Discover how to make low sugar blueberry jam that's full of flavor and healthy, too!
If you always thought that making your own jam meant boiling fruit for hours and adding lots and LOTS of sugar, then you'll be happy to hear that there are much healthier alternatives! In this article we'll show you how it's possible to make tasty, low sugar blueberry jam that preserves all the goodness of the fruit and tastes absolutely wonderful!
Will a low sugar jam really 'set'?
Yes it will - you just need to prepare it slightly differently to regular jam.
When you make blueberry jam with sugar, you cook the fruit for a longer time to allow the mixture to thicken. For a low sugar (or even a no-sugar) option, you need to find a different way to make the mixture gel.
Low sugar blueberry jam with pectin
Pectin is a natural substance found in many fruits, particularly apples. There is pectin in blueberries, but not very much. This means that you will need to add pectin to blueberries in order to make blueberry jam. The good news is that pectin doesn't affect the flavor of the finished product in any way!
Important note: some sources list blueberries as a high pectin fruit, but this isn't quite right. Only UNRIPE blueberries are high in pectin. Unripe berries will not produce a tasty jam, particularly if you don't want to have to add sugar!
In order to make a low sugar (or no-sugar) blueberry jam, you need to add a reduced-sugar pectin. Lower sugar pectin, available in many stores, needs around 40% less sugar than regular pectin to thicken your jam.
Alternatively, you can buy no-sugar pectin and then add whatever sweetener you prefer to achieve the taste you want.
One example is stevia, which is often available as a prepared product that looks just like sugar. If you use prepared stevia, the measurements are like for like (i.e. 1 teaspoon of prepared stevia = 1 teaspoon sugar). If you don't want to use stevia, you could try maple syrup or honey.
With no-sugar pectin, you can choose to add no extra sugar at all and the mixture will still gel, although it will be a little more runny than regular jam.
One other thing to remember is that jam made with little or no sugar does not keep for as long as regular jam. It's known as 'refrigerator jam' because it needs to be kept in the fridge, where it will last for 1-2 weeks
Here is a simple low sugar blueberry jam recipe using no-sugar pectin
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons no-sugar pectin
- Put the blueberries into a saucepan and mash them to release their juices.
- Add the water and pectin to the pan and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring continuously.
- Continue to boil for a couple of minutes, then taste. If the mixture is too tart, add the sweetener of your choice, a little at a time, until you reach the level of sweetness you prefer.
- Spoon the prepared jam into jars and place in the fridge, where it will keep for 1 to 2 weeks.
If you have lots of lovely fresh blueberries to use up, why not try making some blueberry jelly too!