Low-Sugar Mango Jam Recipe


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Traditional jams contain heavy amounts of sugar, but this low-sugar mango jam is a healthier alternative that tastes just like a tropical vacation! #mangojamrecipe #lowsugarmangojam #mangolimejam #lowsugarjamrecipesEvery year around this time, I start craving all things tropical: Tropical fruits, piña coladas, Hawaiian-style barbecues, reggae music, an all-inclusive beach vacation in an exotic locale…

By late February/early March, I’ve pretty much had enough of winter and the thought of enjoying a tropical fruit platter and a cold adult beverage on a sunny beach in *insert tropical vacation destination here* seems to be just about all I can think of.

Since jetting off to Mexico isn’t usually in our budget, I have to find other more affordable ways to satisfy my desire to escape late winter and “trick” myself into thinking I’m laying poolside somewhere warm and sunny.

 

Bottling the flavours of a tropical vacation

Luckily, this is the time of year when many tropical fruits are in season in their respective locales, and that means that they’re generally much cheaper to buy from the grocery store.

Mangoes are one such tropical fruit that are in season this time of year, and while I love, love, LOVE fresh mangoes, this year I thought I would take advantage of the low prices and stock up on enough mangoes to preserve and enjoy all year long!

I ended up purchasing two flats of mangoes containing about 9 mangoes each for about $10 a flat (so $20 all in). We ate a few of them fresh, and I was left with 14 to preserve.

At first I considered slicing them up and preserving them in liquid, much the same way as I preserve peach slices in liquid. But unfortunately I got busy with life and let them sit for a wee bit too long and many of them started to go a bit soft.

So instead I decided to turn them into mango jam!

 

Related: How to Can Pineapple At Home

 

Mango Jam | Mango Lime Jam | Low-Sugar Mango Jam Recipe

 

The problem with traditional jam recipes…

I turned to my canning bible (the Ball Complete Book of Home Food Preservation) and found. recipe for mango raspberry jam that I figured I could easily convert to a mango-only jam recipe. The only problem was that it called for 3 cups of mangoes and 5½ cups of sugar!!!

This insane amount of sugar is the biggest problem with most standard jam recipes, and while I love a good classic, sugary batch of strawberry jam as much as the next gal, I just can’t justify adding that much sugar to anything I make/eat/serve my family anymore.

Plus, mangoes are really sweet just as they are (especially the overripe ones), so I feared adding that much sugar would make the mango jam almost sickeningly sweet.

However, I know that many jam recipes call for a ton of sugar in order for them to gel correctly, and I definitely wanted to end up with a nice, thick jam in the end.

After a bit of back and forth between different recipes, I found a low-sugar option that called for Pomona’s pectin: a low-sugar alternative that uses a combination of pectin and calcium water which helps thicken jams and jellies without the addition of absurd amounts of sugar.

I’ve heard about Pomona’s pectin before, but had never actually tried in any of my own recipes, mostly because I just wanted to get really good at regular jam making and canning before I started playing around with low-sugar alternatives.

But now that I have a few years of canning and jam-making experience under my belt, and DOZENS of jars of sugary jam lining my pantry shelves, I decided there was no better time than now to take the leap and dive into the world of low-sugar jam making!

 

Related: Sugar-Free Applesauce Canning Recipe

 

Making jam with Pomona’s pectin

As it turns out, using Pomona’s wasn’t any more difficult than using regular pectin. Plus, it not only allowed me to use a fraction of the amount of sugar (I used 3 cups of sugar to 12 cups of diced mangoes), it also gave me a really nice, thick gel with no issue at all.

Each box comes with a package of pectin and a small pack of calcium powder, which you mix with a little water and add to your batch of jam to thicken it up.

Pomona’s pectin is also pure pectin, unlike other brands which are often mixed with dextrose. So this pectin is extra potent and needs to be mixed with the sugar before being added to the fruit mixture otherwise it will clump.

(I learned this the hard way since I had already added the sugar before reading that part of the directions. I was, however, able to use my hand blender to blend it up and break up any clumps, so crisis averted!)

