Making blueberry jam with no added pectin–another recipe

Here’s one more recipe for those of you who are enjoying the taste of homemade no-added-pectin jam. This is also for blueberries, but I’ve been told that it works equally well for blackberries, especially if you make sure that some of the blackberries are barely ripe. I like this recipe because it calls for a ratio of fruit to sugar that favors the fruit. So if you’re trying to cut back the sugar a little, this one will help.

No-pectin-added berry jam

This makes 3 jars of jam, a smaller batch.

Cook together in a large, heavy pan:

•6 cups ripe berries

•3 cups sugar

Cook over medium high heat for 35-40 minutes.

When jam is ready (it reaches 220° and sheets off the side of the spoon) add 1/4 c. lemon juice and cook a few more minutes. The jam will rethicken. Add 1 T. grated orange peel. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

You can leave the lemon juice and orange peel out for pure berry flavor.

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but the friend who sent it to me said that it thickened up beautifully.

By the way, we’ve been enjoying toast with blueberry jam every morning for breakfast…and snacks…and dinner…and dessert….


31 thoughts on “Making blueberry jam with no added pectin–another recipe

  1. Pingback: Making jam with no added pectin « My Sister’s Kitchen

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  3. i used blueberries and this made more than 3 jars….but i still came out great. my son licked the spoon and said we did a good job. 🙂

  4. I am wondering if anyone can speak to the role of the sugar. I just can’t bring myself to use 3 cups of it in anything!! Anyone know of recipes that call for honey instead? Does the sugar play a role in making jam jam or is it just a sweetener? Thanks!

    • I have just made 2 small, separate batches of raspberry jam (using 1 pint each time). I crushed most of the berries but left a few whole, into a small pot, squirted a wedge of lemon juice into the mix and then added (no measurement) a long squirt (to taste, as it cooks–add more if needed) of organic, blue agave syrup, from the health food store. The jam boiled for about a minute, and then I turned it down to the lowest setting. I just stirred it once in a while, and tasted of course, as it simmered for about a 30 to 45 minutes or so, (depends) but it does thicken nicely. I spoon it into a container and refrigerate it because it’s such a small batch. I haven’t tried this in large quantities though. This suits me fine.. always fresh and by the way… the flavour is absolutely divine.

      • I understand that this was posted a while back, but do I understand correctly that you replaced the sugar with agave nectar? Thanks

        • Kelly, since Linda posted the comment in August, 2009, I doubt that she’s revisited this recently. I have never used agave nectar myself so sadly I can’t answer the question for you. If you decide to try this yourself, please let us know how it turns out!

        • Agave nectar is a natural sweetener made from the agave plant. It has a low glycemic index and is slowly absorbed by the body (like apples). It does not spike your blood sugar levels like regular table sugar. It is an excellent alternative for diabetics or anyone for that matter! I use it as a replacement for sugar and corn syrup in recipes, in coffee and smoothies. The only thing I haven’t tried are my grandmother’s cake recipes. I can’t touch those!

  5. Hi Janine, I’ve never even thought of using honey to make jam, but I’m sure it’s possible. I suggest that you do a search for the phrase “making jam with honey” and see what you turn up. Right now I’m on vacation with a dial-up connection. I can see that such a search gets many hits but I can’t actually connect to most of the pages…or I’d give you some links. I’m curious to hear what you learn.


  6. Jams made this way–approx. half as much sugar as fruit–are going to knock your socks off if all you’ve ever had are jams & fruit butters so sugar-laden (50-60%!) you have to read the jar labels to know what kind of fruit they’re made of.

    It takes longer to cook it to a jell and you don’t get quite as many jars as you do with twice the sugar, but I do believe that anyone who tries a batch made this way will never go back to the “half-fruit/half sugar”ratio. (And certainly not to pectin.)

    Because even the same kind of fruit can vary in sweetness, start with 1/4 cup sugar to each cup of fruit pulp/juice and work up to 1/2 cup or a bit more–until you’re pleased. (Keep in mind that as the jam cooks down the proportion of sugar increases and it will be sweeter at the end of cooking than at the start.)

    A judicious bit of lemon juice/lemon peel/orange peel is almost always a good thing. They help the jams set up and complement-without-obscuring the flavor of almost any fruit.

    If you don’t plan to eat a batch in pretty short order, I think it’s crucial to hot-water process low sugar jams, since sugar is a great preservative.

