Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Make Honey-Sweetened Jam

Homemade jam is usually so full of sugar, but it doesn't have to be! Using Pomona's Pectin, one can make a low-sugar, honey-sweetened, or fruit juice-sweetened homemade jam. This particular pectin comes from citrus peel. The jelling is activated by calcium water (mono calcium phosphate) which comes with the pectin. It is so easy to make jam from all of your freshly picked fruit of the season. Making and canning jam is one of the great ways to preserve the harvest!

Last year I experimented quite a bit with some of the hundreds of pounds of fruit we harvested. I made an awesome Vanilla-Plum Jam sweetened with coconut sugar, a Honey-Sweetened Blueberry Jam, Spiced Peach Jam made without pectin and with sugar, Blueberry-Lemon Jam made with a small amount of pureed unripe, immature apples as the pectin source (unripe apples are high in pectin), a tart Italian Plum-Agave Jam, and Cherry-Peach Jam sweetened with grape juice concentrate. Let me tell you, homemade jam makes for many wonderful Christmas gifts!

Honey-Sweetened Jam

My recipe is barely adapted from the very detailed directions and variations given in the package of Pomona Pectin. You should be able to find this particular pectin at your local co-op or health food store. I use a blender (Vitamix) to quickly mash my fruit; not so it is pureed, just ground up and still a little chunky. This recipe is for strawberries, raspberries, cherries, currants, and gooseberries. You'll need to add a certain amount of lemon juice for other fruits. Follow the directions that come with the package. The two jams pictured here are Strawberry-Honey and Strawberry-Raspberry-Black Currant-Honey. For the latter, I used equal parts of the three fruits.

8 to 10 cups prepared fruit (hulled, rinsed, stems removed) = to 6 cups mashed, ground-up fruit
1 tablespoon calcium water*
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon Pomona Pectin

Boil your jars and lids in a large pot. For this recipe I use five 12-ounce jam jars. Turn off heat and let them stand in hot water until you are ready to use them.

Fill your Vitamix to the brim with your fruit. Pulse and blend until you have 6 cups of ground-up, slightly chunky fruit. Pour into a large pot. Add the calcium water. Stir well. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, mix one cup of honey with the one tablespoon of pectin. I use a fork to do this. Add honey-pectin to boiling fruit and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Bring back to a boil for a few more minutes.

Carefully lift your jars out of the pot with a pair of tongs, empty out any water, and set onto a towel on your counter. Pour jam into each jar, leaving about 1/4-inch of space at the top. Wipe any excess from the rim using a moist clean towel. You need to make sure the rim is completely clean so you get a good, solid seal. Lift the lids from the hot water with the tongs and place onto the jars. Screw on lids. Place jars into a boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on counter. After 24 hours all lids should have sealed. They usually seal within the hour. You'll hear a loud "pop." Please refer to the post I did last year on How to Make and Can Applesauce for detailed photos on the canning process.

*The Calcium Water is made by mixing the powdered calcium with water. Directions are in the package.

Pictured above is my recipe for Oatmeal-Banana Pancakes spread with the Strawberry-Raspberry-Black Currant Jam. The pancake recipe is in the cookbook! :)

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Canning jam is one of those things that's always intimidated me, and doing it sugar-free is even more scary. But you've got me pumped and I'm really looking forward to doing this sometime this summer. Thanks! :)

  2. Your pictures look fabulous. I love the homemade gift idea. Last year I made fruit butters with agave, fruit, and spices and they were a hit with the "receivers". I'll have to try the jam.

  3. Ali,
    Can you use the same recipe for freezer jam?

  4. coooool! jam! i like jam. i've never made any before, but i think it'd be rad someday, when i'm out there in the world on my own and i don't conflict with my mother.

    i wouldn't use honey, though, the vegan thing. perhaps sorghum syrup would work. it tastes so much like honey and is thick like honey, too. have you had it before? it's so good. i drool over it. (especially because it's made locally on a little eco-village in rural missouri!)

