Canning 101: Can I Reduce the Sugar?

February 19, 2015(updated on October 3, 2018)

3 cups sugar

Like so many of these Canning 101 posts, I’m writing this one to address one of the questions I am frequently asked. I’ve covered this topic as part of larger blog posts before, so if you’re a long-time reader, some of this may be familiar. But it felt like time to pull out this question specifically in the hopes of helping people find the information more easily.

So often, people look at one of my recipes and see the volume of sugar it calls for and have something of a heart attack thinking about all those cups. And so, they write in to ask, “can I safely reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe?”

The answer is that you can always safely reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe, because sugar doesn’t make things safe. The only thing that makes a jam, jelly or other sweet preserve safe for canning in a boiling water bath canner is the acid content, because that’s what prevents any potential botulism growth.

However, when you reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe, you can compromise that preserve’s shelf life, yield, and ability to set up.

Sugar is a powerful preservative, because once you have a certain concentration of sugar in a recipe, the sugar sucks up all the available water. Mold and bacteria need water in order to develop, and if there’s no water available, they cannot grow.

This is why preserves with higher amounts of sugar hold their quality longer than lower sugar preserves. As long as you’re okay with a somewhat decreased shelf life and a relatively short lifespan once the jar has been opened, then go ahead and reduce the sugar.

Things get a little trickier when you take set into account. Sugar has the ability to change physical consistency as you heat it. If you’ve ever made candy, you’ve seen how you get different outcomes the higher you allow the temperature of the cooking sugar to go.

When you make a sweet preserve, you boil the fruit and sugar together, cooking out the water and increasing the concentration of sugars (both natural and added) to the point where they can elevate in temperature to around 220 degrees F. That’s the point at which sugar starts to thicken into a gel and is then able to bond with the pectin (again, both the natural pectin in the fruit and any pectin you added) and that’s how your jams and jellies set up.

If you pull out a lot of the added sugar in a recipe that is depending on sugar to achieve set, the chances are good that the finished product may be forever runny (true story. As a kid, I thought all homemade jam was inherently runny, because my mom always reduced the sugar to the point where set could not be achieved).

You can often reduce the sugar a little bit, but if you do, you may need to cook it longer so that the proper concentration can be reached. That reduced sugar and longer cooking can end up reducing the yield by as much as a cup or two.

Now, if you’re working with Pomona’s Pectin or some other low/no sugar pectin, you can ignore everything I’ve said about set and yield, because those pectins use an entirely different paradigm in order to achieve set. But the advice about shelf life will still hold true.

One final word. Do not take this blog post to mean that I am advocating super high sugar preserves. My favorite ratio for basic jam is two parts fruit to one part sugar, which is actually a fairly conservative amount of sugar, when you look at the traditional jam recipe canon.

When I make smaller batches, I drop the sugar to a three parts fruit to one part sugar ratio, because smaller batches lend themselves to more rapid water evaporation and sugar concentration. And I’m currently writing a book about preserving with a half dozen natural sweeteners, so I am more than open to using a wide world of sweeteners. But I feel strongly that people understand why an ingredient is in place before they go and start changing things up.

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106 thoughts on "Canning 101: Can I Reduce the Sugar?"

  • Love how thoroughly you explain this! I feel like this is a question novice preservers constantly ask themselves, and it’s great to see it addressed. I also appreciate that you encourage some experimentation (at our risk, of course ;)). Can’t wait for the book of natural preserves!

  • Excellent Post, Thank you!! Answered a lot of questions for me, and I have been making jams since 1973.
    Didn’t say they always turned out perfect, though… 😉

  • Interesting. I knew it affected set but I didn’t think about the shelf life. I should have realized it as I know sugar has often been used as a preservative. Thanks for the 101 lessons.

  • Great post! I would love to hear more about preserving with honey. I have tons of it and I just started to try it in my jams and jellies (using honey and less sugar). It’s always very runny but the honey taste can’t be beat.

