This jam recipe is nearly sugar free, except for the fruit, of course! Note: This jam does not set into a hard gel. The texture will be more like a preserve or fruit butter. If you'd like it to be more gelled, add low/no-sugar pectin.
Prep Time 15minutes
Cook Time 1hour
Total Time 1hour15minutes
Servings 8Eight (8-ounce) jars of jam
Author Jennifer Cordaro
6poundspearsvery ripe (Bartletts work great here)
2tablespoonsfresh lemon juicefrom 1 lemon
16ouncesall-naturalno sugar added, juice concentrate of your choice, thawed
1wholevanilla beansplit lengthwise
1 to 2teaspoonsvanilla extract(optional, for a very vanilla flavor)
1package plus 25% of another packageof no-sugar pectin(optional)
If canning, sterilize jars and lids. Place a small plate in the freezer so you can test the jam for proper thickness later.
Peel, core, and chop pears finely. You can also puree them in a food processor, depending on the texture you want your jam to have. In a large bowl combine pears and lemon juice. Toss until pears are well coated with juice.
In non-reactive pot (stainless steel is fine) combine juice concentrate and water. Use a butter knife to scrape the tiny beans from the inside of the vanilla pod, and toss the beans and empty pod into the pot. Bring to boil over medium heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Discard vanilla pod.
Add pears, cinnamon, cardamom, and optional vanilla extract to the pot. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often to ensure the fruit does not stick or burn to the bottom of the pot. Once mixture thickens, after about 45 minutes, test for doneness by spreading 1/2 teaspoon of cooked fruit on the cold plate and place it back in the freezer. Wait 30 seconds, then run your finger through the fruit. It should be thick enough to not run all over the plate, but remember that jams made without sweetener will not gel the same as standard jams. Here, the jam should just stick to the plate without being runny.
Optional: If you prefer a more gelled jam, add 1 package plus 20% of another package of no-sugar pectin once jam is done. Use a whisk to mix the jam to ensure there are no clumps of pectin. Return the jam to a boil and stir constantly for exactly 1 minute, then remove from heat.
If canning, ladle the jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headroom, and process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Otherwise, place in an airtight container in the fridge. Freezes well up to 6 months.
Special Equipment: Eight (8-ounce) sterilized mason jars with lids, water bathNutritional analysis is without the pectin* When making jams without white sugar, it will not set or gel the same way as regular preserves. Don't expect a hard-set jam, as this will yield a thinner finished product. * Practice and take lots of notes. If you develop your own juice-sweetened jam, write down what you did so you can either replicate it if it comes out right, or find your mistake if it didn't turn out like you'd hoped. * If you want your sugar-free jam recipe to gel a little more, you can add "no-sugar needed pectin." It still won't be quote like the consistency of traditional jam, but it will be pretty close. A little heavy on the pectin is better than too light, if you want a more traditionally set jam.