Plum Jam Recipe: Low Sugar

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This plum jam recipe was taken directly from my package of pectin. I used a package of Sure-Jell less sugar pectin. This is not a NO sugar recipe… but it is lower sugar.

For a Chinese sauce (NOT jam) made from plums, check out this plum sauce recipe for canning.

Three jars of plum jam on a deck railing.

Full Sugar or Low sugar Plum Jam?

I found several plum jam recipes with no commercial pectin. Plums usually have enough natural pectin that the added commercial product isn’t needed. However, this would need to be a full sugar jam. What I found is that all the recipes had more sugar than plums! We do use sugar in our Jam… but not THAT much sugar. Using the sure jell enabled me to make a jam that will actually taste like plum.

You can get Sure Jell from Amazon here….

Or it is sold in most stores that carry canning items.

Package of SureJell Premium Fruit Pectin that is illustrated with a canning jar on the front.
Package of Sure Jell pectin for Low Sugar Jam

Plum Jam Recipe Instructions

Get out your canning supplies:

  • food mill (Optional, used for removing pits from cooked plums if needed. I have a vintage one similiar to this that I really like too.) or sharp knife
  • water bath canner
  • canning jars
  • canning lids and rings
  • jar lifter and canning funnel
  • large saucepan
  • bowls
  • large spoons
  • towels and dish cloths

Gather your ingredients to make this plum jam recipe:

  • 6.5 cups cooked plums
  • 4.5 cups sugar

Making the Plum Jam.

Start the canner heating so when the plum jam recipe is ready, the canner will also be hot and ready to process jam.

So the first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your plums. The pits will need to be removed. If you have a freestone type of plum that is as easy as cutting around the plum and pulling the pit out.

If however, you have a clingstone type of plum it is a little harder. Not hard… but messy. 🙂 The pits do not pull out easily. What I do is cook my plums in a pot with a cup or two of water.

Bring to a simmer. Use a potato masher to start the juices flowing and the plums will get soft. I then ran my plums through a food mill like this hand mill. Mine is a vintage item that was given to me. I love it! It took the pits right out. Or you can just pull them out by hand.

Measure out your cooked fruit into a large saucepan and measure out your sugar into a bowl.

When you use powdered pectin, you’ll want to mix it in with some sugar to prevent clumping. Mix the package of pectin with just 1/2 cup of the full amount of sugar.

Stir this sugar/pectin mixture into your fruit in the saucepan and bring it to a full boil. Don’t stir in all the sugar just yet! First just the fruit, and the pectin that you mixed with a small amount of sugar. Bring this to a boil.

Now you can add in the rest of the sugar. Stir and return to a boil. Boil jam hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. If the mixture foams up a lot, you can add a small amount of butter (about 1/4 tsp usually does it for me) to reduce the foaming.

A foaming pot of red plum jam boiling away.
Bring to a full boil.

When one minute is done, turn off the heat. Skim off any foam from the plum jam. Now your plum jam recipe is ready to start putting into jars.

Canning your jam.

Wiping the rim of a jar of plum jam with a wet paper towel.
Wipe the rim clean. It may be sticky.
Placing the flat canning lid on the jar using a magnetic lid lifter.
Put on your canning lid and ring.

Your canner and jars should already be hot before you add the jam. So pour hot jam into hot jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe off the rims carefully and place on your lids.

Process plum jam for 10 minutes, adjusting for your altitude: Chart included below.

Altitude in feet – processing time

  • 0-1,000 feet – 10 minutes
  • 1001-3000 feet – 15 minutes
  • 3001-6000 feet – 20 minutes
  • 6001 – 8000 feet – 25 minutes
  • 8001 – 10,000 feet – 30 minutes.

Here are waterbath instructions if you are not familiar with how to process.

Printable Recipe

Low Sugar Plum Jam

Plum Jam made with SureJell and less sugar.
Print Recipe
Three jars of plum jam on a deck railing.
Prep Time:1 hour
Processing Pints (adjust for altitude):10 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes



  • Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    See full water bath canning instructions here.  

For a Hot Pack

  • Wash, pit, and chop plums.  Measure 6.5 cups into a large sauce pan.
  • Measure out sugar into a bowl. Mix pectin with 1/2 cup of the sugar. (to prevent clumping)
  • Combine the 1/2 cup sugar/pectin mixture into plums heat to boiling, stirring frequently.  
  • Add the remainder of the sugar, stir and return to a boil.
  • Boil hard for 1 minute. Stirring constantly
  • Turn off the heat and skim foam if needed.
  • Pour hot jam into hot jar, leaving 1/4” headspace. 
  • Remove air bubbles, wipe rim clean, and place seal and ring. Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars. Process according to the chart below.  


Processing with a Water Bath Canner
Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil.  When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing.   Process for the length of time on the chart below.  Adjust for your altitude. 
 After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water.  Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.  Leave them alone for about 12 hours.  
When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away! 
Processing Times for Water Bath Canner (Hot Pack) 
Altitude – Half Pints and Pints are Processed the Same 
0 – 1000 ft – 10 minutes
1,001 – 3,000 ft – 15 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 ft – 20 minutes
6,001 – 8,000 ft – 25 minutes
8,001 – 10,000 ft – 30 minutes
Adapted from: SureJell Package insert
Servings: 8 half pint jars

What types of Plums work best?

There are tart plums and sweet plums. Any plum will work! The tart varieties do make a nice jam though so if that is an option go with tart.

Lots of Foam on Your Jam?

Some Jams will develop foam as it boils. Strawberries are notorious for this! But plums may do this as well. If the mixture foams up a lot, you can add a small amount of butter (1/4 tsp.) to reduce the foaming. Or if there is a lot skim it off just before you fill your jars. Make some toast and dip it in the foam for a treat!


The processing time on this recipe is longer than many jam recipes. These are the instructions that come with the Sure Jell Pectin. 

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Easy Lower Sugar Plum Jam Recipe

Page last updated: 6/9/2021

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