Do you want to spread as much jam on your toast and never feel guilty about it? This Sugar Free Blueberry Jam is the solution for that, YES! It is totally cane sugar free and it taste as good as regular jam that is loaded with sugar. It’s made from fresh Blueberry, all natural and homemade. So, just spread and enjoy!
So Blueberry season is here and it is time to make use of those beautiful fresh Blueberries in the market. Last year, I had fun (and went crazy) making different kind of fruit sauces and pie filling, they were amazing. I was able to extend Summer a little bit more until few weeks in Fall. I was having homemade fruits jams and making fruit pie filled with homemade fruit filling during Fall, some of it even extended early Winter. Talking about bringing your Summer to few more months. Making jam early and at the end of Summer is one activity that I like to do, and this year I am starting it with Blueberry Jam, sugar free.
Jam is very simple to make. They are basically just fruits (fresh or frozen), sugar, pectin and sometimes lemon juice and some salt. The main most ingredients are the fruit and sugar. Pectin is a substance found in berries, apples and other citrus fruits that when heated with sugar creates a jelly like consistency when it cools. Citrus fruits have natural pectin in them, so when combined with right amount of sugar, you can make a Jam without having to add pectin in them. You’ll get the same thick and jelly like consistency once the jam cools. I always prefer it all natural, my Strawberry, Raspberry and Blackberry Jams were made without the addition of pectin, and I was pretty satisfied with the result.
No Refined Sugar Added Jam
In this version, I decided to try to make a healthier homemade jam. It’s not that I used a lot of jam often, but it won’t hurt trying something new and healthy, and it was pretty challenging and interesting idea too. A jam without sugar, is it possible? Oh yes! Otherwise we won’t be here, and you won’t be reading this post. The most common natural replacement for sugar is either honey or maple syrup. I tried both, and they turned out both great so whichever you choose you’ll be assured you will have jam that you would enjoy to eat. Few things to note when using either one.
- Maple Syrup has a more liquid consistency and less thick, this means it will require few more minutes of cooking to get the jam in a thick consistency, maybe 3 more minutes.
- Honey is sweeter than Maple Syrup. For this recipe, I used 3 tbsp of Maple Syrup, if you at using honey start with 2 tbsp then adjust as needed. The sweetness and tartness of the Blueberry also affects how much sweetener you add in the jam, but you definitely have to add it. The sweetener, Maple Syrup in this case will help get the jam a thick consistency plus it will give sweetness to balance the tart taste of Blueberry.
- Tapioca flour is the replacement for cornstarch which makes the jam thick, but you can also use cornstarch if that is what you have. Tapioca flour can be bought in Asian section of tie grocery or in Asian stores.
Maple Syrup vs Honey, which one to use
Maple Syrup and Honey are common healthier and natural substitute to regular cane sugar. They are more expensive than cane sugar, but is definitely a great alternative when you want to go to a healthier eating route. Here are some similarity and differences between the two.
- Maple syrup contains 52 calories per tablespoon. A 1-tablespoon serving of honey contains 64 calories.
- A tablespoon of pure maple syrup contains about 14 grams of carbohydrates. Of those, 12 grams are from sugars. Every tablespoon of honey contains 17 grams of carbohydrates, 17 of which are from sugars.
- The fat in a tablespoon of pure maple syrup is 0.1 grams. Honey does not contain fat.
Vitamins and Minerals
- Honey serves as a very modest source of vitamin B-6 and vitamin C — maple syrup contains neither of these
- Honey also contains more than three times the amount of riboflavin than maple syrup.
- Maple syrup, on the other hand, contains more minerals than honey. It provides much more iron, calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium. Maple syrup also contains more sodium than honey.
- Honey does contain fluoride — beneficial to dental health — whereas maple syrup does not.
- Tablespoon per tablespoon, honey is sweeter than sugar, so you may need to reduce the amount you use if you’re substituting it in place of maple syrup.
- maple syrup tends to have a strong maple flavor.
What to expect from this sugar free jam
Let’s set the expectation here. The huge difference in sugar free jam to jam with sugar is the consistency. Jams that uses sugar have a more thick and jelly like consistency and almost transparent. Sugar free jams (without addition of pectin) are not as thick and jelly like, but it is thick enough for spreading on toast. Surprisingly, I actually like this texture and consistency better than thick jelly like jam. But anyway, just so you know what to expect. But do give it a try, maybe you will like it too.
How to make sugar free jam
There is really not much difference in making regular jam and sugar free jam. The main difference is in the replacement ingredient, maple syrup (or honey) instead of sugar, but in terms of the process it is the same. This is a small batch so cooking time is less (15 minutes) but you can easily make a big batch without much risk of affecting the result. The idea is just to replace the granulated sugar with substitute sweetener. It is as easy as putting all the ingredients in a pan and simmering them until the berries disintegrates and burst and the consistency becomes thick. The consistency will get even thicker as it cools.
What are the ingredients for a No Refined-Sugar Blueberry Jam?
- Blueberries – I like using fresh Blueberries when making jam, but frozen Blueberry can be used too. If you are using a frozen Blueberry, do not thaw. Use it as is, put it in the pan along with the other ingredients. The cooking time will be longer as to when using fresh, but the process is the same.
- Maple Syrup – This can be substituted with honey, you can decide which one to use, I had provided additional information and comparison between these two natural sweeteners. The most important thing to remember is that honey is sweeter than maple syrup, so do not use the same measurement.
- Salt – You can do away without this, but I like how the salt somehow balances the sweetness and tartness of Blueberry. I used fine salt, if you are using table salt or coarse granule salt, you may need more. Add gradually and adjust as needed.
- Tapioca Flour – This will help thicken the consistency of the jam, the more that you add the thicker it will be. Start with the suggested measurement, and if you like it even thicker you can add more. The important thing to remember is dilute the flour in water before pouring it in the mixture, this will avoid lumps. Tapioca flour is gluten free, if you do not care about being gluten free, you can replace this with cornstarch. It will do the same job and cornstarch is easier to find and most probably the one that you have. You need a thickener, I do not suggest skipping this.
- Lemon juice – Another optional ingredients, but I like the lemon flavor when mixed with Blueberry, it also add a balance to the sweetness of the jam.
Featured Video: How to Make Strawberry Sauce
- 1 cup fresh (approximately 175g) Blueberry (if using frozen, do NOT thaw)
- 3 tbsp Maple Syrup (Increase as needed if the Blueberry you are using is not sweet enough)
- 1/8 tsp Salt (I used fine salt, add more if using kosher salt)
- 1 tsp Tapioca Flour (can be substituted with cornstarch)
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice (optional)
- Wash the Blueberries and transfer in a pan. Add sugar, salt, tapioca flour and lemon juice (if using). Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until the blueberry becomes soft. Use a spoon to mash some of the blueberries, leave few whole pieces. The ideal consistency should thick but still slightly runny as it will solidify as it cools. The consistency is greatly affected on how ripe and how much juice comes out from the blueberries. It could be more or less 15minutes, but adjust as needed. If you want a thicker consistency, cook the sauce longer and add more tapioca flour.
- Storage: Set aside and let it cool completely. Store in an airtight container or mason jar and refrigerate. It could last about 7 – 10 days in the refrigerator
Makes about 125 ml (1 cup)
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