Here is a recipe for a sugar-free cherry jam recipe you can make today and eat whenever. No freezer required, no short life span in the fridge. This jam is shelf-stable up to a year, and you can use whatever sweetener you like best.
You can see in the picture, it’s a real jam, with a great gel, beautiful jammy jam texture, and the taste? POW! So good.
I went on a jam testing adventure, and cherry was on my list. Although cherries are a bit higher in carbs, a little spoonful will do on top of low carb pancakes (or anything really).
If you like cherries, this is a definite pantry staple.
There is no added sugar in this recipe, only the natural sugar from the fruit.
Why I think a pantry of sugar-free cherry jam is a good idea.
So why would you want to make your own shelf-stable jams?
Control The Ingredients:
Well, my first reason for wanting to create my own jam was so I could control the level of sweetness. I could also control the ingredients, and that is amazing because so many commercially made low carb and sugar-free jams have added preservatives and sometimes even dextrose. When you make it yourself, you also control what sweetener you use.
Having a jam on hand is convenient.
The second reason is how convenient it is to pull down a jar of jam and make a dessert. Sugar-free cherry jam? Perfectly wonderful layered between chocolate cakes with whipped topping for a gluten-free black forest cake. It’s also excellent in mini tart shells, or as a low carb topping for cherry cheesecake.
Save a few bucks!
And my last reason why I think you should make your homemade low carb jams – COST. Man, I bought a tiny little jar of low carb jam this spring and gawked at the $10.00 price tag. Forget that jazz, save bundles, and make your own.
Summer is the best time of year when berries and cherries are at their lowest prices and freshest taste too. Take advantage of those lower market prices and stock that pantry for your fall and winter desserts. This sugar-free cherry jam recipe is a GOOD start!
Pectin gets a bad wrap; You CAN get pure pectin to make your jams with no added sugar!
Ok, so now let us talk about pectin.
Pectin gets a bad wrap. Understandably so since even the low sugar required pectins, the first ingredient is sugar.
I am also suspicious of the nutritional label as it states zero carbs, zero sugar for a 1 tsp serving. There are carbs there, but the sample is too low to register. Is it .9 per tsp? .3? I don’t know despite trying to get an answer.
Ok, so what do we do?
Well, I found this great product called Pomona’s Universal Pectin, and it’s the perfect pectin for low carb and sugar-free jam making.
This recipe post isn’t even a sponsored post. I LOVE working with this product.
Pomona’s Universal Pectin is sugar-free, vegan, non-GMO, and works PERFECTLY! I have had a blast the last few weeks testing and making jams with this product.
No sugar required either! You do need to use a sweetener.
Stevia, xylitol, erythritol, monk fruit, allulose – it doesn’t matter, it will work. I tested ALL of them to see what sugar replacement would work best, and they all worked exceptionally well.
And carb counts? I quickly found the full nutritional information on Pomona’s website:
One teaspoon (3 grams) of Pomona’s Universal Pectin contains:
10.2 Total Calories
2.55 grams carbohydrate (from soluble fiber)
2.5 grams of soluble fiber
Since we’re only adding 3 tsp to the entire recipe ( over 64 servings ), the carb additions are negligible.
Pomona’s 100% pectin
So if you have canned jam before this process is a tiny bit different.
The package of pectin also comes with a small packet of calcium powder.
There are two types of pectins – pectins that require sugar to gel, and pectins that need calcium to gel. There is a whole scientific explanation on Pomona’s website if you’re interested in reading all about it.
The calcium powder gets mixed into a small jar of water (lasts forever refrigerated). The calcium water is what gets added to your jam recipes, usually a tsp or two at a time.
You can find Pomona’s pectin on Amazon or in health food stores. I paid a little over $8.00 Canadian for a box. I balked at the price but did not realize that one box of Pomona’s Universal Pectin will make up to 20 half-pints (8 ounces) jars.
And you know what… with commercial low sugar jams priced out to lunch, it’s still way cheaper to make your own.
Working with Pomona’s Universal pectin
I found working with this pectin much easier to use than regular pectin. It seemed much more forgiving. If the jam didn’t gel the way I wanted, I could add more calcium water, and it would thicken.