  • Excellent post, thanks! I usually prefer my jams and jellies less sweet, so I tend to use the two part fruit, one part sugar proportion, although the most recepies I see call for (almost) one to one.
    Still, I have two doubts:
    1) When you allow the batch to cook longer in order to increase sugar concentration, isn’t it the same as using more sugar and cook less? As the mixture cooks, water is lost and volume reduced, so the sugar per volume ends up the same and, therefore, the sweetness is equal.
    2) I don’t use artificial pectin in my recepies, meaning that the sugar amount is very important in the setting ability. Assuming that I’m using a fruit with medium pectin content, what would be the minimum sugar to allow it to set properly?
    Cheers from Brazil!

    1. I think you’re right about having the same sugar/volume ratio after the longer cooking process, but the fruit/sugar ratio is still higher, so I would expect that you would end up with a fruitier-tasting jam/jelly, even it’s just as sweet.

    2. 1. Yes and no. You may well end up with a similar level of sweetness, but you’re still going to need a baseline amount of cooking in order to elevate the sugar’s temperature.
      2. Unfortunately, there’s no formula I can offer here. You need to play around and see what works best, knowing that there’s always going to be some variation from batch to batch.

  • I cut back the sugar when I made crockpot peach butter (ultimately hot water processed!!). I was willing to trade off shelf-life (a year vs 5 years lol) because I wanted a less-sweet more versatile spread. For example, I schmeared some on pan-fried pork chops the other night — divine! I also added curry powder to one jar of it to be a meat glaze sometime this winter. No “set” to worry about with a butter, right?

    1. Exactly. Fruit butter becomes spreadable because you cook out the water and concentrate the fiber of the fruit. So as long as you’re okay with the shelf life trade-off, fruit butters can simply be sweetened to taste.

  • Great news! I thought the sugar was part of the safety. Now I know it’s not I can reduce the sugar in the crazy-sweet pickled beet recipe I have.

  • These are the kinds of posts I need! I didn’t grow up in the kitchen and have no kids, so haven’t a lot of experience cooking much of anything. What I don’t know or understand is if I veer off of a recipe, what do the changes I make effect. For example, I never liked any kind of gravy growing up, but now find I like it on taters and meat. So if in the process of making it there is too much flour or too much liquid, I don’t know what the effect of the changes are to figure out how to fix it and still have it edible. And I find the same issues in canning if I mess with the sugar content…so this post is really helpful to me. Thank you

  • I love the information you provide. I’ve made several of your recipes and bought both your books. I have a question if you have time; Can i freeze fresh lemon juice and use it later in canning recipes? Our lemons are ripe now, but we won’t be canning for a couple months.

    1. You can certainly freeze lemon juice for future use. Just remember that if you’re using lemon juice to balance the acid levels to make a recipe safe for canning, you want to use bottled lemon juice because of it’s consistent acidity. You should only be using fresh lemon juice for flavor balance.

  • SO PUMPED for the new book you’re working on! I love all of your recipes that have no sugar or are sweetened with honey. The new book sounds like a dream come true 🙂

    1. Yep, looking forward to the new book as well as I have diabetic friends and I like to sweeten with honey or other alternatives for their sake.

      1. Honey is a combination of fructose and sucrose…maybe worse in some ways than pure sucrose– and definitely neither good for diabetics!

  • So, Marissa, do you think one could maintain the 3:1 fruit:sugar in larger batches, too…..understanding that longer cooking time would clearly be needed for evaporation/thickening and “sugar concentration”. And is there any rule of thumb to suggest how much shelf life would be affected?

    Specifically, I have been tinkering with your pear cranberry jam recipe and have dropped the sugar considerably (14 C fruit [8C pear, 6C cranberry] + 3C sugar), upping the lemon juice and zest. Product cooks down and gives a very good set in ~45 min. Pleasingly tart. Haven’t tried this on any of your other recipes….yet, but was just wondering. Thanks.

    1. If you use a really large pan, where you have very little depth and a lot of surface area, you can use the 3:1 ratio for larger batches. I’ll often use a large roasting pan stretched out across two burners if I want to use less sugar in larger batches. In the case of the jam you’re playing with, know that cranberries have a TON of pectin and so are a fantastic addition if you want to reduce the sugar and still retain the set.