Pomona’s has their own low-sugar mango jam recipe which calls for ½ cup of bottled lemon or lime juice per 4 cups of mangoes. I decided to use lime juice since it reminds me of the tropics and I thought the flavours would compliment each other well. I even upped the lime flavour by adding in the grated zest and juice of three fresh limes.

The addition of lime juice also helps the jam achieve a nice, thick gel due to the high pectin content in citrus fruit. Also, it ensures a safe final product since mangoes are actually a low-acid fruit, which means they require the addition of lemon or lime juice to ensure they can be canned safely. (See Botulism & Home Canning: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe.)

In the end this low-sugar mango jam turned out really nice and really showcased the flavours of the mangoes and limes without being overly sweet.

 

Ways to enjoy low-sugar mango jam

  • On top of toast
  • Spread on crackers and cheese
  • Use as a condiment on a burger (for something a little different!)
  • Mix it in with some yogurt
  • Enjoy it straight out of the jar with a spoon!

I found my batch a bit thick to spoon over ice cream, although according to Pomona’s, you can add less of the pectin and calcium water for a softer spread if you prefer.

Mango Jam | Mango Lime Jam | Low-Sugar Mango Jam Recipe

 

Low-sugar mango jam recipe

To make this low-sugar mango jam recipe, start by preparing your mangoes. Peel and dice them and measure out 12 cups.

*Although the original Pomona’s recipe called for just 4 cups of mashed fruit, I happened to have just enough mangoes on hand to get exactly 12 cups of peeled and diced mangoes. This gave me roughly 8 cups worth of mashed fruit in the end once I cooked it down. So I doubled the amount of pectin and calcium water. I ended up getting 8 half-pints (8oz jars) in the end, which was a good amount.

You could measure out roughly 6 cups of peeled, diced mangoes to yield 4 cups of mashed fruit instead, but then you will only get about 4 half-pints. This is fine if you only have enough to do a small batch, but I figure if you’re going to do the work anyway, you may as well do a larger batch and get more jars from one canning session.

After you’ve prepared your mangoes and measured out 12 cups, add them to a stainless steel pot along with 1½ cups of bottled lime juice plus the zest and juice from three fresh limes and stir to combine.

Mango Jam | Mango Lime Jam | Low-Sugar Mango Jam Recipe

Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Boil for about 20-25 minutes, mashing the mangoes as you go. Alternatively, you can use a hand blender to blend up the jam into a smooth consistency.

Meanwhile, mix ½ teaspoon of the calcium powder with ½ cup of water in a Mason jar or other jar with a lid and shake well to combine.

Add the ½ cup of calcium water to the fruit mixture and stir well to combine.

Next, mix 6 teaspoons of the pectin with 3 cups of sugar. Bring the mango fruit to a full boil and then add the sugar/pectin mixture and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until it’s completely dissolved.

Remove pot from heat. At this point your jam should be starting to gel quite nicely. If you’re not sure about the gel, you can do a gel test by sticking a spoon in a glass of ice water and then quickly drying it off and touching the bottom of the spoon to the jam. If the jam sticks to the spoon and/or slides off in sheets (rather than dripping off), then you’ve got a good gel and you’re ready to can it up!

 

Related: Pectin-Free Strawberry Jam Recipe

 

Mango Jam | Mango Lime Jam |

 

How to can mango jam

To can your jam, use a canning scoop and a canning funnel to scoop the hot jam into sterilized jars. Leave ¼-inch headspace at the top of the jar.

Use a knife to skim around the inside of the jar to release any trapped air bubbles. Adjust headspace if necessary.

Wipe rims and place lids on top of jars. Screw down bands and then place in a hot water bath. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 10 minutes. (Add an extra one minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level if you live at a high altitude).

 

Related: Water Bath Canning for Beginners

 

Then turn heat off, take lid off the canner and leave jars in canner for an extra 5 minutes.

Remove jars from canner and let cool completely on a tea towel on your countertop.

Store in your pantry out of direct sunlight and enjoy whenever you’re in the mood for a little tropical fruit (or when you’re dying for a beach vacation but your bank account says “just eat the jam, Karen.”)

