Honey Sweetened Raspberry Preserves

July 10, 2014(updated on August 30, 2021)

glowing berries

When I was in Portland a few weeks back, I spent a morning at the Beaverton Farmers Market with Kate Payne. We did side-by-side demos, signed books, and greeted all the nice folks who stopped by to see what we were doing with carrots (her) and strawberries (me).

By the time we finished, the market was starting to close down for the day. Kate dashed off to buy some Hood strawberries for her next demo, while I went off in search of one of the half flats of raspberries I’d seen walking by our table.

raspberry pulp

After just a little bit of wandering, I found the raspberries I was looking for. They’d been out in the heat for hours so were starting to look a tiny bit soft. The woman working the stand, pulled six of the best looking pints that she could find for me and fitted them snugly into the cardboard half flat. Then, she took two more pints and scattered them over top. She gave me a wink and said, “End of the day special.”

finished jam

I ate at least a pint on the drive home (all of 25 minutes) and my parents helped polish off a second pint within the afternoon. The rest were destined for preserving. My mom and I gently tumbled each pint out onto a dinner plate and sorted through, separating out any berries that seemed to have started to go truly bad from the ones that could go into the cooking pot (we also pulled a few of the fresher looking ones to save for breakfast the next day).

processing jam

We collected the berries in a roomy 4-cup measuring cup, occasionally mashing the fruit down with a fork in order to make room for more. When we were finished, we’d filled the measuring cup to the brim and still had a scant pint that were sturdy enough to last the night in the fridge.

finished raspberry jam

I combined the berries with two cups of local honey and a goodly amount of lemon zest and juice in my mom’s widest pan and brought it all to an active boil. Stirring regularly, it took about half an hour to cook down and thicken (had I had some Pomona’s Pectin on hand, I may have spiked it with a bit to encourage a thicker set in less time).

When it was done, I had three half pints and one full pint of lovely, bright, honey sweetened raspberry preserves (I’m not calling it jam, because it ended up with a fairly soft set and I want to establish the correct expectations). Hooray for Oregon berries!

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Honey Sweetened Raspberry Preserves


  • 5 cups smashed raspberries
  • 2 cups honey choose something with a light flavor so that it doesn't compete with the berries
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and five half pint jars.
  • In a low, wide pan, combine the raspberries, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Place over hight heat and bring to a boil.
  • Cook at an active boil for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until the fruit thickens. This preserve is never going to be as thick as jam made with pectin, but it should develop a soft set.
  • When the fruit has thickened to your liking, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Funnel preserves into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  • When time is up, remove jars from canner and set them on a wooden cutting board or folded kitchen towel to cool.
  • Once they are cool enough to handle, test lids to ensure that jars have sealed. The lids will be concave and will be firm when pressed if seals are good.
  • Sealed jars are shelf stable up to one year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

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29 thoughts on "Honey Sweetened Raspberry Preserves"

  • This looks delicious! I just started my journey into hot water bath canning last weekend, and made your honey-sweetened peach chutney. It was so fun, and successful! I also did strawberry jam and peach jam from the low sugar sure-jell recipe. I saw you say once that you generally do a 2:1 fruit:sugar ratio for small batches—what ratio do you use for honey sweetened batches? Also, how much Pomona’s pectin do you use in these smaller batches? I would love to be able to transition into smaller batches, using up my produce as needed, and I prefer honey-sweetened recipes. Thank you, and I look forward to continuing to explore your awesome blog!

    1. Kayla, I don’t know if you’ve used Pomona’s before, but the instructions are written as a ratio. They base off 4 cups fruit, and tell you how much calcium water and pectin to add for that amount. I’ve been using it almost exclusively since I started canning, because I liked being able to adjust for what I have and play around. I just math it out – if 2 c, half the amounts called for, if making mixed fruit using fruit from two different “rows” (different calcium/pectin requirements) I just add what I would need for each individial component (eg, calculate for 2 cups strawberries and 2 cups peaches, then add those amounts together). In general, it does have a fairly firm set. You can use pretty much any sweetener with it, since it uses the calcium water not sugar for the set.

      1. Thanks for this info, Liz! I haven’t used it before, but this is exactly what I’m looking for. I want to be able to just can as I please and not have to add 5 cups of sugar 🙂

  • YAY! Oh man, do I ever wish that we got those kind of deals on raspberries at our farmer’s market! As it is, the raspberries usually sell out by 10:30 or 11 am. Strawberries, though — those flats are everywhere. 🙂

    1. It’s early, but I got good prices at Meijers. Blackberries 11 pints for $10. Strawberries were 2 lbs for $5, but there was an mperks.meijer.com coupon for $10 off a $75 store purchase. It brought my costs down. I love the honey recipes. I doubt that I would go back to sugar. 🙂

  • Hooray indeed! Every summer I miss Oregon – it’s been four years since I moved to Texas, but the OR berries can’t be beat 🙂

  • Your site has encouraged me to start small-batch canning and I’m having so much fun! I’m wondering why I found canning intimidating before.

