Reduced-sugar raspberry jam (naturally gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

Home-made reduced sugar raspberry jam. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s beginning to feel like Summer is over already. We have had a lot of wet and windy weather which makes it seem more autumnal than summery. I picked the last of the raspberries a few days ago which draws my home-grown soft fruit season to a close. The canes have produced another bumper crop this year, and the freezer is stacked out with berries ready to be used in the months ahead.

The last harvest of summer raspberries. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Earlier in the year, I was intrigued by a recipe posted by my fellow blogger Joëlle who published a recipe for a reduced sugar orange jam. Her recipe inspired me to have a go at making a raspberry version. I am always looking for ways to reduce sugar in my diet and her use of one unusual jam ingredient seemed like too good an opportunity to pass me by. So, thank-you very much Joëlle. So, here is Joëlle’s sugar-replacing ingredient…

Beetroot. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Beetroot! I guess this revelation will put some of you off, but I can assure you, you really can’t taste it. You do need to make sure the beetroot is cooked very well – it needs to be completely soft to blend it into a pulp. I had some cooked beetroot in the freezer and found that the texture was much more silky-smooth once it defrosted; it blended into a perfectly fine purée. You can use ready-cooked, vacuum-packed beetroot, but please make sure it’s packed in natural juices and not vinegar, as that really would give the game away!

50% less sugar Scottish raspberry jam. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

I usually use equal quantities of raspberries to sugar in my jam recipes, but in this one, I replaced half of the sugar with beetroot purée. Sugar acts as a preservative which is why jams keep so long in  the store-cupboard. This jam needs to be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within a month, so is better made in small amounts. However, it freezes well, so instead of sealing it in jars in the traditional way, leave it to cool and spoon into small, sealable freezer containers; freeze down and then you can take out the quantity you need to avoid wasting any. The jam will keep well in the freezer for at least 6 months.

Freezing reduced sugar raspberry jam. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

The texture of this jam is more pulpy than a traditional raspberry jam and it lacks the syrupy consistency that a full quantity of sugar gives, but the flavour is fruity and sweet and the colour unaffected by the beetroot. It spreads well and makes a deliciously fruity topping for pancakes and puddings. I hope you might be intrigued enough to give it a go.

Makes: approx. 575g jam


  • 400g fresh raspberries
  • 200g smooth, cooked beetroot purée
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  1. Put the raspberries and beetroot in a saucepan. Cook gently for a few minutes until the raspberry juices begin to exude.
  2. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice, and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pan, until thick and pulpy – like stewed apple.
    Making reduced sugar raspberry jam. Images: Kathryn Hawkins


  3. Transfer the hot jam into sterilised jam jars in the usual way, and seal immediately. Leave to cool, then date and keep in the fridge for 4 weeks unopened. Use within a week once opened.

    Pancake topped with coconut yogurt, fresh berries and home-made reduced sugar jam. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

16 thoughts on “Reduced-sugar raspberry jam (naturally gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

  1. Guess who again! Last night I used a package of frozen tart cherries (store bought, since last year a late frost and the local magpies both took care of our fruit) to make jam with blended beets, following the same ratio as here, and adding a little agar powder to make sure it would set (not sure it was necessary). It worked out fine. I have tried it with coconut yogurt 😋 and tomorrow will be spreading it on crêpes. It’s hard to escape the craving of comfort foods these days, isn’t it?

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  2. Well, I have finally made this jam, using frozen raspberries as the season for fresh berries is over. It is still warm from the pot as I am typing. A very interesting taste, I like it! Thank you for inventing this recipe, Kathryn!

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      1. The taste reminded me of candy that we call « bonbons acidulés ». Adding the lemon juice was a good idea. I will be spreading the jam on top of « crêpes » tomorrow!
        Have a nice weekend, Kathryn 😊

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  3. We do not have the joy of fresh berries, so for jams I always buy frozen ones. We have them usually from Chile and they are of exceptional quality. Buying frozen berries makes it easy to prepare jams in small quantities just for consumption as we go. It is usually one package of 500g. To reduce sugar in half, sometimes even more, especially when I add thinly slices apples, I add chia seeds. It thickens jam, or I sometimes call it thick berry sauce, and also adds nutritional value coming from other than carbs. Chia can’t be even spotted if raspberries are used, it blends with their texture. Kept refrigerated jams with chia seeds never in my experience went bad, even when they were kept for 2 months, but they usually go quicker. I never thought of freezing them, good idea (!), I freeze fruit and vegetable puree, lemon and grapefruit juices, cooked orange and lemon puree for cakes, thick apple, plum puree for my own marshmallow confectionary, cranberry puree in very small portions to add when making Swiss meringue. With plenty of pectin all those ingredients support texture or structure of final cooked or baked products. I can only imagine what a pleasure is to have your own crop of homegrown berries and fruits!

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    1. Dear Irene. How nice to hear from you and thank you so much for taking the trouble to share your jam-making tips. I haven’t tried adding chia seeds but I can see how they would work as a thickening agent. Yes, I am lucky to have my own supply of home-grown fruit. Like you, I freeze various bits and pieces for adding to recipes later on. It is amazing what you can actually freeze, and means you can keep waste to a minimum. I hope you have a good weekend, and thanks again for stopping by. Kind regards, Kathryn 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me again, after a third round of making this jam. Why yet another comment? Because I am currently in the U.S. and used a package of raspberries that were huge compared to European ones but full of water, and also the most tasteless cooked beets I have ever tasted (serves me right for buying cheap thinking I was getting a good deal!). My jam came out good but runnier than usual. I should have let it reduce more, or added chia as Irena suggests.
        Have a nice Sunday, Kathryn!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the referral, Kathryn! Of course you can imagine how excited I am at the idea of trying this jam. I will have to buy the raspberries though: a drought following a couple of bad spring frosts resulted in a complete fruit disaster for us: no cherries, no peaches, a handful of strawberries, and no raspberries. Does it matter if they are frozen rather than fresh? I am also going to freeze some cooked beetroot to get the same texture as you.
    Still on the subject of freezing, it is indeed the best option for jams with little sugar. I started doing it the same as you, in small portions, after a lentil ginger jam (bought at the local outdoor market) quickly spoiled in my refrigerator.
    We are praying for rain over here in central France… Some of the trees have started shedding a lot of leaves, and I was very surprised to find ripe wild blackberries along the country roads we like to stroll on. Guess who has already made blackberry jam, when this normally doesn’t happen until early September? So here also it feels like autumn already.
    Again, thank you, Kathryn. I will let you know when this low sugar jam has been made! Have a lovely weekend 😊

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    1. Hi Joëlle. Glad you enjoyed the post. You got me thinking about blackberry jam made this way – an even better disguise for the beetroot! I have seen a few random blackberries (brambles) ripening here too. It was something we always used to do as kids around about the last week of the summer holidays, so end of August, we would go brambling, and then Mum would make buckets of blackberry jelly – still my favourite preserve. RE. frozen raspberries, I can’t see why the recipe won’t work. Usually when I make my full sugar raspberry jam with my frozen berries, I add lemon juice because pectin is reduced by freezing fruit. Because this recipe relies on a quantity of lemon juice to help the set (and flavour) as there is less sugar, I would be reluctant to add any more lemon juice in case the flavour becomes too acidic, so you may find that the texture is softer. I will give it a try later on in the year when I run out of existing supplies 🙂 It’s sunny here at the moment so I’m off outside to get some gardening done. Catch up again soon 🙂

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