Most jams are made with pectin, a natural plant fiber that helps fruits thicken into a jammy consistency. Pectin needs to be in the company of plenty of sugar in order to work well. A product called low-methoxyl pectin, or LMP, can get the same job done with much less sugar if it’s combined with a calcium solution. LMP is available at most health-food stores and online. We like the brand Pomona’s, which comes complete with the powder to make the calcium solution.
It’s possible to make no-sugar-added jam if your fruit is perfectly sweet and ripe on its own. Follow the instructions in the recipe below, but replace the honey or sugar with 3⁄4 cup boiling water or fruit juice.
Universal Low-Sugar Jam Recipe
• 1⁄8 to 1⁄3 cup honey, or 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
• 1⁄2 teaspoon low-methoxyl pectin, such as Pomona’s
• 1⁄4 teaspoon dicalcium phosphate (comes with each package of Pomona’s)
• 1⁄4 cup water
• 1 cup mashed fruit and juice, seeds strained
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Stir honey into pectin until no lumps remain. Set aside.
2. Make calcium solution by dissolving dicalcium phosphate into water. Set aside.
3. In a saucepan, bring fruit to a boil. Whisk in honey mixture. Boil for 1 minute or until mixture is dissolved.
4. Add 1 teaspoon prepared calcium solution and lemon juice; stir well and remove from heat. Cover and allow jam to cool and set up over several hours, then refrigerate or freeze. Alternatively, you may can this jam by processing the jars of hot jam for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Be sure to follow all safe canning procedures.
Find more great ways to savor your fall harvest in our Guide to Fall Food Preservation.
Recipe adapted from Oregon State University Extension Service.