DIY: 5 Minute Jam (Sugar-Free)

Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent  hunched over a bubbling cauldron of sticky sweet strawberry syrup. When I was a kid I used to spend every summer with my grandparents in Prince Edward Island and once each year we’d all make a special trip out to the u-pick strawberry fields. I was always given the task of actually gathering baskets upon baskets of berries (which I relished since it meant I could save and eat fruit at about a 1:1 ratio). Then we’d all return home and I’d spend the rest of the afternoon assisting my grandmother as she sterilized mason jars, measured out ingredients and meticulously scooped off bubbles of pectin from the simmering pot.

Well I am in the city now. Its still months away from strawberry season. And I hardly have 5 minutes to cook dinner let alone 5 hours to make one measely preserve. But that didn’t stop me from creating my own take on homemade jam: bafflingly simple, naturally sweet and guaranteed to make you smile.


  • 5 dried figs (stems removed)
  • 1 pitted medjool date (or 2-3 smaller honey dates)
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 cup of water
  • a few drops almond extract (optional but delicious)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

1) Tear dried fruit into smallish pieces and add it along with berries and water to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave fruit and water on high for approximately 2 minutes until figs feel soft and berries have thawed.**

2) Scoop out berries, dried fruit and approx 1/4 of the liquid into a food processor. Pulse until smooth adding more of the liquid as needed. Once your mixture has reached the consistency of a sticky paste, add in the cinnamon and extracts. Pulse again until combined.

**I do this mainly for speed but for a raw version, skip the microwave and soak ingredients overnight.

Makes about 3/4-1 cup of fresh jam. Store in a small glass jar in the fridge for about a week. Adding a little lemon juice will preserve it a little and increase its staying power but you may need to compensate by adding an extra date for sweetness.

Compare this jam to classic Smuckers after the jump.

DIY for the WIN: 

Classic Smuckers  Jam                                Healthy Hipster Version                       

Leave a comment


  1. actorsdiet

     /  May 19, 2011

    wow look at that jam! i actually have a lot of jam in my house right now that i’m trying to use up so it’ll be a while before i make a homemade version, but this is pretty darn cool!

    • Yes, I also hate wasting food or buying new stuff before I’m out of the old! Part of being on a tight budget I think 😉

      But definitely give it a try when you start runnin low on the sticky sweet stuff, I’d love to hear what you think!

  2. This looks perfect! I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for the link!

  3. JuliaRad

     /  May 24, 2011

    This sounds so good, I’ll defineately try it! I am a little bit addicted to snacking on spoonfuls of jam from the jar 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: