Canning Fruit and Jam With Honey

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Are you looking for ways to reduce the amount of refined sugar your family consumes? Maybe you keep your own beehives, like me, and are looking for ways to use the gallons of honey you extract each fall by using honey as a sweetener. Today I am going to talk about the benefits of canning fruit and jam with honey. Then I am going to give you tried and true tips for maximum success. And be sure to snag my recipe for jam canned with honey!Jars of jam sweetened with honey on display

Benefits of Canning Jam and Fruit With Honey

The greatest benefit of canning with honey is, of course, the health benefits. Honey is a delicious, locally sourced sugar. Unlike refined sugar, locally sourced honey has not been processed.

Have you paid attention to a traditional jam recipe? Most canning recipes call for 5-plus cups of sugar to a mere quart of fruit! Really, why waste your time in the kitchen if what you’re producing isn’t healthier than what you can buy at the grocer?  

Another benefit of using honey as a sweetener is that honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you actually use less honey than the amount of sugar called for in a recipe.

Finally, honey allows the natural, sweet tasting fruit being to be the real star of the recipe. 

What Does Fruit And Jam Canned With Honey Taste Like?

I’d like to start by pointing out that your finished product is only as good as the ingredients you use. Organic, local fruit tends to be sweeter than fruit that has been trucked halfway across the country or imported from another country altogether. 

Having said that, jam that is sweetened with honey versus refined sugar has a more delicate flavor. Instead of being a punch of sweet, the fruit itself is typically the first thing you taste, then the honey. 

Canning fruit recipes, such as peaches or pears with honey will give you the same taste profile. As a benefit, when my children ask to drink the juice from the peaches, I don’t feel bad letting them do so. After all, it’s only honey and water!

Jars filled with jam, labeled with kraft labels, canning jam recipe using honey as the sweetener
A glimpse of my sweet drawer

Finding Locally Sourced Honey

I’d like to address a possible canning hurdle: The availability of locally sourced honey.

The local farmers market is the number one place that comes to mind to purchase local honey. They mainly display and sell decorative bottles in various sizes, usually up to a quart. If you are making a batch of jam, a quart will do with plenty left over. But if you want to use your honey as a sweetener in several recipes to can both fruit and jam, plus have honey for the year, you will want to obtain a lot more.

In this case, I would ask the honey vendor if they offer larger quantities of honey than they have displayed. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask if you could get a discount for providing your own honey vessel(s).

A quick online Google search will provide a plethora of resources where local honey can be purchased. Websites like make it effortless to find local honey in all 50 states of the United States and a handful of other countries, too!

Three jars of honey in a pot on the stove that are being liquified.
Various stages of liquified honey on the stovetop to be used in canning jam and fruit with honey as the sweetener recipes.

How Traditional Pectin Works

Not only does commercial pectin help to reduce the cooking time, but you get a higher yield of jam in the end. This is because your cooking process is much less. However, commercial pectin requires a lot of sugar to gel or thicken it.

There are two types of commercially processed pectin used for home canning: liquid pectin and powdered pectin. The powdered and liquid pectin are not interchangeable. So use whatever your recipe calls for.

How Low Sugar Pectin Works

Pectin is a naturally occurring substance found in many fruits. Additionally, it is what causes the fruit to gel when cooking it.

When solely relying on the natural pectin in fruit to thicken your recipe, your cooking times will be greater. As a result, the finished amount of jam will be less because you had to cook it down longer.

This is where low sugar pectin helps. I have used this brand of low sugar pectin and had fantastic results. 

I have also used Pomona’s Universal Pectin with equally wonderful results. Theirs is a calcium based pectin, which still allows for you to use liquid sweeteners, like honey, and artificial sweeteners. 

The Downside to Cutting Back On Sugar

Now there is a sentence I never thought I would type! But there is a downside to cutting back on sugar- when canning, anyway.

  • Because sugar helps in the gel formation and acts as a preserving agent, eliminating it will cause your preserves to lose their texture quicker. In my experience, a jar of jam lasts around 12 months before it starts to soften slightly. 
  • Sugar helps to brighten and keep the color of your finished preserves. Low sugar preserves will quickly become darker over time. The finished product will not be as vibrant looking as a high sugar recipe.

    Enamel strainer filled with fresh peaches, accompanied by antique kitchen tools, a jar of honey and whole spices to be canned using honey as the sweetener.
    Using canning recipes with honey, such as peach jam, give the jam a delicate flavor.