    The Pomona’s recipe says there’s no need for lemon juice for raspberries or strawberries, but I noticed that many recipes, like yours here, call for it. I asked an experienced home canner about this and she said for those fruits, she understood that the lemon juice is for retaining color (and, I imagine, brightness of flavor). Will you weigh in on this? I have quite a few jars already preserved and now I’m wondering if I should have used more lemon juice. Thanks so much.

    1. In this recipe (and most of my berry jams), I use the lemon juice for flavor. I find that when you use less sweetener, you need something to brighten the overall taste of the preserve and nothing does that like lemon. It’s not about safety, it’s simply about making the best tasting jam possible.

      1. Super. I’ll up the lemon content and play around with the flavor. I’m lucky enough to be in the Northwest, in the middle of the bounty you talk about in this post. So glad you had your Oregon berry fix. Many thanks again.

  • Done! We picked a packed quart of raspberries yesterday and I’ve had about 1.5 pints or so of strawberries sitting in sugar (than has since turned into strawberry syrup for a while now). I added less honey since my strawberries already had about a cup of sugar on them. But now I have a honey (&sugar) sweetened raspberry-strawberry preserve as my first jars of the season. Yum! I canned every last drop of jam but I think I’ll have to open one right away anyway.

  • This sounds lovely and so easy. I have never tried canning, but this sounds so delicious I think I will try it when I find some nice raspberries.

  • I used to shop in Beaverton quite a bit, and the Saturday farmer’s market in Hillsboro, where we lived. The berries there were just unbelievable, and the garden I was able to have supplied many more families than just ours. What I wouldn’t give for some Oregon soil here where I live now!

  • Could I put up my raspberries (and some of the 10 lbs of blueberries I picked this morning) as is — with no sugar and no lemon? I’d like to use these later in the year in recipes and not have to calculate how much sugar is already in them.

    1. The only way to do that is by freezing. There’s no way to preserve them without sugar or lemon juice and have them keep their quality for an extended period of time.

  • Hi Marisa,

    Great talk last night at Plymouth Meeting and even better jam. Thanks for taking the time to answer all the questions, learned some new things that I definitely will be using in my canning days to come. I too love using silicone utensils in the kitchen and great advice about the trivet.

  • Thanks for the inspiration! I took 6 half pints of raspberries (approximately 6 cups) to 2 cups of honey. I then boiled hard for probably about 15 minutes and that resulted in a good set for me. I thought it would be runnier (which would be fine too) but it got a good set. This was my first time trying it with honey and it was definitely a success!

  • Marisa,
    I made this jam and used more raspberries than the recipe called for (about a pint more since I had them). The result is so tart no one likes it, including me. Is there something I can add so these preserves can be used, for example, as marinade? I have searched for some ideas and chili powder keeps coming up as a possibility. I’ve also seen some recipes that call for curry and raspberry preserves
    What do your think?

  • Love reading this and thank you for sharing. I would like to try canning and thinking of starting with this recipe. Would you think it is possible to do it with frozen raspberry? If so, any tips that you think would be important for me to take note of? I am hoping it will spread well on toast.

    Thank you for sharing once again!

    Singapore 🙂

  • I was wondering what you are using at the bottom of your water bath, what the jars are sitting on?

    I’m just finding the rack that I have clumsy and was thinking I could just put something on the bottom, I know I could tie some rings together, but just noticed your photo and wondered 🙂


  • Just made this jam with raspberries from my yard and strawberry honey (its very light in flavor and sweet with a hint of fruitiness) and it came out delicious. Very excited about the honey sweetened recipes!

  • I make my own apple pectin from wold crab apples. Jam/Jellis set beautifully. The nice thing is, your not limited on how big the batch is. 4 cups berries…1 cup pectin.
    I’m excited to experiment with honey as the sweetner. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • I tried this recipe this week and I came back to the site to add my two bits worth of advice to those who would like the jam to set a bit more. I like runny jam, too, but I think it goes a bit further if it is set. So… I peeled an organic apple, chopped that peel, and blended it with a bit of the jam mixture from the stove before stirring it back into the mixture. The jam set perfectly, without any commercial pectin! Love it.