  • Yeah, I’m more than willing to trade-off shelf life, because I find even the 2:1 ration far too sweet for my palate most of the time. So Pomona’s it is, and I’ve had no problems so far.

  • I would love to see a post with your tips on using Pamona’s Pectin. I saw you in Maine this summer on your book tour and recall you mentioning how you achieve the cooked-sugar state using Pamona’s but for the life of me, I can’t remember how since the instructions call for adding the sugar (or other sweetener) to the pectin before adding to the fruit then cooking for only 1-2 minutes. It ends up tasting too raw to me. I’ve heard that cooking it longer can affect the set.

  • I had some good luck this summer with a technique that I got from Canning for a New Generation, where you bring fruit and (less) sugar to a boil; then take the fruit out with a big strainer/spoon and boil down the liquid left behind for 10 or 15 minutes to concentrate it; then put the fruit back in and boil again. The initial boil with sugar extracts a lot of water from the fruit; the boiling of just the liquid concentrates it without overcooking the fruit. I got good sets and a fresher fruit taste. I did this with strawberries and apricots, and I think with peaches. True, the shelf life/fridge life is not as long, but it’s a worthwhile trade off to me. (I’m pretty sure you discussed this technique at some point on this blog as well?)

  • I love your book Naturally Sweet Food in Jars! Thank you! I am wondering what sweetener I could substitute for the juice concentrates – would honey work equally well? Thank you.

    1. I didn’t test those recipes with any other sweeteners, so I can’t speak from experience here. You can try honey, but I just don’t know how well it work.

  • I made Oregon Grape and Crabapple Jellies yesterday and too sweet.
    Oregon Grape 5 juice 7 sugar would like to have it at 5 juice to 5 sugar do you think this is possible

    Crabapple was 5 c juice to 7 1/2 cup sugar would like to reduce to equal if they will set.

    Thank you in advance

  • Love this post. I’ve never preserved ANYthing before, but I’m inspired by -not only your clear instructions – but obvious knowledge of canning and preserving. Thanks also for the advice on lowering the sugar content. As I read the recipe, that was the very question running through my mind. Sadly, it’s almost the middle of winter here in New York, so my adventures in tomato jamming will have to be “preserved” until late summer;). Thanks for sharing your extensive experience!!

    1. It varies. There is no way to say for sure, other than it will be shorter than a preserve made with that 1 to 1 ratio.

  • Marisa, can I use “Sugar in the Raw” for canning? Can it be used in the same proportion as regular cane sugar? Thanks!

  • Thank you! Perfectly concise information about sugar and its “job” when canning. Exactly the info I needed!

  • Hi There!
    Thank You for this post.
    We grow our own Blackberries and Blueberries and when making jam I kept noticing that many recipes call for an enormous amount of sugar. When tasting I realized that it doesn’t take near that much sugar to sweeten the fruit to a delicious flavor. I wanted to make my jam using less sugar so I can distinguish the awesome fruit flavor but I began having problems with setting. I also wanted to cut out adding pectin as well. I am STILL experimenting with every batch and cannot seem to find that perfect point where the jam will set nicely without all of the sugar and pectin. I just feel that Great Great Grandmother probably didn’t use as much sugar and probably didn’t use pectin either. How did they do it?

    1. Actually, chances are good that your great-grandmother did use this much sugar. I’d suggest you look into some of my low sugar recipes.

  • I use a teeny amount of sugar in my wild blackberry jam (3 cups fruit to 3/4 cup sugar). I grate an apple in for added pectin and boil it pretty hard for 20 minutes. I find that once I’ve processed it it’s thickened up nicely – though not as much as with tons of sugar and pectin. But still spreadable on toast so I’m happy!

  • Am looking to using half the sugar, some honey and some stevia and pectin for low sugar recipes to make orange marmalade. Can I use xanthan gum to help thicken it?

  • Sugar is a preservative against many types of bacteria and fungus. A strong sugar solution will pull water out of a cell by osmosis thereby rendering it either dead or at least inactive.

