Strawberry Jam Recipe (Reduced Sugar and No Pectin)

by Kylie Foster December 01, 2019

Strawberry Jam Recipe - Reduced Sugar and No Pectin NZ

It's strawberry season here in NZ! This strawberry jam recipe doesn't contain pectin so it is more of a traditional style but with a lot less sugar. The reduced sugar allows the strawberry flavour to really shine. It's delicious!

Now is the perfect time to start making jams for the year ahead. Ask your local grower for second grade (jam grade) strawberries - these are perfect for jams, freezing and baking and will make your homemade strawberry jam a truly economical choice.

Makes: 6x half pint sized Ball mason jars (or 8 oz quilted crystal jelly jars by Ball) or 3x wide mouth pint sized Ball mason jars.


1.5kg strawberries (hulled)
750g sugar (I use raw golden sugar)
10g lemon zest (be sure to not include too much of the white pith)
80g lemon juice (approx. 1/3 cup - you'll need 2-3 lemons)

Reduced sugar and pectin free strawberry jam recipe NZ


  1. Clean the jars and lids in warm soapy water and place the jars in a low oven to keep warm.
  2. Fill your heat processing pot to approximately halfway and bring it up to the boil whilst you are preparing your jam.
  3. Wash and hull the strawberries. Remove any rotten pieces. Add to a large pot and mash to break them up a bit. This is your personal preference - I use a potato masher but you could use a stick blender if you prefer your jams smooth. 
  4. Add the sugar and mix through.
  5. Wash, zest and juice the lemons. Add to the pot and mix.
  6. Place over a low-medium heat and bring to the boil (with lid off), then reduce the heat and continue to simmer on a low boil. Stir occasionally to release any jam that starts sticking to the bottom.
  7. Continue simmering until you reach the setting point. I test this by taking a small amount of jam and placing it on a cold plate in the freezer. Once the jam sample has cooled, I run my finger through to assess whether it is thick enough. Continue heating if you are not happy with the thickness of the jam and check it again in a further 5-10 mins. With my set-up, it takes about 40 mins to get to a thickness I am happy with.
  8. Remove the foam that forms on the top of the jam.
  9. Using a jar funnel, fill your jars to 1cm (1/4") from the top. Place lids and bands on and screw to finger tight.
  10. Lower the sealed jars into the pot of boiling water. Ensure there is at least 2 cm of water above the jars. Once the water comes back to the boil, heat process for 15 mins then turn off the heat and leave in the hot water for a further 5 mins. Then remove the jars using a jar lifter and place on a folded up tea towel in a place where they will not be disturbed until cooled.
  11. Once cooled, remove the bands and check that the lids are sealed. Label and then store in a dark place for up to a year. Refrigerate once opened.

Recipe notes:

Sugar helps with food preservation by reducing water activity. With reduced sugar jams, it is important to heat process the jams after filling and sealing the jars. Sugar also helps with colour retention so you may notice that your vibrant jam colour changes slightly over time. 

The heat processing time provided is suitable for both the Ball pint and half pint (8oz) sized jars. It is also suitable for the 4oz, 8oz and 12oz quilted crystal jelly jars.

The jam will thicken on cooling but it is a runny jam just like your Nana would have made. Enjoy!

Traditional Strawberry Jam Recipe NZ

Kylie Foster
Kylie Foster


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