Tips for Canning Recipes With Honey As A Sweetener

  • Use a low sugar pectin. 
  • Avoid the urge to add more honey. I know the amount of sweetener seems small compared to traditional sugar recipes, but I promise it will be sweet.
  • Use the best fruit you can afford or find. Think local, organic, or even foraged in the woods.
  • Don’t expect identical results to recipes canned with refined sugar. As mentioned, your end result will not be as vibrant or color enhanced. That’s not to say it won’t be beautiful and taste better, though!
  • Don’t double your jam batch. Because jam has a hard time gelling when cooked in large batches, cook your jam in single batches.Peaches that will be sweetened with honey and turned into jam and canned diced fruit sit on a countertop

Do I Need Special Equipment To Can Jam?

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra charge to you.

One of the main reasons I’m sharing this canning recipe, besides my love of honey, is because anyone can make it. That’s right! You, over there without special canning equipment. You, who has never tried to can anything in your life. I’m talking to you! You can do this.

While owning a water bath canner will save you time, if you have a large pot- like the one you cook noodles in- you are all set. This will suffice as a water bath until you invest in the real thing.

Other Needed Items:

  • A wide funnel
  • Jar lifter tongs and lid lifter
  • 8oz canning jars
  • Small mouth canning rings with new lids
    Fresh strawberries sit on a checkered tablecloth and a jar of honey to be turned into honey sweetened jam, using canning recipes with honey.

    Jam Sweetened With Honey

    Yield: 4-5 cups

    Try this delicately sweetened jam, using honey as the sweetener and low sugar pectin. Celebrate the taste of good fruit by complimenting it with honey.


    • 4 Cups pureed or mashed fruit
    • 1 Cup honey
    • 3 1/2 T low sugar pectin


    1. Place your clean jelly jars in a clean sink full of hot water.
    2. Next, fill your water bath with water- enough so your filled jars will be covered with 1"-2" of water. You can adjust the level later, too. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil.
    3. Now, on a heat safe surface, like a large cutting board, place an old towel. This will be used later to place your hot jam jars on. In the meantime, you will ready it for filling jars.
    4. Next to your board, place your jar tongs, lid lifter, funnel, a spoon for filling the jars and a small plate to rest the spoon on. Have a clean, damp washcloth nearby to wipe the rims of your jars.
    5. Meanwhile, fill a small pan halfway with water. Place your canning lids in the water and bring to a simmer. Set the bands aside for later use.
    6. Place the fruit in a large pot over medium heat. Add the honey and pectin to the pot. Bring to a gentle boil and boil for 20 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.
    7. Remove your jar from the hot water, shaking any excess off. Fill the jar with your jam, leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar clean. Using your lid lifter, carefully remove a lid from the simmering water. Place on the jar and secure with a band.
    8. Place the jam jar in the water bath. Repeat until all of your jars are filled, or your water bath; whichever comes first.
    9. Add more water to your water bath if needed. Then, boil the jam for 10 minutes in your water bath.
    10. After 10 minutes, remove from the water to your towel-covered cutting board to cool. Let set for 24 hours without disturbing.
    11. After 24 hours, check the seals to make sure the lids sucked down. Any jars that did not seal should be stored in the fridge to be enjoyed soon. Sealed jars should be kept in a cool, dark place.


    • Do not substitute traditional pectin for this recipe.
    • This recipe is for powdered, low sugar pectin. If using Pamona's pectin, follow their recipe for best results.
    • Avoid the urge to add more honey. I know the amount of sweetener seems small compared to traditional sugar recipes, but I promise it will be sweet.
    • Use the best fruit you can afford or find. Think local, organic, or even foraged in the woods.
    • Don't expect identical results to recipes canned with refined sugar. As mentioned, your end result will not be as vibrant or color enhanced. That's not to say it won't be beautiful and taste better, though!
    • Don't double your jam batch. Because jam has a hard time gelling when cooked in large batches, cook your jam in single batches.

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More Resources for Canning Jam and Fruit With Honey

It’s no secret that I put up a lot of jam each year. It’s one of the easiest and quickest things I preserve. But sometimes, I am left with too much jam. What’s a person to do? 

  • This post on Uses for Jam and Jelly not only provides recipes for using jam in your daily cooking, but quick uses for snacks, too!

And speaking of honey, have you ever had honey crystallize and didn’t know how to use it? 

  • In this post on Crystallized Honey I share how to use crystallized honey as is, provide recipes with honey in them and then teach you how to liquify it.  
  • Healthy Pop Tarts made with honey sweetened jam


3 thoughts on “Canning Fruit and Jam With Honey

  1. Beautifully written, and motivates me to continue in my pursuit of a honey-basil jelly recipe.
    I cannot find even one recipe with honey and basil on the internet. Can you believe it?!
    Your article has been an oasis. thank you, thank you.

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