  5. Wonderful recipe! Love honey. I'm hoping to get a freezer next year, and will trial my hand at canning then. My mom used to make and freeze tons of strawberry jam every year.

  6. Sounds great, but where would you get calcium water. Love your recipes and want to buy the cookbook, but it's so hard to find the ingredeints sometimes.

  7. Beautiful photos, Ali! That sounds easy enough. :-)


  8. Can you post the recipe for the Vanilla-Plum jam with coconut sugar?

  9. I'm wondering the same thing as cheryle - is this adaptable to freezer jam recipes? Has anyone tried it?

  10. Thanks for the comments everyone. Yes, I do believe that this also works for freezer jam though I have never done it that way. We need all the room in our freezer for all of the fruit we harvest. :) You might want to check the Pomona Pectin package for directions. There is a small pack of powdered calcium in the package that is mixed with water to create the "calcium water" needed to make the jam. And yes, I have used sorghum syrup before but never in jam -- great idea! :)

    Once plum season hits in Northwest Washington I will post the Vanilla Plum Jam recipe made with coconut sugar. :)

    1. Can you post the recipe for the blueberry-lemon jam? Also, can you use frozen blueberries? Thanks!

  11. Just finished making a batch of strawberry honey in cute 4 ounce jars for gift giving. Turned out beautifully.Whole Foods reported they are no longer carrying it and found the last two boxes at a local co-op.
    Thanks so much for sharing your recipes. Your website and book has been an inspiration to me.

  12. did four batches of this tonight! havent' tasted it but you made the process seem so simple--thank you.. I've ever done freezer jams before and I definately need the space in my freezer! -

    I love that I just learned that I can water bath in my 8qt pressure cooker with the steam basket it--LOVE IT!! thank you!

  13. wonderful! just what I was looking for. I can't wait to have your recipe for the vanilla-plum jam!!! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  14. I use raw honey exclusively. I have also *never* canned. So my question is: can you make jam, honey-sweetened, without having to boil the honey? So that the enzymes stay intact?

  15. My mother never processed her jam, so I don't. After putting them in the jars I just turn them upside down and let the hot syrup seal the jars. Reba

  16. Hi I have done a LOT of freezer jam you can use Pamonas but I have had better luck with freezer jam pectin. I also tend to use 1/4 the amount of sugar and additional honey with great results. Here is a link
    As for canning with honey (and the whole botulism spores in honey)it sketches me out. But I am sure the fruit is acidic enough it probably wouldn't be a issue.

  17. Isn't it unsafe to cook with honey related to botulism spores? I had heard particularly with canning, that it should be pressurized to deactivate the spores, but that heating honey actually increases the risk of botulism poisoning.

  18. I dont know where to find calcium was wondering what else i could use?

  19. Greetings,

    I live in a rural area, an island in Puget Sound, and we have challenges finding specialized items like Pomona Pectin. I do, however, have an abundance of green apples right at the moment.

    Since the fruit this year is outrageously good in Washington I would love to make jam from some of it. Neither my husband nor I eat sugar and every package of pectin that I can find locally calls for loads of sugar. Sweetening with honey is no problem, sweetening with sugar is a big problem.

    How does one go about making jam using green apples for pectin?

    Thanks for any reply to my question.


    PS I am now on day 34 of the elimination diet and haven't felt this good in years! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  20. Gail - I have not had luck making jam with unripe apples and honey. I did make some very good blueberry jam one year using small unripe apples for the pectin along with a small amount of sugar. But I really don't like eating any cane sugar so haven't done it since. I do make fruit butters with unripe apples that work quite well (using honey, coconut sugar, or nectar as the sweetener). The more unripe the apples, the more pectin so you may need to adjust the amount of fruit per apple accordingly. I blend the fruit and cored apple together and then cook it down on the stove, then add honey, and cook some more.

  21. I just found this. I hope it works well! I'm trying to cut out excess cane/beet sugar from my diet, while enjoying fruit-flavored meats. Thanks for the recipe!


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