Amish Christmas Jam: A Low Sugar Adaptation

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Christmas Jam is a low-sugar cooked jam made with Pomona’s Pectin. Pomona’s Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener.

christmas jam

Photo Credit: Nancy O’Neal

This recipe, originally an Amish recipe, was adapted from one sent to Connie Sumberg at Pomona’s Pectin by Nancy O’Neal of Bedford, Virginia. The original recipe used liquid pectin and a large amount of sugar. Nancy wanted to use Pomona’s and less sugar. Connie, of Pomona’s Pectin, adapted it for her.

Nancy has now made it with Pomona’s Pectin and said, “My sneak taste was wonderful! Used two cups of sugar! Makes a great jam for toast as well as a topping for cheesecake or cream cheese and crackers.”

Christmas Jam

Yield: 4-5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Wondering what calcium water is? Calcium water is a solution of the monocalcium phosphate powder (food-grade rock mineral source) that comes in its own packet with every purchase of Pomona’s Pectin. The Pomona’s Pectin directions tell you how to make calcium water with the calcium powder. Pomona’s Pectin recipes call for calcium water because the pectin is activated by calcium, not by sugar. You can read more about calcium water here.

Pomonas_Universal_PectinIngredients:

  • 3 cups whole cranberries
  • 1 orange; peeled, seeded, and sections separated
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, from the above orange
  • 2 cups frozen, slightly thawed, sliced strawberries
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder

Christmas Jam Directions:

  1. Wash jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan; cover and heat to a low boil. Turn off heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to use.
  2. Rinse cranberries and combine cranberries and orange sections in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  3. Add strawberries, orange zest, cloves, and cinnamon. Process until finely chopped, but not pureed.
  4. Put processed fruit mixture into sauce pan.
  5. Cook mixture for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.
  6. Add calcium water, and mix well.
  7. Measure 1 cup sugar into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into sugar. Set aside.
  8. Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin.
  9. Add remaining 1 cup sugar once pectin is dissolved. Stir well and return to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat. Skim off any foam.
  10. Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals; lids should be sucked down.

Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.

23 Comments

  1. ColleenB.~Texas
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Being I don’t do Facebook I’m not able to enter the giveaway, but thanks for the Christmas Jam recipe

  2. Monique
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    What’s calcium water?

    • Posted January 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      The calcium water is what activates the pectin. In each Pomona’s box, there is a little envelope of pectin and of calcium powder. The instructions on how to make/store and use it are on the pamphlet that is included.

  3. Posted December 9, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    This sounds so good. Wodering if I can use sugar substitute instead of real sugar? i would really like to try this. Thanks

    • Lisa
      Posted December 10, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Yes, Carol! Pomona’s Pectin will work with sugar substitutes – since the pectin doesn’t rely on the sugar to play a part in the way it sets.

      • Posted December 10, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Hi Lisa and Carol,
        Sugar substitutes that measure like sugar can easily be used to replace the sugar in any Pomona’s recipe.

  4. Bob Morris
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know this also. Could stevie powder be used instead of the sugar, or maybe in place of half of it?

    • Posted December 10, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Yes, Bob! According to the package pamphlet, you could use Stevia in a cup-for-cup substitution for sugar.

      • Posted December 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Hi Bob and Lisa,
        If you’re using stevia concentrate, rather than cup-for-cup stevia, it would be fine to stir the pectin into the 1 cup of sugar as the directions say, and then once the pectin is dissolved and jam brought back to a boil, taste and add whatever amount of stevia concentrate you’d like.

        If you want to use all stevia concentrate, you would follow the directions for making liquid pectin on the back side of the directions that come with Pomona’s Pectin, pink square, upper left corner.

        I hope this helps. Happy Holidays & Happy Jamming from Pomona’s Pectin!

  5. Andrea Holldorf
    Posted December 10, 2015 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    jelly is one thing I love making. This one sounds great

  6. Posted December 12, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Would love to make this with regular pectin and sugar. How can I do this. Thank you

  7. Felicia Dobbs
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Can I use this recipe to make freezer jam?

  8. Posted December 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    What is calcium water? Never heard of it before reading this receipe.

  9. Cresta
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    I made this to give as gifts at Christmas, and it was wonderful! Everyone raved about the jam. Thank you for sharing such a great recipe!

    • Posted January 24, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      So glad that you liked it, Cresta! We’re grateful for the gracious folks at Pomona’s for developing the recipe and allowing us to share it!

  10. Kristin
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Any recommendation on a strawberry substitute? Would raspberries work? We have a family member that is allergic to strawberries (sniff). Thank you!

    • Posted October 11, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kristin, I believe that raspberries would be safe, however, you may see variation in texture. We’d suggest a trial batch to see how the flavors flesh out. If you have red raspberries, you should be able to keep some of the festive red color. If you try it, we’d love to know how it turns out for you!

  11. Sharon White
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! It sounds delicious!! Can’t wait to try it.

  12. Nancy
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Is there a way to make this jam with regular pectin and sugar? I realize it would no longer be “low sugar”, but that would be fine with me.

    • Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Hello Nancy, Yes, you could try it with regular pectin and sugar, however, this recipe was designed around Pomona’s, so you may need to do some test batches. You can also use sugar with the Pomona’s. I’d recommend referring to the pamphlet that comes in the packet of pectin as it has recommendations on adjusting sugar levels.

  13. MimiG
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Is there something I can use in place of the cloves – I do not care for that spice.
    Thank you – this really sounds delicious.

    • Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Hello Mimi, Since the cloves are only present in the recipe for flavoring, you can omit them entirely if you’d like. It’s part of what makes it a “Christmasy” jam, but the cinnamon could certainly impart a good deal of flavor, and it’s important that you like it!:-) You can adjust the strength of flavor for whichever spices you do like, by using less initially, but also by allowing them to hang out in your jam pot for a shorter length of time.

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