    Having said that I have found that I can safely halve the sugar used to prepare my orange marmalade. Most recipes start with approximately equal weights of sugar and fruit. I halve the sugar, but use apple juice for the liquid rather than water. .It also adds a bit more pectin and can be used for virtually any jam.

    So simmer 6kg Oranges (whole) in enough apple juice to cover them (approx 2 litres) for 2 hours. Let them cool enough so that you can handle the fruit. Cut each orange in half and scoop out the pulp. Push it through a sieve. to remove the pips, Cut up the peel how you like it (coarse, medium, minced) and return the sieved pulp and peel to the liquid in which they were boiled. add 3kg of sugar and stir over heat until it is dissolved. Simmer / boil until the marmalade passes your favourite setting test. Put into sterilised jars and label. Store in a cool dark place.

    I’ve had jars that have kept for over 3 years and are perfectly edible.

  • I am very thankful for your recipe because I have been searching the internet for lower sugar solution and had a hunch that apple-juice might help provide the natural pectin.
    Could you clarify if I could use the store bought (100 percent) apple juice for your recipe or must I use freshly pressed apple juice?
    Thank you once again

  • Thank you. Need to try reducing sugar and you made it sound possible. Keep telling the “why” science!

  • Thank you, Thank You, Thank You. I have a culinary arts degree, but they don’t teach food chemistry 101. I am planning to make some tomato jam, as we have an overabundance of Sweet 100’s. I wanted to reduce the sugar, but had questions about how that would affect the viscosity of the jam. Your comments have given me exactly the info I needed!

  • I’m looking for a Prune Plum Rhubarb recipe with reduced sugar, and I do have some Pomonas in the house. I wonder about using some honey????as part of the reduced sugar?? I wonder about adding some ginger??

  • Our grandmothers and great grandmothers were tough as nails. They were not germaphobe or vegan or organic. They were exposed to bacteria and germs that modern people are not exposed to. They grew up playing in the dirt and didn’t wash their hands constantly. They didn’t worry about sugar substitutes or GMO or chemical pectins. They made jams and jellies to preserve fruits and berries for the winter months. They poured wax over their jams and jellies and stuck them on the pantry shelf. {They also scraped the mold off of them and ate them anyway} Was it safe? Probably not for us, maybe for them, as I said they were tough as nails. Was it healthy? Nothing about jam or jelly is healthy, it is sugar and fruit. It is meant as a treat, as an occasional snack. A little jelly on a buttered piece of toast or biscuit. There is no way to make jam and jelly “healthier” in my opinion. Sure you can leave out the pectin, you can use less sugar, or use “organic” ingredients, but in the end, it is still just fruit and sugar, it is still jelly and it’s a treat. Now with all that being said, do I use a little less sugar in my jams and jellies, yes, but not much less and only because I want to taste more of the fruit not because I think I can somehow make it healthier for me and my family. Do I use pectin? Absolutely, because I want it to set properly. Sure Jell has been around since 1934, it was what my grandmother used and it works. Do I water bath can all my jam, of course, I want it to be safe and have a longer shelf life. And I use bottled lemon juice, not fresh, so many have started using fresh assuming it is “healthier” even the recipes you get with the Sure Jell package call for fresh lemon juice but it is not safer, Maybe a healthier way to preserve fruit would be to dehydrate it or make fruit butters. My grandmother sprinkled fruit fresh on all her peaches and froze them. Then she used them to make cobblers and pies. Again, all things in moderation, she was a type 1 diabetic. Sugar is sugar, whether it be refined or not, honey or syrup, beet, cane or coconut. I’m glad that you are putting this information out there for people to understand what the role of sugar is in making jam and jelly. It’s important for people to know that sugar is part of jelly.

  • whats the shelf life on a reduced sugar ratio of 2-1 or 3-1 fruit to sugar ? is there a way to figure out the shelf life ?

    1. There’s no one formula to use to calculate shelf life. The more you reduce the sugar, the less time the jam will hold its color and flavor.

  • Can you explain the following. It sounds like a contradiction to me.

