Low-Sugar Jams


best low sugar jam review

The Best Low-Sugar Jams


Do you know who invented peanut butter and jam sandwiches?   I don’t.  Google doesn’t know either, but I bet that it was invented by a grown man....one whose mother didn’t cook him dinner one night.  What I do know is that 96% of people put the peanut butter on first.  Who studies this stuff?


best low sugar jam reviewWhile both peanut butter and jam are amazing on their own, it only makes sense that the peanut butter would go on first.  It’s like the anchor…the meat of the sandwich.  But it’s the jam that makes the sandwich a superstar…making it a meal and dessert all in one sitting.  It’s the next best thing to turkey dinner!

I’m not kidding when I say “dessert”.  One little tablespoon of jam has about 12 grams of sugar!  Sugar is 12 grams of sugar per tablespoon.   Gulp.

This is why I learned to make my own low sugar stevia jam.  This way, I don’t have to think twice about having a big spoonful.

Now, I realize that not everyone makes their own jam, and I'll probably run out of mine before next June, so are there any lower sugar jam options available?


First….Is it a Jam, Jelly…or a Fruit Spread?


Have you ever wondered what differentiates between different types of fruit spreads? (FDA source)

  • Jelly is  juice which is jelled.  It must contain at least 65 percent sugar and must be made with fruit juices or concentrates. 
  • Jams and Preserves are crushed cooked fruit with added sugar.  Preserves have more chunks.  The terms are interchangeable and both must contain at least 55 percent sugar. 
  • Fruit Spread is mostly fruit with alternative sweeteners or fruit juice concentrates. 
  • Fruit Butter is made from fruit, slowly cooked down with sugar, until it’s smooth. 
  • Marmalade is simply a “jelly” with citrus peel and fruit pulp. 


Let’s see what’s in your typical jam:

Smuckers Pure Strawberry Jam
50 calories per tablespoon
11 grams of sugar per tablespoon
Ingredients: STRAWBERRIES, SUGAR, GLUCOSE, GLUCOSE-FRUCTOSE, PECTIN, CITRIC ACID

Smucker’s No Sugar Added Strawberry Jam
20 calories per tablespoon
5 grams of sugar per tablespoon.
Ingredients : STRAWBERRIES, CONCENTRATED WHITE GRAPE JUICE, WATER, PECTIN, GUAR GUM, CITRIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SUCRALOSE, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, COLOUR

I don’t know about you, but the “pure” jam..is pure sugar!  Whereas, the second jam is just full of yuck!


Lower Sugar Jams & Fruit spreads


Many no-sugar-added jams are “fruit juice sweetened”.  Is it really better for you?  Juice is boiled down until it’s a syrup containing about 70 percent sugar.  In the end, fruit juice concentrate is really just sugar.

At the grocery store you’ll also find E.D. Smith “More Fruit” Jam and Smucker’s Double Fruit.  They have 6 – 8 grams of sugar, and like most grocery stor they both have a lot of extra ingredients like thickeners. With so many great choices, why would anyone settle for that.

Thankfully, in the past few months, I’ve come across some lower-sugar fruit spreads with simple ingredients.  Most are still to high for my liking, but they could be an option for you if you’re simply looking to consume less sugar in general.  There is one brand that I use.  It has only 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon!  Let’s count down.



best low sugar jam review
Bonne Maman 30% Less Sugar (8-9 grams)

Ingredients:  Strawberries, sugar, black currant juice, concentrated lemon juice, pectin

Made in France.  I fell in love with Bonne Maman jam when we were in Paris but it has 12 grams of sugar per tablespoon.  They now make a 30% Less Sugar Strawberry Spread.  I’m still staying away from this one but if it’s anywhere near as good as their regular jam…oh my!

Unfortunately, Bonne Maman lists everything but the  sugar grams on its label.  Based on comparisons with the other jams, I assume that it has about 8-9 grams of sugar.


best low sugar jam reviewCrofter’s (7-8 grams)

This company from Ontario, Canada makes organic, non-GMO fruit spreads that come in different fruit combinations.  They’re sweetened with grape juice or fair trade cane sugar.

The superfruit spreads are the lowest in sugar and come in 4 fruit combinations inspired by 4 different continents.



best low sugar jam review
Natur Le Fruit (7 grams)

Ingredients:  RED RASPBERRIES, CONCENTRATED GRAPE JUICE, FRUIT PECTIN, CONCENTRATED LEMON JUICE




best low sugar jam review
Harvest Song preserves (7 grams)

Ingredients: Wild Strawberry, Pure Cane Sugar, Citric Acid (Lemon Juice)

From Armenia.  Apparently, fruit is picked daily for optimum ripeness.  Fruit is slowly simmered in small batches and allowed to thicken without the use of any pectin.


best low sugar jam review
Stonewall Strawberry Balsamic jam  (7 grams per tablespoon)

Ingredients:  Strawberries, Pure Cane Sugar, Water, Balsamic Vinegar (contains sulfur dioxide), Pectin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid

Stonewall makes one jam that’s lower in sugar.  It’s more for vinaigrettes and sauces, but it uses strawberries enhanced with the complex flavors of balsamic vinegar.



Greaves - the best low-sugar jam

*Best Low Sugar Jam* Greaves 100% Fruit Spread (4 grams )


Ingredients: Strawberries, Apple Juice Concentrate, Lemon Juice & Pectin.

This jam from Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario comes in 6 different fruit spreads and is the best low sugar jam reviewlowest sugar fruit spread I could find.

For Sugar-Free Teen’s graduation party, we added the Sour Cherry fruit spread to mini low-sugar cheesecakes.  The cherry fruit spread was perfect without being overly sweet!



Low-Sugar Apple Butter


Apple Butter is another option as a fruit spread or to sweeten recipes.  It’s made from apples and concentrated apple juice.  The ratio of juice (sugar) to apples can differ between brands.

My local Wellesley apple butter, sitting in my fridge, states ” no sugar added”, yet it has 9 grams of sugar.

Here's an apple butter with only 4 grams. Unsweetened applesauce with no sugar added has 3 grams of natural sugar...so that's pretty good.


Low-sugar apple butter
Eden Organic Apple butter (4 grams)


Ingredients:  Organic apples, Organic apple juice concentrate






3 comments:

  1. "Jams and Preserves are crushed cooked fruit with added sugar. Preserves have more chunks. The terms are interchangeable and both must contain at least 65 percent sugar and 45 percent fruit. " Math adjustment!? :P

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  2. The reduced sugar Bonne Maman jam is great - I can't speak to the number of sugar grams, but the taste is fantastic. I love this brand, but find their regular strawberry jam too sweet, and this is one is so much better. It's hard to find though. So far I've only ever found it at Whole Foods.

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