Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam with Pomona’s Pectin


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Low-sugar strawberry jam with Pomona's pectinThis low-sugar strawberry jam recipe is made with Pomona’s pectin and preserves the bright, fresh taste of summer strawberries all year long (without the insane amounts of sugar!) Once you try this recipe out, you may never go back to traditional, sugar-laden strawberry jam again!

* * *

The very first homemade jam I ever made was a classic strawberry jam with standard, store-bought powdered pectin. It called for 5 cups of strawberries and 7 –yes, SEVEN– cups of sugar.

I had just started learning how to can food and jam was an easy beginner project. But I couldn’t get over the fact that there was more sugar than actual fruit in so many recipes!

I quickly switched to pectin-free strawberry jam, which called for 8 cups of strawberries and 6 cups of sugar. Still not great, but at least there were more strawberries than sugar and it eliminated the need for store-bought pectin. This was my go-to strawberry jam recipe for years. It was (and still is) delicious! I especially like it with a little bit of vanilla mixed in since it’s reminiscent of a strawberry sundae. But everything changed the first time I tried making low-sugar strawberry jam with Pomona’s pectin.

This low-sugar strawberry jam recipe calls for 4 cups of mashed strawberries (which is actually around 8 cups of whole strawberries), and just 2 cups of sugar, which is decidedly less than the amount of sugar in my favourite pectin-free strawberry jam recipe.

You can reduce the sugar even more if you like, but I find the ratio of 2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of mashed strawberries to be just the right balance of sweetness without overpowering the fresh flavour of the strawberries in this recipe.

That being said, if you’re looking for a low-sugar strawberry jam recipe with as little sugar as possible, feel free to reduce the sugar in this recipe to as little as ¾ cup of sugar for every 4 cups of mashed strawberries.

 

Can I use regular pectin to make low-sugar jam?

The real trick to making low-sugar jam is in the pectin you use. Unfortunately you can’t use standard store-bought pectin to make low-sugar jam because the pectin requires large amounts of sugar to set properly. Pectin-free jam is similar; You need quite a bit of sugar to get your jam to gel.

But low-sugar pectin is crafted specifically for low-sugar jams, which means you can use significantly less sugar in your homemade jams.

There are a few different brands of low-sugar pectins available, but Pomona’s pectin is by far the most popular choice. It’s the only low-sugar pectin I use, and while it does cost a little more than regular pectin, I’ve had success with it every single time. You don’t even need to do a gel test when using Pomona’s pectin! So long as you follow the directions, in my experience it will set every time, no problem.

 

How does Pomona’s pectin work?

Unlike regular store-bought pectin, Pomona’s pectin calls for the addition of calcium water, which is what activates the gelling properties of the pectin.

Every package of Pomona’s pectin includes both pectin and a packet of calcium powder, which you mix with water before adding it to your homemade jam.

Extra calcium water can be stored in the fridge for months, or can be frozen for long-term storage so it doesn’t go to waste. I just made a fresh batch of low-sugar strawberry jam with some calcium water I’ve had in the fridge since last summer. When you’re ready to use it, just pull it out of the fridge and give it a shake, or defrost it first if stored in the freezer.

When it comes to the actual pectin, one important difference between Pomona’s pectin and standard powdered pectin is that Pomona’s pectin needs to be mixed with the sugar BEFORE being added to the fruit mixture. This is because Pomona’s pectin is pure pectin, whereas other brands are usually mixed with dextrose. This makes Pomona’s pectin extra potent, which means it will clump quickly and easily if added directly to your fruit/jam mixture while cooking.

I’ve messed this part up a couple times and regretted it each time. Last time I made a red berry jam and added the pectin directly to the mixture as it was cooking. I ended up with hard clumps of pectin throughout the jam. While the jam is still delicious and totally edible, I find myself having to pick out the lumps of pectin when I spread it on toast, etc.

When you add the pectin to the sugar first and mix it thoroughly, it incorporates it into the jam better and lumps and clumps are no issue.