    “…because sugar doesn’t make things safe. The only thing that makes a jam, jelly or other sweet preserve safe for canning in a boiling water bath canner is the acid content, because that’s what prevents any potential botulism growth..

    However, when you reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe, you can compromise that preserve’s shelf life, yield, and ability to set up.

    Sugar is a powerful preservative, because once you have a certain concentration of sugar in a recipe, the sugar sucks up all the available water. Mold and bacteria need water in order to develop, and if there’s no water available, they cannot grow.

    1. There is a different between shelf life and absolutely safety. What’s more, the boiling water bath canning process kills off the microorganisms that would cause a product to mold or ferment. The one thing it can’t kill is botulism spores.

  • Made peach jam last night with “Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin.” The “proper” amount, according to Ball, of water, 8 c of peaches, the pectin, butter, and lemon juice, no sugar. made 8 half-pints. Taste test today: VERY tart, sort of bland. NOW I know what to do! Actually didn’t use sugar because it seemed easier. ;-(
    I couldn’t find any information on Ball’s website, only on Pomona’s, and they assured me I could just add sugar and get it to the boiling point again and reprocess them. BUT they didn’t say if I could use my lids again. Can I? And do you have any tips, please? Meanwhile, I want to thank you for having such an informative website!!

  • I want to can whole cranberry sauce. The recipe calls for 4 cups of sugar for 8 cups of cranberries. I was wondering if I could use 3 cups of sugar and reduce the amount of water.. I don’t like it sweet.
    I’m also not worried about how many jars I get out of the batch.

    1. It’s hard for me to give advice like this without having more of an idea about the recipe you’re using, but I imagine those changes should be okay. Cranberries are very acidic and sugar doesn’t play an active role in safety. I don’t know why you’d reduce the water, though.

  • I was so pleased to happen onto your site as I was just making some strawberry and grape jam and had decided on putting in less sugar. Then wondered if that was the right thing to do ahh!!!!!! Anyway, I asked Chef Google and she pointed to your site. You mentioned that you use 3 parts fruit and 1 part sugar and so I was relieved as that is what I had done. It was also a small batch.
    Long story, but thanks so much.
    Angie Robinson
    South Africa

    1. You can certainly add some salt to that recipe, though I don’t know that it is going to effectively cut the sweetness.

  • Have to disagree that jam is only for an occasional treat and not meant to be made healthy by reducing sugar.
    I have made the most incredible blueberry jam I’ve ever tasted in my life, and I am a complete novice, with fresh picked berries, lemon juice and very little sugar. Agreed, jam is traditionally sugar and fruit, but the American palate is way too reliant on products jacked up on sugar.
    There is no reason why a treat can’t be relatively healthy. When we reduce our consumption of inflammatory sugar, our palate is easily accustomed to less sweet flavors. The natural taste of the blueberries themselves is so amazing that, for me, adding too much sugar only takes away from the real taste of the berries. Not as firm? I don’t care.
    Love the sugar? Go for it. Hate the sugar? You really don’t need very much if your palate is accustomed to the natural taste of the berries themselves, which in the case of super fresh berries, is SO AMAZING! Find your own balance; cook for your own taste. It might not take a truck load of sugar.

    1. The officially definition of jam is a product that has at least 60% sugar. You can make lower sugar products, but they aren’t jam and won’t have the keeping properties of jam.

  • I’m wanting to use up a bunch of tomatoes from our garden and I’m focused on the fruit/sugar/lemon ratios for different fruit. When you speak of 2:1 or 3:1 for the fruit/sugar ratio, are you talking about volume (cups) or weight (pounds)? What’s the lemon juice portion?

    1. You can either use weight or volume, as long as you choose a single unit of measure for the recipe. There is no standard ratio of lemon juice.

  • Hello!

    Thanks for the writing. It gives me additional information to can jam. I would like to ask you, can we can jam without sugar and pectin? I am going to change pectin with a spoon of lemon juice to one jar of jam and to make it sweeter, I add honey after I put the jam into the jar. How do you think?

