Sugar-Free Plum Jam

During autumn on Mapleton Hill, trees and vines sag heavily with fruit. All the plums, apples, and grapes attracts bears, common in these parts. So my neighbor Nancy and I decided to go on a fruit picking expedition. We went to another wonderful neighbor's house on our street, and soon our bags were full of Paige Blackburn's plums. In a short amount of time we managed to pick over 17 pounds.

Using Local Fruit to Make Jam

What to do with all that local fruit? I needed to use a lot of it! So I created this Sugar-Free Plum Jam recipe. In all, I made three different jam recipes. One had a low amount of sugar, the other was very low-sugar, and the final one was the Sugar Free Plum Jam recipe you'll find below. Don't worry though, I'll share a bit about each one with you so that you can make whichever your heart desires.

Picking the Plums

I have to confess, Nancy, a total powerhouse, did most of the heavy lifting, i.e., she picked a lot of the fruit, washed it all, and sliced the majority of the plums. But I did contribute to our labor by turning 17 pounds of that fruit into jam in one evening. I had to keep up with her plum production process and do something with all that precious local fruit

Can You Make a Big Batch of Jam?

I've read that it's not possible to create big batches of jam. Most of the recipes I referred to used around 3 pounds of fruit. Since we had 17 pounds this wasn't really feasible for me unless I wanted to be up all night. So I had to come up with a plan. Here's what to do with mountains of fruit.

How to Make Big Batch Plum Jam

After you remove the pits from the plums, place up to 8 pounds in a tall 12-quart pot with a bit of water, just enough so that you won't scorch the fruit as it heats.  I use one-half cup of water for every batch. If you're going to use any sugar at all, put it on the bottom of the pan with the water, then put the pitted plums in. Heat the mixture to a simmer, then bring to a boil and keep the lid on, other than when you stir the mixture every couple of minutes to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

Simmering off the Liquid for Plum Jam

Once the plums are well cooked and starting to degrade into more of a watery stew, leave the lid off so the mixture is uncovered. This way, the jam continues to cook while the liquid evaporates. Keep the heat low and stir continuously to keep the jam from scorching on the bottom of the pan. Cook down until you end up with an amazing batch of jam that's not at all watery.

What Ratio of Sugar to Fruit When Making Jam?

A typical jam recipe will contain twice as much fruit as sugar pound for pound. However, I've also seen 1:1 jam recipes, where equal amounts of sugar and fruit are used. I've even seen some that use twice as much sugar as fruit. I haven't tried that but it doesn't seem palatable to me. I can't imagine making something that sweet because it would be nearly impossible to taste the fruit. And the best part of jam, in addition to the fruity flavor, is the tart taste. My three batches of jam consisted of the following ratios of fruit to sugar, by weight:

  • 1 pound sugar : 5 pounds fruit
  • 1 pound sugar : 8 pounds fruit
  • 0 pounds sugar : 4 pounds fruit

What is Jam?

Jam is fruit that is preserved and stored in a glass jar. For me, jam is cooked fruit that has a concentrated flavor. You're basically heating the fruit to break it down, then concentrating the flavors by condensing it and eliminating its liquid. That leaves you with the fruit's fiber, which comprises the body of the jam, and sugar, i.e., the carbohydrates that fruit are mostly made of.

What's the Difference Between Jam and Jelly

If you're wondering what the difference is between jam and jelly it's quite simple. Jam is the entire fruit including its pulp, crushed and cooked then stored. Jelly is preserved fruit juice.

Sugar-Free Jam Recipe

My Sugar Free Plum Jam recipe was delicious. I've been eating it on top of Keto Bread with ghee. It also makes a fabulous peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my Paleo Bread. I did notice that in the batches of jam that I made with sugar the plum skins totally degraded, but in the batch of Sugar-Free Jam, the skins were a bit more intact. I think the sucrose in the organic cane sugar I used dissolved the plum skins.