 

Pomona's ectin calcium water

This is what Pomona’s pectin calcium water looks like once it’s mixed up. It will store in the fridge for up to about a year.

Do I have to do a gel test when using Pomona’s pectin?

One of my favourite things about using Pomona’s pectin is that you don’t need to do a gel test to ensure your jam or jelly has set before canning. While it is possible to have jam that fails to set when using Pomona’s, it’s much less likely than when using standard powdered or liquid pectin, which I always find to be hit and miss.

I’ve never had a problem with my low-sugar jams setting and gelling when using Pomona’s pectin, and I’ve never had to do a gel test. So long as you follow the directions and use the correct amount or of ingredients, you should have no problem either.

 

Can I use honey in place of sugar in low-sugar jam?

Yes! You can substitute honey for sugar if you prefer. If using honey, you can use as little as ½ cup of honey or up to 1 cup of honey to sweeten your jam. (Honey is naturally sweeter than regular sugar, which is why you can use even less).

The thing about honey is that it’s expensive. And when you heat the honey up to a boiling point during the canning process, you destroy any of the naturally occurring health benefits that are present in raw honey. So I usually don’t bother using honey in my canning recipes. The one exception being my home-canned peaches with honey, but in this case I prefer the flavour of honey in the syrup.

The choice is yours though! If you’re looking to eliminate refined sugar altogether, you can absolutely use honey in this recipe instead.

You can also use agave syrup in place of sugar. Just use it as you would use honey in this recipe.

 

Low sugar strawberry jam with Pomona's pectin

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! Feel free to double the recipe for a bigger batch. I’ve doubled this recipe many times and had no problem, however tripling is not recommended as results can vary when tripled. Plus, you need quite a large pot both to cook the jam and to can it if doing large batches, so stick to small batches for best results.

 

Can I freeze this jam instead of can it?

While I haven’t personally tried converting this recipe to a freezer jam recipe, you can turn any low-sugar jam recipe made with Pomona’s pectin into a freezer jam recipe instead of canning it. Just follow the recipe until the point where you transfer your jam into jars. Then let it sit at room temperature until it has cooled completely before storing in the freezer.

You may want to leave a little extra room at the top of your jars too, just in case your jam expands a bit in the freezer.

All of this being said, this is a really easy recipe to can and you don’t need much in the way of tools. Plus, your jam will be shelf stable and won’t take up precious freezer space. If you’re new to canning, check out this post on water bath canning for beginners for everything you need to know to get started.

 

Can I make this jam with frozen fruit or do I have to use fresh fruit?

One of the great things about jam is you can make it with either fresh or frozen fruit. Since Pomona’s jam calls for mashed fruit, it’s even easier to measure out the exact amount of mashed strawberries whether using fresh or frozen. If using frozen strawberries, simply defrost them first and then mash them up. Just be prepared for your hands to get cold while mashing them, or use a potato masher instead!

 

Low sugar strawberry jam with Pomona's pectin

How long will this jam last on the shelf?

Once canned, this low-sugar strawberry jam will store on your shelf for up to a year.* 

  • I use an asterisk because this is a very loose recommendation. In reality, most homemade jams are still totally edible beyond the one-year mark, however you may notice the quality begin to degrade. The jam may begin to separate, leaving a bit of liquid at the top, or it may begin to go off-colour. 

Since this is a low-sugar strawberry jam recipe, it’s very normal for the jam to start off bright red and then turn brown in colour as it ages. It’s still perfectly safe to eat and still tastes delicious!

You may also notice a bit of white film on the top of your jam. This is most likely just a but of foam from the jam and is completely harmless. If it looks and/or smells moldy though, it’s best to toss it out. Always be sure to wipe jar rims before placing your lids on and remove the bands from your jars once they’ve cooled to ensure they have actually sealed and to prevent mold from growing.

 

What tools and equipment do I need to can low-sugar strawberry jam?