  • If I use a smaller amount of sugar, do I have to use pectin? The recipe I am using is two parts fruit to one part sugar, and no pectin. But I would like to use even less sugar, for health reasons and also because of the high price of groceries!

    1. If want to use less sugar and you want your finished product to be spreadable, you should look into Pomona’s Pectin. Sugar plays a vital role in creating the set, so if you reduce it without using a pectin designed for low sugar canning, chances are the finished product will be soupy rather than spreadable.

  • Hello Marisa, love your site and appreciate your real-life experience and suggestions. Regarding this post about reducing sugar, can I please impose upon you for some advice? I’m a long-time canner, but a strict recipe-follower due to fears about safety.

    I would love to use Pomona’s, it’s difficult to find where I live (I will keep looking). I do have access to Bernardin “No Sugar Needed Pectin”. The instructions are contradictory; it says no sugar should be needed, yet many of the recipes call for sugar (some say “optional”).

    I made jam for my elderly diabetic parents, and used the online recipe for “Josie’s Honeyed Marmajam with No Sugar Needed Pectin”. It calls for 3 cups strawberries, 2 cups rhubarb, 1 cup of apple juice, 2 tbs slivered orange zest, and 1 1/2 cups of sweetener (plus the pectin).

    I didn’t have orange, and I reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup. I followed the rest of the instructions to a tee. Jam set, looks beautiful and tastes wonderful.

    However, now I am afraid that either leaving out the sugar or omitting the zest affected the safety (or acidity?) of the jam. I have reached out to Bernardin multiple times, and have never received a response. I realize this is a huge imposition, but do you think it’s shelf stable? This post has given me hope for the sugar, but I don’t know about the zest. Thank you for your time (and helping me sleep at night 🙂

    1. The changes you made should be entirely safe. Sugar doesn’t make things safe, it only acts as a sweetener, set agent, and preservative. And given all the high acid ingredients already in that jam, the omission of the orange zest will not tip it into an unsafe zone. Have pleasant, untroubled sleep!

  • Thank you so much for this information. I just made 29 jars of various fig jams. I’m new to canning so I joined a canning web cite on Reddit. I had reduced the sugar on several batches because figs are so naturally sweet. A lady told me it is unsafe to change a recipe. One lady said you need a 50/50 fruit sugar ratio.

    1. Sugar doesn’t make something safe. It is a preservative, it sweetens, and it helps with set. It is safe to reduce.

  • So I made a bunch of peach butter and I added lemon juice to it and the cans before waterbath canning. I forgot to add sugar (which is probably why it came to a peach sauce and never got to a butter. I canned it for the 10min for a peach butter. Can I open them all dump them into a pot and reboil with sugar? Will these jars all be ruined? I did the canning probably a week or so ago. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t getting thicker and now realized I missed the whole step of adding sugar.

    1. You could open the jars and recan. Or you could just leave it as-is and sweeten it to taste each time you open a jar. You will lose some product if you open, reheat and recan.

  • Hi I think I understand for jam.
    I’m trying to make jelly from 100% organi c juice.
    The recipe calls for 7 cups of sugar for 7 8 ounce jars.
    Yikes that seems crazy.
    So it’s a cup of sugar per jar??
    I hope you get this.
    It’s Friday. ( guess you can see date)
    I did strain the juice, just in case.
    The jelly won’t be clear. Maybe I should have used juicy juice?
    Thanks for any help.
    Oh, does juice need to be room temp when adding it?
    Wait. Nevermind gonna boil either way ! Jerri Lynn

    1. I hope your jelly turned out okay. And jellies typically do have a great deal of sugar unless you’re using a low/no sugar pectin.

  • I accidentally used a 3/4 measure cup thinking it was a 1 cup. The recipe called for 6 cups of mashed peaches and 5 cups of sugar. With powdered pectin. My actual sugar turned out to be 3 3/4 cups.
    I used a water bath for 5 minutes (recipe instructions).
    Is it safe to open the jars and recook or better to leave it (I think it will be runny).?

    1. I’d leave it as-is. If you mess around with it, you’re going to have some product loss and there’s no guarantee that you’ll improve it.

