How to Make Healthy Homemade Jam: An Easy Step-By-Step Guide

Preparation Time: 45 minutes


For all jelly and jam lovers, one of the easiest and healthiest ways to provide a delicious fruit spread for yourself and your family is to make your own homemade jam. This way you control the ingredients and the calories that go into your jam.

There are several different ways of making jam and many different recipes. Which recipe you use to make your jam will depend on the eating style of your family.

The most popular jam recipes are:

  • Regular jam with sugar,
  • Jam sweetened with reduced sugar or an alternative sweetener, and
  • Refrigerator or freezer jam.

Regular Jam With Sugar

This recipe has been used and enjoyed by many people for many years and is very sweet and delicious.

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups Strawberries (washed, trimmed, whole or cut in half)
  • 7 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 package regular fruit pectin

Supplies:

  • Jars (4 pints or 8 8-ounce jelly jars) Jars can be new or recycled.
  • Rings A ring for each jar, and rings can be recycled also.
  • Lids A new lid for each jar, and unlike jars and rings, lids should not be recycled.

Equipment:

  • Dutch oven or other similar pot
  • Boiling water bath canner with rack
  • Pot or pan for sterilizing jars and lids
  • Bowl for washing and trimming fruit
  • Measuring cup (Use the same measuring cup for all ingredients.)
  • Large stainless steel or wooden spoon for stirring.
  • Ladle
  • Large mouth funnel
  • Lid lifter
  • Timer

Directions:

  1. Assemble all ingredients, supplies, and equipment needed.
  2. Wash peaches well, peel and remove the pits, and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Fill the boiling water bath canner half full of water and bring it to a full rolling boil over high heat. Then, reduce heat and leave the water simmering while making the jam.
  4. Wash jars in hot soapy water and check them carefully for cracks, chips, and nicks.
  5. Place jars in a pot or pan with at least an inch of water, bring to a full rolling boil and allow to boil while you are preparing the jam. Jars must boil for at least 10 minutes to sanitize.
  6. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add lids. Reduce the heat to simmer and allow the lids to sit in the hot water until needed. (New lids are supposed to seal without prior heating, but I’m not confident they will seal as well that way, so I always go ahead and pre-heat the lids.)
  7. Combine peaches and fruit pectin in a Dutch oven or other non-reactive pot and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  8. Add sugar and bring back to a full rolling boil.
  9. Boil for 1 minute.
  10. Remove from heat and skim off any foam using your stainless steel spoon.
  11. Ladle or pour into prepared jars, wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and add lids and rings.
  12. Place in a boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes.
  13. Remove from canner and place in a prepared area until completely cool.
  14. Store in a cool dry area for 1 to 2 years.
  15. Makes 8 cups.

Jam sweetened with an alternative sweetener

Because many people are now health conscious and are trying to steer clear of excessive amounts of sugar, this recipe is perfect for those who are either reducing their sugar intake or are using alternative sweeteners. This recipe can also be used by people with diabetes.

Sugar-Free Peach Jam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Peaches
  • 1 can (12 oz.) frozen White Grape Juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup Stevia Baking Blend
  • 1 package Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin for less or no sugar needed recipes

Supplies:

  • Jars (5 8-ounce jelly jars) Jars can be new or recycled.
  • Rings A ring for each jar, and rings can be recycled also.
  • Lids A new lid for each jar, and unlike jars and rings, lids should not be recycled.

Equipment:

  • Dutch oven or other similar pot
  • Boiling water bath canner with rack
  • Pot or pan for sterilizing jars and lids
  • Bowl for washing and trimming fruit
  • Measuring cup (Use the same measuring cup for all ingredients.)
  • Large stainless steel or wooden spoon for stirring.
  • Ladle
  • Largemouth funnel
  • Lid lifter
  • Timer

Directions:

  1. Assemble all ingredients, supplies, and equipment needed.
  2. Wash peaches well, peel and remove the pits, and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Fill the boiling water bath canner half full of water and bring it to a full rolling boil over high heat. Then, reduce heat and leave the water simmering while making the jam.
  4. Wash jars in hot soapy water and check them carefully for cracks and the rims for chips and nicks.
  5. Place jars in a pot or pan with at least an inch of water, bring to a full rolling boil and allow to boil while you are preparing the jam. Jars must boil for at least 10 minutes to sanitize.
  6. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add lids. Reduce the heat to simmer and allow the lids to sit in the hot water until needed. New lids are supposed to seal without prior heating, but I’m not confident they will seal as well that way, so I always go ahead and pre-heat the lids.
  7. Combine peaches and fruit pectin in a Dutch oven or other non-reactive pot and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  8. Add sugar and bring back to a full rolling boil.
  9. Boil for 1 minute.
  10. Remove from heat and skim off any foam using your stainless steel spoon.
  11. Ladle or pour into prepared jars, wipe jar rims with a clean damp cloth and add lids and rings.
  12. Place in a boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes.
  13. Remove from canner and place in a prepared area until completely cool.
  14. Store in a cool dry area for 1 to 2 years.
  15. Makes 5 cups.

