Strawberry Rhubarb Jam – Low Sugar Pectin

Here’s a strawberry rhubarb jam made with low sugar pectin. I love when jam tastes more like fruit than sugar and this jam does not disappoint.

strawberry rhubarb herb jam in container

Also read: Chia Strawberry Rhubarb Preserve, Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam, What to Do with Runny Jams or Jellies

Adding Herb Flavour to Your Jam

Get creative with your jam by adding herb flavour to your jam. I have found the best way to do this is by brewing a strong cup of herbal tea and using the tea instead of water in the jam. Since the amount of liquid added to jam is not much, your herbal tea has to be brewed strong and flavourful so the flavour comes through. I prefer using tea instead of actual herbs for more intense flavour and to avoid having pieces of herbs in my finished jam. Cooked herbs don’t look very attractive in jam!

When brewing your herbal tea you can use commercial tea bags or dried loose leaf tea. Just remember, brew it for strong, intense flavour.

You can also use fresh garden herbs, my preferred method in the summer when herbs are plentiful. I use about 1 to 11/2 cups roughly chopped fresh herbs for 1/2 cup of almost boiling water (ideal temp for steeping fresh herbs is just below boiling). Yup, that’s a lot of herbs for 1/2 cup of water – but remember we want as much flavour as possible, so brew it strong. My favourite herbs for jams are lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, mint, apple mint, basil, sage or even rosemary. Even with strongly brewed tea, the flavor is very subtle, so don’t worry about overpowering the fruit flavor.

ingredients
Strawberry rhubarb jam with lemon balm herbal tea.

In this jam, I used Bernardin’s No Sugar Needed Pectin. I like this pectin because I get to add as much sweetener as I like (way less than regular powdered pectin) and it gives easy, consistent results. Of course there are plenty of other alternative ways you can make a jam like this. For options see the chart on pectin varieties and read after the recipe for why I choose commercial pectin.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe

jars of jam
Print Recipe
4.24 from 13 votes

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Get creative with your jams! Make a classic strawberry rhubarb jam - or add herbs for additional flavour. Brew your favourite herbal tea - lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, etc. or use vanilla extract or citrus zest to flavor your jam.
Prep : 20 mins
Cook : 20 mins
Total Time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water or strongly brewed herbal tea optional
  • 3 cups diced rhubarb fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups chopped strawberries fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 package No Sugar Pectin

Instructions

Using Optional Herbal Tea

  • Brew a strong 1/2 cup of your favourite herbal tea. If using fresh garden herbs, use 1 to 1 1/2 cups of roughly chopped fresh herbs and steep in 1/2 cup boiling water for 5 minutes (eg. rosemary, basil, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint, lavender, etc.)

Prepare Jars & Lids

  • Wash and check jars for any cracks or chips. Tip: Always prepare at least one more jar than called for in a recipe.
  • Wash lids and rinse. According to the latest from Bernardin, lids do not need to be boiled or heated before using. Simply wash and set aside.
  • Place jars upright in pot and fill with water until completely covered. Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes. Keep jars hot until ready to fill.

Make Jam

  • In large pot combine rhubarb with 1/2 cup herbal tea or water and lemon juice; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is soft, about 6 minutes.
  • Add in strawberries. Stir and mash over medium heat until strawberries are desired size and texture. At this point, you should have about 4 cups of mixed fruit (pour out of pot and measure if your not sure). Top up with more strawberries, herbal tea or apple juice if needed.
  • Return fruit to heat. Mix in no sugar needed pectin stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Bring mixture to a full boil.
  • Add sugar. Return to a hard boil and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and remove any foam.
  • Pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving a 1/4”( 7mm) headspace.
  • Wipe rim with clean cloth and seal with sealing lid.
  • Screw band on top and tighten finger tight.
  • Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes. If you are at an altitude of 1000 feet or more, add 1 minute of processing time for each1000 feet of altitude.
  • Remove jars, cool undisturbed for 24 hours and check seal.

Notes

Yield 4-6 half pint (250 ml) jars
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: herbs, jam, strawberry rhubarb

jars of jam with some in dish

WHY USE COMMERCIAL PECTIN?

I often use commercial pectin products because it’s fast, easy and consistent.

Of course, you could make this jam without commercial pectin.  You would need to cook the fruit much longer, test for the gel set and use more sugar than in this particular recipe. My rhubarb ebook includes a recipe for rhubarb jam that does not require any commercial pectin. You could also try my strawberry rhubarb chia seed preserve as an alternative.

For foolproof, easy and convenient jam making, commercial pectin is the way to go – especially if you’re new to jam making. There’s nothing scary or bad about commercial pectin. It is typically made from natural compounds found in citrus fruit or apples.

In order to get pectin to create a nice set,  you need sugar, acid and heat. When using regular powdered pectin or liquid pectin you need a lot of sugar – usually more sugar than fruit. However, there are some commercial pectin products, like the No Sugar Needed Pectin by Bernardin in this recipe, that let you use much less sugar, sometimes even no sugar. These pectin products give you the ease and convenience of quick, consistent jam set without too much sugar.

No sugar pectin products often have added sugar in the ingredient list. So they’re not really “no sugar”, but they still allow me to add less sugar than regular pectin so I don’t mind. Some “no sugar pectin” include artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which personally, I’m not a fan of. READ ingredient lists carefully and make sure your comfortable with what’s in the box.

For truly no sugar options see the chart on pectin varieties.

Will you try adding herbal flavour to your jams? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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