Blackberry jam is insanely easy to make, mostly because it already contains a lot of pectin, so it sets quickly and reliably. Most blackberry jam recipes (and other fruit jams) require equal parts fruit and sugar, which produces a cloyingly sweet jam that’s really more like candy and the fruit flavor is lost behind the deeply, intensely unpleasant sweetness.
But with my no sugar blackberry jam recipe, you can really taste the fruit, and, because I add a little honey to the mix, it’s beautifully sweet without being sickly and retains that natural blackberry flavor that captures the taste of summer and fall so well. And the inclusion of lemon juice helps to bring out the flavor of the berries and cuts a little of the honey’s sweetness.
Now, it’s true that without the huge amount of sugar, you get less yield from your jam, but blackberries grow wild and free everywhere. So what’s stopping you foraging them?
We do. We forage a lot.
Yes, we have some growing on the property too, but we also forage blackberries every year. You can never have too many. They freeze well so you can make a batch of no sugar, no pectin blackberry jam, or perhaps a delicious blackberry and apple cake whenever you feel like it.
Blackberries are easy to harvest and easily identifiable, so they’re a great foraging option for everyone. Just make sure you pick your berries away from the roadside so you’re not eating berries that have a heavy burden of chemicals. We, for example, have a few little secret spots that we walk to in out-of-the-way locations that are nowhere near a road and that few other people know about.
So reducing yield by reducing sugar load isn’t really a problem – in fact, it saves you money because you don’t have to pay for the sugar – you just need to spend a bit more time foraging berries.
I also bulk out this recipe with a grated apple. It adds another layer of natural sweetness and increases yield a little. But this is optional.
How to Make Blackberry Jam Without Sugar or Pectin
Easy blackberry jam with no sugar or pectin really just involves cooking down four ingredients (yes, this is just a 4-ingredient blackberry jam recipe) on the stove until the jam is ready to gel. You can even skip the honey, apple, and lemon juice and go for a one-ingredient jam recipe, but I personally like the little extra sweetness and flavor kick you get from them.
Start by adding the blackberries, grated apple, lemon juice, and honey to a heavy-bottom jam pan. I use this one, as it has a good, thick bottom, wide base, and a very convenient spout and secondary handle that makes pouring so much easier!
You can give the berries a little help by lightly mashing them with a potato masher to get them started. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the mixture come to a boil. But keep a close watch on it. Blackberry jam foams a lot, so you’ll need to watch the pan closely. And, whenever the foam rises, stir it down.
To help control the overly enthusiastic foaming, you can add a tiny bit of butter – about 1/2 teaspoon. Yes, even if you’re planning to can the jam for long-term preservation. Don’t believe me? Check out the National Center for Food Preservation – they tell you that you can add some butter to reduce foaming, but that it might cause an unpleasant/off-flavor in long-term storage.
So do I add butter to my blackberry jam? No. While my jams don’t usually hang around long enough for a rancid butter flavor to be a concern, I don’t see the need. Plus, even though I do usually make large batches with the intention of storing them long-term – I just usually end up gifting too many or the family gobbles it all up too fast.
But I’m going to be keeping a close watch on the pan anyway, because I want to make sure I stir regularly to prevent it burning. So I might as well just stir down the foam and not add butter and risk ruining the flavor.
As the jam approaches the gelling stage, the foam will reduce, but you’ll still need to keep stirring it to prevent it burning and sticking to the bottom of your pan. When the foam does begin to subside, it’s a good idea to turn down the heat a bit, too. The jam will still keep cooking but will be less likely to stick and ruin your pan and all your effort so far.
You’ll see the consistency of your jam change. It’ll get thicker and look glossier. And at that point, you should do the set test. Get a small plate out of the freezer, place a teaspoon of the hot jam mixture onto the plate and see if it sets after a minute or two. If it does, awesome – your jam is ready. If it doesn’t set, then you need to cook the jam for longer. Put the plate back in the freezer, keep simmering your jam, and retry in 10 minutes.
Once it is gelling, then you can take the pan off the heat and decant the jam into clean canning jars, leaving approximately 1/4-inch headspace. Then process the filled jars in a water bath canner for five minutes.
Keep reading to get the full, printable recipe with quantities and more detailed instructions.
