longer processing or refrigeration.

Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

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