Sugar-Free Jam Recipe without Stevia

If you don't like stevia, feel free to leave it out. This Sugar-Free Plum Jam recipe will work just fine without it.

Sugar-Free Plum Jam

Ingredients
Serves:
4cups
Print Recipe
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry plums, then slice in half, removing pits
  2. Place water and plums in large pot, cover and bring to a simmer, stir occassionally
  3. Once mixture turns liquidy, remove lid
  4. Simmer and stir frequently until desired thickness, 30-90 minutes
  5. Stir in lemon juice and stevia
  6. Cool, then transfer to clean one-cup quilted mason jar or one-cup wide mason jar
  7. Store in fridge for up to 10 days
I made the plum jam... It came out great, and I love the intense plum flavor.

Canning the Jam

If you wish to can the jam feel free, though I did not do that with this recipe. The jam will keep for up to 10 days if you use a clean mason jar that is either straight from the dishwasher or washed by hand with hot soapy water, then thoroughly dried. The lemon juice in this recipe provides additional acid which helps keep this jam fresh when stored in the refrigerator.

Storing the Jam

This jam will freeze very well. Just be sure that you do not fill the jar all the way up since it will expand when frozen. Leave at least at least an inch of empty space at the top of the jar. I would guess that this would keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Low-Sugar Plum Jam Recipe

The other two batches of low-sugar plum jam were good also. They're not something I would eat, but tasted fine when I dipped a spoon in to check that their flavor was on point. Next time I'm going to make jam with Paige and I plan on testing out a batch that is a 1 to 10 ratio of sugar to fruit. I thought the 1 to 8 was still a bit too sweet, but the neighbors and friends I gave it to loved it.

Pectin-Free Plum Jam Recipe

All of the jam we made was pectin-free. What is pectin? It is a natural fiber found in plant's cellular walls, and most concentrated in the skin. Since plums make a nice gelatinous jam on their own I did not find this ingredient necessary.

Your Favorite Homemade Jam Recipe

There is a long history of homemade jam making. What's your favorite recipe? Does your family have a tradition of making jam? Let's get jammin' in the comments!

Comments

43 responses to “Sugar-Free Plum Jam”

  1. With the sugar free plum jam….if I can it in small jars… how long would I be able to keep it on the shelf?

  2. Our neighbor just gave us a large bag of plums because her tree had a bountiful year. I am doing all kinds of experimenting. I think this recipe will work great for giving my diabetic husband a treat he can enjoy. And we love easy! Thank you!

    • Lois, I wrote this recipe for people who love the real flavor of tart fruit, and also for those who cannot have sugary sweets. I hope you and the hubby love it as much as we do :-)

  3. I just like the way how it gives me details and it’s basically like it’s telling me how to make it and stuff like that.

  4. Can soft ripened plums be used the ones that fall off the tree & onto the ground? I’d like to make the no sugar recipe. Thank you Elana
    Parla

  5. I have always made jams and jellies using less sugar, but I have always used pectin. This will be my first. I fill the jars, put a lid on the, and turn them upside down. After five minutes I turn them right side up. Then, as the jam cools, the jar seals itself. I keep mine for over two years (if it lasts that long).
    My favorites are Black Elderberry jelly and Rhubarb jelly. I grew up with the black elderberry in Germany. Since it doesn’t grow in Alaska I use bottles organic 100% juice. Blackberry and rosemary jam is another one I like

      • This is not a safe way to can. Please research this through your local Agricultural Extension office and the Ball canning site.

        • Patricia, thanks for your comment. This is not a canning recipe. It is a refrigerator jam that lasts for just over a week and is not stored on a shelf the way canned products are.

    • this is exactly how we do canning for jams and jelly, the plum jam is this weeks adventure for me thank you for the recipe

  6. I have made blackberry preserves using blackberries, water, a bit of stevia, touch of lemon juice and Chia seeds. Thickens pretty nicely and is pretty tasty.

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Recipes » Condiments » Sugar-Free Plum Jam