Refrigerator or freezer jam

Quick Homemade Refrigerator Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups prepared Strawberries (washed, trimmed, and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 package Fruit Pectin or 2 tablespoons Chia Seeds or 2 tablespoons of Tapioca

Supplies:

  • Jars (1 pint or 2 8-ounce jelly jars) Jars can be new or recycled.
  • Rings A ring for each jar, and rings can be recycled also.
  • Lids A new lid for each jar, and unlike jars and rings, lids should not be recycled.

Equipment:

  • Dutch oven or other similar pot
  • Pot or pan for sterilizing jars and lids
  • Bowl for washing and trimming fruit
  • Measuring cup (Use the same measuring cup for all ingredients.)
  • Large stainless steel or wooden spoon for stirring.
  • Ladle
  • Largemouth funnel
  • Lid lifter
  • Timer

Directions:

  1. Assemble all ingredients, supplies, and equipment needed.
  2. Wash strawberries well, remove the caps, and either leave whole or cut in half. Gently swishing berries in a bowl of cool water and draining through a colander is the best way to clean them without mashing very ripe fruit. Repeat this process until there is no sand left in the bowl after pouring berries into the colander.
  3. Wash jars in hot soapy water and check them carefully for cracks and the rims for chips and nicks.
  4. Place jars in a pot or pan with at least an inch of water, bring to a full rolling boil and allow to boil while you are preparing the jam. Jars must boil for at least 10 minutes to sanitize.
  5. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add lids. Reduce heat to simmer and allow the lids to sit in the hot water until needed. New lids are supposed to seal without prior heating, but I’m not confident they will seal as well that way, so I always go ahead and pre-heat the lids.
  6. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and thickening agent (fruit pectin, Chia Seeds, or Tapioca) in a Dutch oven or other non-reactive pot and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  7. Add honey and return to a boil, boiling for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Skim any foam from the jam.
  9. Ladle or pour into prepared jars, wipe jar rims with a clean wet cloth and add lids and rings.
  10. Once the jam has cooled completely, place in the refrigerator, ready to use.
  11. Makes 2 cups.

Once the jam is made, it will keep for at least 6 months in the refrigerator or for a year in the freezer. Any alternative sweetener can be substituted for the honey, and the amount of sweetener can be adjusted to taste. Chia seeds or tapioca can be substituted for the fruit pectin to thicken the jam, or this recipe can be made without a thickener by cooking it an additional 10 minutes.

This jam can be made in less than one hour, from start to finish, and is a good project to make with your family.  They can help prepare the fruit and will love doing a taste test to get the sweetener just right.

Final Thoughts

There are many variations of homemade jam recipes, but the three in this article will provide a lot of options to get you started making your own homemade jams. Just remember, in order to make a product that can be stored without refrigeration for an extended period of time, it must be made by using a well-tested recipe and approved canning principles like the first recipe listed above.

Related Questions

Is either recipe appropriate for the Paleo Diet? Yes. The recipe for homemade refrigerator jam would work for the Paleo Diet because preserves, jams, and jellies are only considered Paleo if they are made with a natural sweetener such as honey or agave nectar. Even the thickening agent is Paleo approved since most fruit products are thickened with fruit pectin, which is a natural product usually made from citrus fruits, or Chia Seeds, which is an all natural “superfood.”

Is either recipe appropriate for the Vegan Diet? Jam, jelly, and preserves are vegan when all ingredients are plant-based. The refrigerator or freezer jam recipe is appropriate for the Vegan Diet if you use the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups prepared Strawberries (washed, trimmed, and chopped)
  • 1/3 cup White Grape Juice (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup Agave Nectar
  • 2 tablespoons Chia Seeds

Which Sweeteners Can Be Used By Persons With Diabetes? The American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, have determined that certain zero-calorie sweeteners including Splenda and Stevia can now safely be used by persons with diabetes, and the U. S. Food and Drug Association have approved these sweeteners for use as they do not affect blood sugar levels. Being able to use these sweeteners allows persons with diabetes more food choices and safely aids in weight management. The sugar-free peach jam made with Stevia would be perfect for persons with diabetes.

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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