 

Mango Jam | Mango Lime Jam | Low-Sugar Mango Jam Recipe

Low-Sugar Mango Jam Recipe

Yield: Roughly 8 half-pints (8oz jars)

Ingredients

  • 12 cups mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1½ cups of bottled lime juice, plus the zest and juice from three fresh limes
  • ½ tsp. calcium powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 tsp. Pomona's pectin
  • 3 cups sugar

Instructions

  1. Prepare your mangoes by peeling and dicing. Measure out 12 cups.
  2. Add mangoes to a stainless steel pot. Add lime juices and zest and stir to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  4. Boil 20-25 minutes, mashing the mangoes as you go. Alternatively, you can use a hand blender to blend up the jam into a smooth consistency.
  5. Meanwhile, mix ½ teaspoon of the calcium powder with ½ cup of water in a Mason jar or other jar with a lid and shake well to combine.
  6. Add the ½ cup of calcium water to the fruit mixture and stir well to combine.
  7. Mix 6 teaspoons of Pomona's pectin with 3 cups of sugar. Bring the mango fruit to a full boil and then add the sugar/pectin mixture and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until completely dissolved.
  8. Remove pot from heat. At this point your jam should be starting to gel quite nicely. If you’re not sure about the gel, you can do a gel test by sticking a spoon in a glass of ice water and then quickly drying it off and touching the bottom of the spoon to the jam. If the jam sticks to the spoon and/or slides off in sheets (rather than dripping off), then you’ve got a good gel and you’re ready to can it up!
  9. Scoop the hot jam into sterilized jars. Leave ¼-inch headspace at the top of the jar. Use a knife to skim around the inside of the jar to release any trapped air bubbles. Adjust headspace if necessary. Wipe rims and place lids on top of jars. Screw down bands and then place in a hot water bath. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 10 minutes. (Add an extra one minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level if you live at a high altitude).
  10. Then turn heat off, take lid off the canner and leave jars in the canner for an extra 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and let cool completely on a tea towel on your countertop. Store in your pantry out of direct sunlight

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

7 Comments

  1. Rena Morano

    I don’t have Pomona’s pectin, but I do have Sure Jell fruit pectin “for use in less or no sugar needed recipes.” Will it work in this recipe? My mangoes are quite sweet and I’d like to add as little sugar as possible.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      You should be able to use the Sure Jell, but I would check the instructions in/on the box as the directions may be different. I haven’t used Sure Jell before, so I’m not sure if the process is the same (ie, the calcium water, etc.) Otherwise the mango/lime juice/sugar ratios should work the same.

      Reply
    • Tish Painter

      I have used Ball Lo-Sugar Pectin a lot (although not with this recipe) and the Sure Jell should be similar. If you want to do the same amount as Anna’s recipe here, you will need two boxes of the pectin (as Anna’s recipe is a double batch). Then follow the normal instructions as with most fruit jams with commercial pectin. (Mix the fruit with the juice and gradually add in the pectin until mixed well. Heat to a boil and add the sugar. Heat to boil again and remain at a boil for 1 min and then remove from heat and fill jars and process.)

      This is the best approximate that I can see to get the most similar results to Anna’s. I hope you like it as much as my daughter does!!

      Reply
  2. Nanakate

    Living on a small island in the Caribbean, I have access to a lot a tree ripened mangoes. But with the constant heat I’m looking for a mango jam recipe similar to my strawberry freezer jam. I also would like it to be very low or no sugar due to diabetes. Can you help.
    Nanakate

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Nanakate,

      This recipe can easily be turned into a freezer jam (instead of canned). It is already a low-sugar jam but you can also make this with no sugar at all, depending on your tastes. Lucky you to have access to fresh local mangoes!

      Reply
  3. Debbie Harrison

    Your mango jam sounds delicious! Have you ever tried honey as a substitute for the sugar? I have access to free honey and it would also be healthier. Just not sure if would work. Any thought would be helpful. Thanks, Debbie

    Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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She then repeated her statement and followed it up with “just you wait and see.”

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When I first started homesteading, I had a burning desire to become more self-sufficient and live a more sustainable life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a rebel at heart, and learning how to homestead and become more self-reliant was a way for me to “throw a proverbial middle finger to the system” and live life on my own terms.