I could always add more sweetener and continue to process without over thickening the jam. Having the option to reprocess the jam was great because I wanted to make sure my jam was sweet enough without over sweetening.
If you have jars of jam that don’t quite set after they are cooled, you can reprocess them and add either more pectin or more calcium water to get the gel to thicken.
The instructions come in the box, and they are super easy to follow. Pomona’s also has a fantastic website with all kinds of directions and base recipes for you to work with including instructions for developing your own recipes.
- Quick note: Use filtered water in your recipes. If you have hard water this cherry jam recipe will thicken more than you want it to – so be mindful that your home tap water can play a part in how thick your jam gels.
What are the best sweeteners for this low carb cherry jam recipe?
I tested them all! My kitchen will be forever sticky after this jam-making adventure.
By far the sugar-free cherry jam recipe made with Allulose was the best. It had a sticky, gooey texture that commercially bottled jams are known for, and had the best taste. It straight up tasted like jam. By far, my favorite.
Erythritol did tend to turn grainy when cold, as erythritol tends to do. If you warmed the jam up, it was perfect. So if you want to use erythritol know that graining up when cold will happen.
I also tested my favorite sweetener, So Nourished monk fruit erythritol blend, and it did grain up a tiny bit when cold but not as much as straight-up erythritol in the recipe.
Xylitol was GREAT, but it does add additional carbs, so not my favorite for that reason.
Truvia, Stevia, and Swerve worked fine, but I find they have an aftertaste for me, but that’s personal. If you like Truvia, or stevia, or Swerve, absolutely use them. The jam gelled beautifully, and the fruit held the colour and texture.
****If you use Xylitol, remember that it is poisonous to dogs and cats! ****
The must not miss canning steps
This sugar-free cherry jam recipe requires a water bath canner. You can also use a heavy bottom stock pot.
There are a few safety precautions!
This jam requires a full 10-minute rolling boil to seal the jam jars – DO NOT skip this!
- DO NOT skip the lemon juice. I usually say fresh lemon juice at every opportunity, but canning is different. Use bottled lemon juice. Fresh lemons vary in acidity you want to make sure you get your acidity level correct and using bottled lemon juice will ensure you’re adding the right amount. Cherries are lower in acid, so the addition of lemon juice is required to get the PH levels correct for canning.
- Do not use a jam bottle larger that 500ML (2 cups).
- When you pull your sugar-free cherry jam bottles from the canning bath, leave them rest for 24 hours without moving them, or tilting them. Let them set.
- Any jars that did not pop or did not seal properly can be reprocessed in the water bath for another 10 minutes, or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Storage Time for your jars of cherry jam
Store these little jars of summery goodness for up to one year in a cool dark place. You can also store open in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
I would store this cherry jam on top of a cheesecake, but that’s just me.
Want more jam recipes? I got you covered.
How about a bright blueberry jam popping with fresh summer flavor?
- 4 cups of cherries (pitted, chopped)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup allulose
- 2 tsp Pomona's Universal Pectin
- 2 tsp calcium water (provided in the pectin box)
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- Wash jars, bands, and lids well. Place jam jars in water bath canner filled 1/2 way with water. Bring water to a rolling boil. Turn off the burner and leave jars in canner until ready to use.
- Place lids and bands in water in a small saucepan and heat until water simmers. keep lids & bands in warm water until ready to use.
- If using fresh cherries, pit before adding to a large saucepan. If using frozen measure and just pour right in.
- Add lemon juice and calcium water and blend in well.
- In a bowl add allulose and pectin and blend well.
- Heat the cherries in the saucepan over medium heat. As they start to soften, mash with the back of a fork, or use a potato masher. I like to leave a few whole cherries in my jam, but mash to the consistency that you like. Bring cherries to a boil.
- Add pectin-sweetener mixture, continuing to mix for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Boil for 1 full minute once the jam reaches the boiling stage.
- Fill jam jars to ¼” to the top. Clean rims with a clean cloth. Add lids and twist bands until finger tight.
- Add jars to the water bath canner when the water in the canner reaches a full boil. Boil 10 full minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level).
- Remove from water. Let jars cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
- Test for seal, if a jar did not seal, you can reprocess it again in the canner for 10 full minutes, or add that jar to the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 64 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 7 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1mg Carbohydrates: 2g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 4g Protein: 0g