If you’re ready to can up some low-sugar strawberry jam, you’ll of course need some strawberries! As I mentioned earlier, you can use either fresh or frozen strawberries. I always recommend using organic fruit for jam because personally I like my jam without a side of pesticides. I also purchase strawberries locally and in-season as these strawberries will yield the best flavour. But you can technically use any strawberries you like.

You’ll also need some Pomona’s pectin. You can order some here if you can’t find any in your local grocery store.

As for canning tools and equipment, you can check out a full list of everything I use and recommend right here, but in short you’ll need a water bath canner (or a large stockpot with a rack in the bottom), jar lifters, a canning scoop (or large soup ladle), and a canning funnel.

This canning set has everything you ned to get started, including a 7-quart canner and all of the canning tools you’ll ever need.

You’ll also need jars and lids. Only use approved Mason jars for canning. Do not reuse jars from the store because they do not fit proper canning lids.

Most importantly, you need to use new canning lids every time you can. You can reuse the bands (also known as rings), and/or you can purchase reusable canning lids. But if using standard metal canning lids, they are only made to seal once, so you need to use new ones every time you can food.

I love Denali canning lids. They’re super durable and have an excellent seal rate, and you can purchase them in bulk and save money. Denali also sells water bath canners and other canning supplies. Check out everything Denali has to offer right here.

 

Low sugar strawberry jam with Pomona's pectin

I still have questions!

If you still have questions about this recipe or about canning in general, feel free to leave a comment below, or check out my comprehensive home canning course, where I walk you through everything you need to know to get started canning your own food at home.

The Yes, You CAN! home canning course also includes my Home Canning Handbook (eBook), which includes detailed canning instructions and 30 of my favourite canning recipes, including everything from jams and jellies to pickles and pie fillings to soups and sauces to meats, vegetables and even combination meals, all with easy-to-follow recipes.

Alternatively, you can purchase the Home Canning Handbook on its own right here.

And if you try this recipe out, I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a review and/or a comment below and let me know how this recipe works out for you (and if you’ll ever be going back to full sugar strawberry jam again!)

 

Low-sugar strawberry jam with Pomona's pectin

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam with Pomona's Pectin

Yield: 4 to 5 eight ounce jars

This low-sugar strawberry jam recipe is made with Pomona's pectin and preserves the bright, fresh taste of summer strawberries all year long (without the insane amounts of sugar!)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mashed strawberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp Pomona’s pectin
  • 2 tsp calcium water (See note below)

Instructions

  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. Prepare and measure out 4 cups of mashed strawberries and add to a large stainless steel bowl.
  3. Add the calcium water and stir well to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, add the pectin to the sugar and mix well to combine.
  5. Bring mashed strawberries to a boil and add the pectin-sugar mixture. Stir to dissolve and continue stirring until the mixture returns to a full boil. Boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat.
  6. Ladle hot jam into prepared jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
  7. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as needed. Wipe rims, place lids on top and screw down bands.
  8. Place jars in canner and ensure they're completely submerged in water before placing the canner lid on. Bring water to a boil and process for 10 minutes. (If you're above seas level, adjust time for altitude by adding 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level.)
  9. Once time is up, turn off the heat, take the lid off the canner and set the timer for another 5 minutes before removing jars from the hot water. Once 5 minutes is up, remove jars from the canner and let them cool on the counter completely before storing in a cool, dark place.

Notes

Each box of Pomona’s pectin comes with a packet of pectin and a packet of calcium powder. To make the calcium water, mix 1⁄2 tsp calcium powder with 1⁄2 cup a water in a small glass jar and shake well to combine. (I use a 4oz jelly jar). Extra calcium water will store in the fridge for months, or can be frozen for long term storage and thawed to make future batches of jam. 


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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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Over the years I’ve followed my passion for writing, editing and creating content, figuring much of it out on my own. From creating my blog to “self-publishing” my own digital/print magazine for the last 4 years, I’ve taught myself most of the practical skills necessary for turning an idea into a publication and getting said publication in the hands and in front of the eyes of many hundreds of readers.