As a teenager, I was the girl who drove around town with punk rock music blaring from my car, Misfits sticker on the back and studs around my wrists. I felt misunderstood and angsty and like I desperately didn’t fit in with the world I grew up in.

I always knew in my soul that I wanted something different; Something more.

Today I’m the mama with stretch marks on my belly and battle scars on my heart. I’m the woman who gardens and cans food and makes her own tinctures and believes in something greater than herself and fights every day to stay free in a world that feels increasingly engineered to keep us hopelessly dependent.

Today I feel whole and at peace, and connected to a higher power and a higher purpose. I feel like I’ve finally found the place where I belong.

This journey has been about so much more than homesteading for me, and I've learned, lost, gained and loved so much more than I ever could have imagined.

Because, as I've said before, homesteading doesn't happen in a vacuum. Life is always happening at the same time.

This is the full, raw and unfiltered story of my homesteading journey, and how I've gained so much more than a pantry full of food along the way.

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The news we’ve all been waiting for…

IT’S A BOY!!!

After so many years and too many losses, our hearts are so full and it feels like we are inching closer to our family finally being complete.

I’ve always known in my heart and soul that we were meant to have a girl and a boy. I know, it sounds cliché and very “nuclear family,” but years ago I saw a psychic who told me I would have a girl who loved to be centre stage and had a personality larger than life, very much how our daughter has turned out!

She also said I would have a boy who would be much more introverted and in tune with nature and with his own intuition. That’s yet to be seen, but I’ve always had this unwavering vision of a son and a daughter that fit these descriptions, and my heart has been set on a son ever since we had Evelyn.

Of course, things went sideways for a few years. Shortly after Evelyn was born, I became pregnant again, but we made the heartbreaking decision to terminate that pregnancy at 24 weeks due to a severe medical diagnosis. We lost our son, Phoenix Rain on June 15, 2018. Our hearts were shattered and have never fully healed.

Over the next few years, I had 3 more early miscarriages. None of the doctors knew what was causing them as most didn’t seem to have any sort of genetic explanation. We were told it was “something environmental,” but weren’t given any clues as to what that could be.

After pushing to see several specialists last year (after our most recent loss), and being told once again that there was “nothing wrong with me,” I finally got another opinion and found out I had something called Chronic Endometritis: A low-grade infection in my uterus that I believe in my heart was caused by my c-section with our daughter; A c-section I didn’t want and probably didn’t need, but felt I needed because I was under pressure to make a decision before the surgeon went off duty.

I’ll never know for sure, but when I pushed for more testing and finally got a simple round of antibiotics, the endometritis cleared up. I got pregnant again almost immediately and so far we now have a healthy baby boy on the way.

(Continued in comments…)
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556 43

We’re living through interesting times. Many people have even used the term “unprecedented times,” and while that may be true in that there has perhaps never been another time in history when we’ve faced so many existential threats all at once (ie. a global pandemic, climate change, political divisions, AI advancing at an incredible rate, cyber attacks, nuclear threats, globalization, food shortages, supply chain issues, hyperinflation, social media and the age of information/misinformation, etc. etc. all converging at once). But despite all of this, we are not the first generation(s) of humans to face hardships and threats of great magnitude, and in fact we’ve had it better than any other previous generations for most of our lives, especially here in the west.

The fact is, there are lots of things we can do to ensure we’re not sitting ducks when these threats come knocking at our door. But it takes action on our part, not waiting around for someone else to fix things or take care of us.

In the Summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with The Grow Network’s Marjory Wildcraft to talk all about the realities of our current climate, including worsening inflation and looming global food shortages, as well as what every day people like you and I can actually DO to improve our food security, become more self-sufficient, care for our families and communities and ensure our own survival and wellbeing even in difficult and uncertain times like these.

While I don’t believe in fear mongering, I do believe in acknowledging hard truths and not burying your head in the sand. That being said, things may very well get worse before they get better, and we would all do well to start learning the necessary skills, stocking up on essential resources and preparing now while there’s still time.

Check out the full interview in the summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Link in bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe or login and read the current issue.

#foodshortages #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #foodsecurity #foodsecurityisfreedom #homesteading #growyourownfood #fightinflation #stayfree
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