    I’m still fastidious about everything that might contact the jam. I keep the rings, ladle, jar tong, & funnel in the simmering canner a half-hour or so before they’re needed–lay them then on a clean tea-towel, keep the washed/rinsed jars in a 225 oven the entire time the jam is cooking, keep plenty of water to bring to a boil in the teakettle to pour over the lids a few minutes before they’re needed and dampen the paper towel or tea towel I wipe the jar rims with. I then hot water process the jars for ~7-10 minutes.

    Might be overkill, but processing that length of time has never affected the taste or consistency of my jams and better safe than sorry. I’ve never had a jar go bad.

    These will keep for ~a year unopened in a cool dark place, but once opened should be eaten within ~3 weeks for optimum flavor. (And always refrigerated, of course.)

    Note re: blackberry jam. This is the most difficult fruit of all, in my experience, to not overcook. The sheeting-from-a-spoon test doesn’t work for me with blackberries; when the jam reaches that stage it is always rubbery after it cools. I find that when it mounds on one of the little saucers I’ve had in the freezer–and slides down very very slowly when the saucer is tilted–it is ready.

    • Thank you so much. Overkill or not, your way of processing the jars works wonders. I made jam using this recipe with the accent of lime. I processed the jars your way and every single one popped within a half an hour. I have never had that happen. By the way this jam is Great! I used organic bluberries I had picked and lime zest and it was wonderful. Thanks again. 🙂

  7. wow! the jam is really nice. right now its cooling down . I did this with my mum and we bonded.Thx for the recipe.this is my first time making jam and its really fun. Thx again

  8. It’s also nice with lime instead of lemon. Somehow it brings out the fruit flavor without tasting limey. Also, I’ve been bringing mind just to 218F and have been quite pleased with the texture–nice and firm, but not too firm.

  9. thanks for the recipe. i made it yesterday, and it is so delicious. i was so happy to find one that didn’t use pectin.
    this was my first time canning and everything went great!

  10. I added a tablesoon of Madera wine to my blackberry jam….ABSOLUTELY delicious.!!!!!!!!
    I’ll never go back to using pectin …

    I have an abundance of lilli pilli fruit [Australian native tree] & it is delicious BUT QUITE TARTE.I have searched the internet for a jam recipe. Anyone ever cooked lilli pilli jam & have a successful recipe. don’t think it will thicken with just boiling. Tried it with 3 parts fruit to 1 part sugar. Ended up adding gelatin to make jelly with it. Was great but would love a proper jam recipe. Left over liquid made a great cordial.

    • Try a recipe for lingonberry jam or jelly, or cranberry. These are very tart but make an excellent jam and jelly. They are my family’s favorite, here in northern Canada.

  12. I made this recipe, i crushed the berries, it was fantastic. Very rich in blueberry flavour and I feel good that there is so little sugar in it I also made your raspberry jam so intense I love it. I should mention for anyone feeling nervous to risk all of their berries on this recipe (I was) that I am a novice jam maker and I found it quite easy. The sheeting method just didn’t make sense to me. So when I thought it was done I took the jam off the burner to stop the cooking and put a dollop on a plate and put it in the fridge until cool (a few minutes). Then I ran a butter knife through it to see if it seemed like the right consistency.

    Thanks so much for this recipe, it’s going in my recipe vault!

  13. I stopped using pectin a few years ago and with the full sugar have never had to boil my jams for more than 10-12 minutes. If you are boiling for 40 minutes wouldn’t the ratio of fruit to sugar be just about the same as a full sugar jam? The 1953 book on preserves that my Mother-in-law used for 40 years then passed on to me says that sugar is essential for both setting and preserving the jam. Sometimes I think we just have to accept the fact that some treats aren’t healthy and enjoy them in moderation the way they were meant to be.

    • Audrey, I would make peach jam without pectin pretty much the same way I’ve made other fruit jams without pectin. As I mentioned before, it’s really, really important to include fruit that isn’t quite ripe. The natural pectin turns into sugar as the fruit ripens…which is why we love eat sweet, ripe peaches. The sweeter and riper the fruit, the LESS natural pectin there is though. So use up the unripened fruit in your jam. It’s a win-win!

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  17. This is the best blueberry jam I have had! Tried making apricot jam the same way. I noticed I had to turn the heat lower, as it started to scorch. I only got 2 jars of apricot jam out of the recipe.

  18. Well I have processed my batch of huckleberries with this recipe.
    I will keep you posted on how it sets but so far so good.
    It jelled up very nicely on the spoon.
    Thanks for the post.
    I had enough huckleberries to make 12 pints of Jam!

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