It’s that time of year again. Strawberries are ripe, rhubarb is ready, and it’s sugar-free strawberry rhubarb jam time.
There are so many different ways to make jam without sugar, but for me, it’s all about creating a shelf-stable jam that is as good now as it will be in 6 months. I didn’t want to freeze my jam, sacrifice texture or color (look at that ruby red jam!), or flavor.
So I went to work, tested different methods to finally land on a way for me to preserve my garden bounty without resorting to freezing.
Why sugar-free Strawberry rhubarb jam is always a good idea
So why make your own strawberry rhubarb jam?
Well, first off, when you make your own jam you know exactly what is going into the recipe. It’s fresh fruit, your favorite sweeteners, and pure pectin.
You can also balance out the sweetness to YOUR pallette. Maybe you don’t like super sweet, and maybe super sweet is exactly what you’re after. Either way, you’re making jam that is healthy, fresh, and customized to your tastes.
If that doesn’t sell you on the idea, try this one out. Sugar-free jams are indispensable in the low carb kitchen. Swirl a bit around some low carb granola, warm it up to pile on keto waffles, or my personal favorite, add it to desserts.
When craving for something sweet strikes, I can pull a few low carb tart shells out of the freezer, add a bit of cream cheese and a dollop of jam, and a cup of hot coffee, and I am right as rain.
Not all pectins are loaded with sugar.
Ok, so not all pectins are the devil.
Pectin has a bad reputation in the low carb community. Actually, lots of people try to avoid dextrose. If you look at Certo pectin’s nutritional information for low sugar, the first ingredient is dextrose.
Ok, so conventional pectins with all those additives are out the window, what do we use instead?
Pomona’s 100% pectin is the answer. It has no added sugars and no weird perservatives.
This isn’t a sponsored post. I legitimately think this product is AMAZING.
Although you do not need to use sugar, you do need to have a bit of sugar replacement.
Palomoas 100% pectin
So if you have canned jam before this process has an extra step.
This process requires a few tablespoons of calcium water. The calcium water is made with the small package of calcium powder included in the box of pectin. A tsp or two per recipe is all you need.
I found working with this pectin easier than working with traditional pectin. This pectin was much more flexible and forgiving, If the jam did not gel adequately, I could add more calcium water, or pectin to make it work without over-processing the pectin.
I was also able to adjust the sweetener after the pectin was added without making the jam too thick.
Additionally, If you have jars of jam that don’t quite set after they are cooled, you can reprocess them.
The instructions come in the box, and they are super easy to follow. Pomona’s also has a fantastic website with all kinds of instructions 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 (which tends to lean heavily on the calcium already), they will thicken more than you want them to – so just be mindful that your water can play a part in how thick your jam gels.
What are the best sweeteners for this strawberry rhubarb jam recipe?
I tested them all!
I tested Stevia (which I am not a fan of in the first place, but for testing, I gave it a whirl), Swerve, xylitol, erythritol, monk fruit/ erythritol blend, allulose, and Truvia. They all worked beautifully, but some stood out above the rest.
By far, the jam 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.
Xylitol was good too, but it does add additional carbs.
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 Erythroil, just 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 but not as much as straight-up erythritol in the recipe.
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 color and texture.
****If you use Xylitol, remember that it is poisonous to dogs and cats! ****
WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH SWEETENER YOU NEED TO SWAP?
Strawberries, Rhubarb, Cinnamon, oh my!
So the question is always, can you make jam with frozen fruit.
Yup! 100%. Actually, I made a batch of jam to test with frozen fruit and it was just as delicious as fresh.
I also go wild and add a pinch of cinnamon and a drop or two of vanilla to all my jam recipes because I feel it adds a deeper dimension to the flavor. But that’s completely personal. You can leave them out.
( I highly recommend leaving them in!).
If you don’t read anything else, please read these important canning tips.
Ok, so this sugar-free strawberry rhubarb jam requires a water bath canning.
There are a few safety precautions you need to take that are not optional. Since this jam is going up on the shelf, it requires a full 10-minute full boil canning bath to preserve.
- 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. You can always add more lemon juice than the recipe calls for but do not useless. It’s there to act as a preservative for your jam.
- Flipping the jam bottles over and letting them rest will NOT work for this jam. Please don’t do this. This recipe requires a full 10-minute rolling boil in a canning bath to ensure the jam is safe.
- Do not use a jam bottle larger that 500ML (2 cups).
- When you pull your 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 seal can be reprocessed.
Storage & uses for your strawberry rhubarb jam.
This sugar-free strawberry rhubarb jam will remain shelf-stable in a cool dark area for 1 year. I would mark expiry dates on your jams before putting them away.
Once opened the jam will last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
Beyond the normal smearing of jam that resembles bread things – this jam works for all kinds of recipes. It works great as a topping for low carb cheesecakes or as a filling for gluten-free cakes. It makes a great filling for tart shells, or in squares and bars.
Looking for more sugar-free jam recipes?
Or check out all our low carb and sugar-free jam and sauce recipes
- 3 cups fresh chopped strawberries
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cup allulose
- 2 tsp Pomona's Universal Pectin
- 2 tsp calcium water (provided in the pectin box)
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- Wash jars, bands, and lids in hot soapy water. Place 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 strawberries, chop into quarters before adding to a large saucepan. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and add to the saucepan with the cut strawberries.
- Add lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and calcium water to strawberries and blend in well.
- In a bowl add allulose and pectin and blend well.
- Heat the strawberries and rhubarb 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 my jam to be a bit chunky so I only mash a little bit. Mash your strawberries and rhubarb to the consistency that you like. Bring strawberries and rhubarb to a boil.
- Add pectin-sweetener mixture, continuing to mix for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the strawberry rhubarb 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.
- If your strawberry rhubarb jam did not gel to the consistency you want you can add the jam back into a saucepan and add another tsp of calcium water. Bring the jam back up to a boil and repeat steps 8 to 11.
- You control the level of sweetness in this recipe. If you want to add half the sweetener, that is perfectly fine. If you want to add more, that will also work. The level of sweetener does not impact the gel from this pectin.
- The jam is shelf-stable unopened for up to one year so long as the jam is stored in a cool dark place. Once opened, the jam will need to be refrigerated and will last for a week.
- Serving size is one tablespoon
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 80 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 1gNet Carbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs (and sugar alcohols) are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fibre.