Easy Blackberry Jam Flavor Variations
You can easily change up the flavor of your blackberry jam by adding a few extra ingredients, without having to worry about how it impacts the long-term storage of the jam. Blackberry jan has lots of acidity and natural sugar, making it safe for home canning, even if you adjust the flavor profile. Spice your jam with ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg for rich, earthy spiciness that tastes like Christmas. Reduce sweetness by cutting back on the honey or adding extra lemon juice.
You can even substitute sugar for honey is you really must have sugar in your jam. But you still don’t need to go mad with the sugar. To keep this as a low sugar blackberry jam, I’d only add one third more sugar than the amount of honey you’re switching out.
- 5 cups blackberries
- 1 apple, grated
- 2 cups of honey (you can cut this down to 1 cup depending on how sweet you want your jam)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Put a couple of small plates in the freezer in preparation for the gel test.
- Put all your ingredients in your jam pan. Make sure you leave at least 3 inches of headspace in your jam pan to allow for the foaming that I mentioned. Mash the berries in the pan lightly with a potato masher
- Set the heat to medium-low and bring the pan to a simmer.
- Simmer the blackberry jam for at least 30 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking, burning, and foaming. Turn the heat to low as the foam starts to reduce. Note that cooking time will depend on all kinds of variables - the weather, how cold the pot was when you added your ingredients, how much honey you used, your particular stove.
- Once you see the jam start to thicken and take on a glossy look, take one of the plates out of the freezer, place a teaspoon of jam on it and wait a minute or two. If the jam gels on the plate, it's ready. If it doesn't gel, you need to cook it longer. Repeat the gel test every 5 - 10 minutes.
- If your jam passes the gel test, you can decant it into prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space.
- For long-term storage, process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- For immediate use, just store the jam in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least 2 weeks.
You can very easily multiply this recipe to produce more jars at once. But remember that extra-large batches of jam sometimes have problems with consistency and gelling. Plus, you need to leave at least three inches of headspace in the jam pan to allow for foaming, so be mindful of those factors when you're multiplying this blackberry jam recipe.
Choose a green variety of apple or a crab apple, as these varieties have higher pectin content and will help with gelling.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 39Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g
Wrapping up the Best EVER Blackberry Jam Recipe
You can see just how easy it is to make blackberry jam with no sugar and no pectin. It’s simple and tastes fantastic. And, if you pretty up the jars a little bit, they make amazing, low-cost homemade, eco-friendly, healthy gifts, too. The fruit is readily available in late summer and fall – it’s all around you, ready to forage. Forage and wash the blackberries, and make some easy, tasty jam that’s 100% natural. There are endless variations you can make to tailor the recipe to your taste, and you can can it for long-term storage or just leave it in the fridge if you plan to eat it in a few weeks. And, if this gets you in the jammy mood, check out this collection of over 100 jams, jellies, and marmalade recipes!
How many calories in blackberry jam?
In this no pectin, no sugar blackberry jam, there’s approximately 39 calories per serving, based on a serving size of one tablespoon. Just remember that calorie content depends on what you add to the recipe.
Does this jam need sugar to set?
No. Blackberries are high in pectin and sugars naturally, so there’s no need for you to add more refined sugar or store-bought pectin to set the jam. This blackberry jam recipe also contains lemon juice and grated apple for additional natural pectin. Sugar is mainly added for extra sweetness and to increase the yield. But it’s not necessary, particualrly in a recipe like this.
Is blackberry jam healthy?
I can’t speak to other blackberry jam recipes, but I can confidently say that my blackberry jam recipe is comparatively healthy. It’s 100% natural, contains no fillers, sugars, or additives, and uses only fruit and honey.
How do you preserve homemade blackberry jam?
It will keep sealed in the refrigerator for 2 months. Once the seal is broken, it’ll last another 2 weeks. If you want to preserve the jam long-term, process the filled jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Is no sugar blackberry jam safe for canning?
Yes! Blackberries contain plenty of natural sugars and acid to make them safe for canning without extra sugar. Plus, this recipe increases the acidity and natural sugar content with the addition of honey and lemon juice.
Why won’t my blackberry jam gel?
Because it isn’t cooked enough yet. If you’ve followed this recipe and your jam still isn’t gelling, then it hasn’t cooked for long enough yet. Keep simmering it and retest with the frozen plate test described in the instructions.