Jennie’s Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry Jam

PinExt Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry Jam

photo 225x300 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry JamI am taking a quick break from Road Warriors, which will return to it’s regularly scheduled time in a few days in order to take care of some much needed business. Raspberry jam. If there is anyone out there with raspberry bushes like mine, they will know what I am talking about when I say I’ve got raspberries coming out my eyeballs.

This is a no pectin recipe that I also categorize as low sugar, but that needs to be clarified: low sugar is a relative term when it comes to jam. This recipe is low sugar when compared to other jam recipes, namely, any that use pectin. (One sentence in and I’m already making excuses for myself.)

I’ve been making this jam for years and I continue to tweak it. I’m sorry I can’t give absolutes, but the amount of time needed to cook the berries changes even as the weeks progress. I should do a video to show you the sound it makes when I consider it “done.” But maybe I can try describing it for now. Next time I’ll video it.

Here goes:

Use 8 cups berries to 4 cups sugar for a 4 1/2 – 5 quart heavy pan. A Le Creuset 24 is a perfect fit if you have it. I have a really big one (7.25 qt Le Creuset 28) and can fit 16 cups of berries in at a time, which I do quite often. There is a trade off for doing a big batch at once though, and that is that you end up having to cook it a bit longer than with a smaller batch. Some would argue that the longer the berries cook the less “fresh berry taste” you will have. I disagree. I even made a pectin batch to see if it had a brighter flavor, since you only have to boil jam made with pectin for a minute or two. It really didn’t taste any “fresher.” It was sweeter though. But that makes sense since you use only 4 cups of berries to 6 cups of sugar plus a packet of pectin. YOWZA!

IMG 5680 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry Jam

I have also been experimenting with using less and less sugar. So far, so good. I’m down to 16 cups berries to 6 1/2 cups of sugar. We’ll see how that keeps on the shelf. But to be safe, stick with the 2:1 ratio.

I pour the berries into a bowl, or into the pot they will cook in, if that pot is available for most of the day. I put it in a sunny spot if it happens to be sunny out and stir it up every time I pass by. For whatever reason, I seem to always can jam at night, so the berries sit most of the day. This allows the sugar to dissolve and the berries to break up without cooking, which I think helps the flavor in the end.

IMG 5669 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry JamIMG 5681 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry JamIMG 5672 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry JamIMG 5695 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry Jam

When it’s time to cook it, I make sure I have clean and sterilized jars ready. I used to be gonzo mental about this. Now I just run them through the dishwasher and call it a day. I put the berries in a pot on a low to medium low heat. You can go ahead and put it on high, but don’t come crying to me when –within a matter of seconds — the liquid foams up and boils all over you stove and into your burners. Have fun with that one. It’s medium low for me. And I don’t leave the kitchen until it has been gently boiling for a few minutes.

Skim as much of the foam off as you can. Don’t be mental about it, it’s not that big of deal. More an aesthetic thing.

IMG 5712 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry Jam

It will boil merrily along for a while and you can get some other stuff done. Just be sure to stir with a rubber spatula every few minutes. My latest recipes were this: After reaching a gentle boil, an 8 cup batch took 12 minutes to be done and a 16 c batch took 20 minutes.

You are looking for a change in consistency from a watery boil to a thick boil. Not a spluttering boil, where globs pop up at you when you stir, just a change in the sound and a visible consistency shift to thicker. If, however you go too long, it isn’t a disaster, it will just be thicker and darker and you won’t get as many jars out of the batch.

Then, while the jam is still hot and simmering, fill the jars to 1/4″ from the top, put the lids and bands on and screw tight. USDA will tell you that you need to process these in a water bath for 10 minutes. I used to do just that. Now I don’t. The jars are warm, the jam is boiling and I still get a nice, tight seal. I can vouch for the fact that my jam, when processed this way, is good for 2 years, as long as the seal is intact when opened. Obviously, store it in the the fridge once it’s been opened.

IMG 5716 Jennies Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry JamSo far no one has died. And the jam looks and tastes so much better.

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14 comments to Jennie’s Low Sugar, No Pectin, Raspberry Jam

  • Thanks I will be making this soon! Sadly they are all purchased raspberries from the lady down the road. I aspire to grow my own. Have even gone so far as to 1/2 clear a “once was a garden” patch in my yard. If you are willing and have the time…. I would love to read your planting and growing raspberries post. How do you like that. Now its order your blog post….ding ding!!

  • Michelle

    Your jam is just sugar, raspberries, and TLC? Who would have thunk?

  • Sure. If TLC means that I’m swearing and thinking evil thoughts about all the raspberries and people who don’t return jars and how damn HOT IT IS all the while I’m doing it. Sure. Plenty of that TLC.

  • You know, if I weren’t such a MARTYR, as my family likes to remind me I am, I’d HAPPILY buy raspberries from the neighbor. I’d also stop struggling to keep chickens alive and stop pickling beans that no one eats. Don’t beat yourself up!! Let me know how it turns out. And as for the growing raspberries: here’s my advice. dig a hole and plant it. Water it. Then spend the next 10 years trying to keep the raspberries from growing everywhere else but in the hole you planted!


    Read comment above on no pics from hot springs. Were your kids shell shocked? I’m still laughing about that. You’d think with the naked family there would be no qualms at all, but I guess not…

  • Samantha

    This recipe tastes amazing but it did not set up firmly. I don’t actually mind but I would have like a little firmer consistency. Any ideas about what to do next time?

  • Hi Samantha,

    I like a less firm jelly, so that is how I make it. To make it more firm, simply boil it longer. As I describe above, if you cook it until it sort of “snaps and sputters and pops” — or “snap! crackle! pop!” as you stir it, it will set up quite firm.

    To give you an idea, if you tip my jar to the side, the jam will very slowly follow the direction of the tip. If you cook it to the Snap! Crackle! Pop! stage, it will not jiggle around in the jar at all. You do tend to get 1-2 less jars out of a batch, as you are simply cooking more water out of the pan.

    Hope that helps,

  • Jennifer

    This is awesome, thank you SO much, all the low sugar recipes that I was finding all required adding pectin, this is great thank you so much!!

  • Glad you to have you here! Let me know how it goes for you.

  • Lance

    Thanks for the great recipe.
    I made it and the jam turned out great.
    My daughter has diabetes so I’m always looking for lower-sugar ideas.
    Going to experiment with lower amounts of sugar too.

    Cheers from Canada!

  • Hi Lance!
    I’m pretty sure you can take the sugar down quite a bit more. You might have to cook it longer. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

  • Jo

    Hi Jennie,
    Made your Raspberry Jam recipe yesterday, because I didn’t have a lot ob berries I scaled it back using the same proportions. It turned out fantastic. My hubby who is anti-sugar gave it the tick of approval.
    Thanks Jo

  • Lee

    Hi Jennie,
    It’s my first time making jam and it was a huge success. I can’t believe how delicious it was. I was happy all night and send pictures to my sisters to tell them about it. Now I am hooked and look forward to having more homemade jam. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • Uncle LEE!!

    That is so COOL! I’m so happy you tried it. NOW YOU KNOW HOW EASY IT IS! I’ll forward all requests for raspberry jam to you. Please be to my house in late September every day to pick the blasted things…

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