A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Homemade fruit jam: 5 healthful ways to manage the sweetness

Healthy / strawberry jam / recipe

This jam recipe calls for less sugar but still packs a punch when it comes to flavor.

Jam, fruit butters, spreads, marmalade, preserves, jelly…mmmmm!

These words conjure up visions of a well-laden breakfast table with warm toast, muffins or scones, or a peanut butter sandwich calling for a touch of sun-ripened sweetness.

If you’re a fan of making your own or would want to try turning fruit into jam but you don’t want all the calories of sugar, use recipes calling for less sugar or using another sweetener.

“Jams are always a nice gift and people appreciate getting them on special occasions and around the holidays,” said Marshfield Clinic Health System Dietitian Chrisanne Urban.

Fruit season will soon be here, too, so you can hand-pick fruits from the garden or orchard, make jam and impress your friends and family.

“Sugar is not added when making jams to help prevent spoilage,” Urban said. “It helps fruit form into a spread and adds flavor. If you do make jams and similar spreads, you may want to experiment since there are lots of interesting combinations that could call for low sugar.”

Jam-making advice

  • Always use a commercial pectin.
  • Stay away from aspartame sweeteners when canning since they lose their sweetening power.
  • Saccharine-based sweeteners turn bitter.
  • If you want to make a lower-calorie version, check out recipes using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener since you can measure cup for cup with sugar.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find a good recipe that works for you but don’t necessarily plan to eliminate sugar since your grandma’s favorite raspberry jam recipe is tried and true.

People diagnosed with diabetes should be aware of differences with jams made with sugar vs. sweetener. For example, Urban said, 1 tablespoon of regular jam has 55 calories and 14 grams of carbs while 1 tablespoon of sugar-free jam has 10 calories and 3 grams of carbs.

For more advice, Urban suggests reaching out to your university extension agent. For example, click on this link. Then check out this recipe calling for Splenda vs. sugar.

Simply Sweet Strawberry Jam

Prep time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3 1/2-pint jars

Servings: 48


  • 3 pints ripe strawberries, stems removed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1.75-ounce package SURE-JELL* For Lower Sugar Recipes Fruit Pectin
  • 1/2 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie sweetener, granulated


Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Fill boiling-water canner half full with water; add jars and water to cover. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Place lids in water to cover in a small saucepan; bring water to a simmer. Simmer until ready to use. Remove and drain jars and lids, one at a time, as needed for filling.

Cut strawberries in half; crush using potato masher or food processor. Place exactly 3 cups of crushed strawberries in a large saucepan; stir in water. Gradually add pectin, stirring until blended.

Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, stirring until SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener dissolves. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. Allow to stand for 5 minutes to minimize separation of fruit and liquid.

Ladle hot jam into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4-inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on rack in canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil.

Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing center of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.) Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, store refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.

Nutrition information

One-tablespoon serving contains 10 calories; 0 g fat; 0 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g sodium; 3 g total carbs; 1 g dietary fiber; 0 g sugars; 0 g protein.

Source: Heartland Food Products Group, LLC/Splenda

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