  • What about when I make jelly? I made a chokecherry juice and the recipe called for 3.5 cups of juice, 1 package of pectin, and 4.5 cups of sugar! The juice wasn’t THAT sour…any thoughts about reducing the sugar in that scenario? Thanks!

  • Every year at the end of the growing season my grandmother always made ice green tomato pickles. They’re super sweet. Very crunchy takes a couple days to make them because of soaking them in the lime. Well with her passing the job has now become mine and I’ve been doing it for 40 years. But it calls for 11 cups of sugar 5 lb of sugar. Is there any way to reduce it? There’s no pectin or anything. It’s just green tomatoes and then the spices. Just wondering. Please help

    1. In a pickle like this one, the sugar plays a big role in the finished texture of the pickle. It might give you a subpar product if you reduce it.

  • 1. Pls advise whether I may preserve grapes solely in sugar, liken to grapes enzymes.
    2. Should i sharke the mason jar consistently ?
    3. should I uncap occsionally to let our air ?
    4. Also, how long should i preserve it in room temperature aound 26 degree celcius?

    awaits ur favourable reply.


  • you mention that. you are currently writing a book about preserving with a half dozen natural sweetener

    can you please give me the exact name of the book, if finished…i would like to pruchase

  • Hi from Aus. Thank you for this. I’m always confused by add sugar + pectin in Ball recipes. Previously I’ve just used jam sugar and lemon peel. Is that ok? If I use jam sugar do I also need pectin?
    I’m definitely going to read your safe creative canning !! and save your page.

    1. I get the confusion. Jam sugar has the pectin included in it. So you don’t need to add any additional pectin if that’s what you’re using.

  • Hi marissa,
    Please redacted this information immediately. High acid foods are good at staving off botulism, however it is absolutely not true that sugar has no impact on safety. Highly sugar sweetened foods are protected from microbe formation and propagation due to its tendency to dehydrate microbes and interfere with enzymes in the organism.

    1. The concentrations of sugar that we are typically dealing with in canning are not high enough to prevent botulism. My information stands as written.

  • When you need 8 cups strawberries which then comes to 5 cups crushed strawberries with 7 cups of sugar (ridiculous) Can you lessen the sugar if you add lemon juice to give it it’s acidity to thicken or set the jam.
    If possible can you lessen the sugar by 2.3 cups and add lemon juice like maybe 1 cup. That still puts almost 5 cups sugar in the recipe (still ridiculous)
    Does this make any sense ?

    1. It all depends on the recipe you’re using. There are lots of good lower sugar recipes available, including many on this site.

  • Greetings
    Yesterday I cooked up 3 batches of blackberry jelly.
    First batch; 4cups juice & 4cups sugar plus some lemon.
    Second batch: 4cups juice & 2cups sugar plus lemon and a tbs of butter
    Third batch: 4cups juice plus pulp & 2cups sugar plus lemon and butter

    When I finished capping etc, I put them in boiling water bath for 10 min
    Before this the jelly seemed to be thickened but after the water they have not thickened, this is after 12 hours later, still not thick.

    I did keep some jelly without water bath and it seems thicker than the ones in the jars.

    Question, do you think it will thicken up? Did the water bath break down the chemistry to thicken?

    1. The water bath does not impact the set. Please give it a few more days, as jellies often need a little time to achieve set.

  • What about chili pepper jelly? . The peppers don’t have pectin like most fruit does. I’d like to cut down the amount of sugar in my recipe. We use a handful of hot peppers, maybe 8-10 pulsed in a food processor to 8 cups of sugar to make 9 pint jars. Would we lose the thickening. I use certo liquid pectin.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this information. I’m not new to jelly and jams. I don’t normally mess with a recipe. This year the strawberries have been extra sweet. I don’t use pectin in this jam.
    I am going to maybe use a cup less sugar. Wish me luck lol. Your information made me realize, not everyone knows things as much as you think.
    People will down right scare you. Thanks again

  • Thank you, very informative. Have canned for 50+ years but was wondering now that jello recipes are out withsugar and sugar free jello.