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It’s been a minute since I popped into IG to say hi. (Hi! 👋) But before I share what’s been going on behind the scenes, I thought it would be a good time to (re)introduce myself, because I’ve never actually done that before!

My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

But preparedness and security isn’t the only thing that drives us… The peace of mind I get knowing that everything we grow is 100% organic, and that the ingredients in our food, medicine, personal and household products are safe and natural is worth more than anything I could buy at the grocery store.

(I’m not perfect though. Not by a long shot. I still rely on the grocery store, on modern medicine, and on many modern conveniences to get by, but I balance it as much as I can:)

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I’m all about practical gifts; Gifts that will truly make life easier and contribute to my and my family’s wellbeing. And our family includes our animals!

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Automating our homesteading tasks as much as possible allows us to worry about other things and saves us a ton of time. Plus, it makes sure that things get taken care of, whether we remember or not.

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Yes, you read that right…

Modern Homesteading Magazine is coming to an end.

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And so this final farewell issue is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s the first ever annual issue, with 100 pages packed with brand new content that celebrates the best of the past 32 issues!

And it’s the first issue I’ve ever offered in PRINT!

But on the other hand, it marks the end of an era, and of this publication that I’ve absolutely had the pleasure of creating and sharing with you.

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Thanks to everyone who has read the magazine over the past 4 years. I’m humbled and grateful for your support, and can’t wait to share whatever comes next:)

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It’s easy to romanticize homesteading, but the truth is that those homegrown vegetables, those freshly laid eggs, that loaf of bread rising on the counter, and that pantry full of home-canned food takes time, effort and dedication. It doesn’t “just happen” overnight!

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That’s where I’m at now. Life today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago, when our homesteading and self-reliance journey was just beginning.

Back then we still lived in our city condo and were just beginning to dabble in all of this stuff. But my husband Ryan and I felt a sense urgency to start pursuing a more self-reliant lifestyle, and we committed to taking small steps, one day at a time to make that vision a reality.

Over the years we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other, adding new skills and tackling new projects along the way that have helped us get to where we are today.

While there’s always more we want to learn and do, as I look around me right now, I’m so grateful that we took those first steps, especially considering what’s happened in the world over the past few years!

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💰 Saves you money at the grocery store
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But perhaps the number one reason is because it just tastes better!

Not only does food taste better when it’s freshly picked or allowed to ripen on the vine, there’s something about putting in the work to grow something from a tiny seed and then getting to see it on your dinner plate that just makes it so much more satisfying than anything you’ll ever buy from the store.

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In my online membership program, The Society of Self-Reliance, you’ll learn how to grow your own food, from seed to harvest, as well as how to preserve it so you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor all year long!

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If you’ve been watching events unfold over the past few years and you’re feeling called to start “cutting ties” with the system and begin reclaiming your independence, The Society of Self-Reliance was made for you!

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Got out for an early morning harvest today. Been up since 3am, contemplating life, the future and the past, the order of things…

There is a rumbling right now, not just in North America, but around the world. Many of us can feel it, and know we are on the precipice of something big.

I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

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Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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#garlic #garlicharvest #homesteading #selfsufficient #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #selfreliance #homegrown #groworganic #growfoodnotlawns #gardenersofinstagram #homesteadersofinstagram
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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#homesteading #modernhomesteading #raisinglittles
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/12-frugal-living-tips-summer/
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#houseandhomestead
#momentsofcalm
#pursuejoy
#simplepleasuresoflife
#thatauthenticfeeling
#findhappiness
#artofslowliving
#simplelifepleasures
#lifesimplepleasure
#simplepleasuresinlife
#thatauthenticlife
#authenticlifestyle
#liveanauthenticlife
#livinginspired
#savouringhappiness
#livemoment
#localgoodness
#simplelive
#lifeouthere
#enjoywhatyouhave
#frugallifestyle
#homesteadingmama
#offgridhomestead
#modernfarmhousekitchen
#crunchymama
#rusticfarmhouse
#farmhouseinspo
#farmhouselife
#modernhomesteading
#backyardfarmer
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