Low Sugar Plum Marmalade


Low sugar plum marmalade is something I love and it brings back so many memories. It has always been my favorite marmalade, and cooking it without adding refined sugar makes it even better. The natural sweetness and tartness of the plums are just wonderful. Spreading this delight on a piece of toast or combining it with Greek yogurt is just a couple of my favorites for breakfast or as a late snack. One of the important things about cooking plum marmalade is to select plums that are  ripe. As they ripen, fruits create natural sugars and that is what makes the plums so naturally sweet.
In Germany, in the old times, plum marmalade was cooked slowly in a copper kettle over a fire pit for about 5 to 6 hours. Once the kettle showed seven rings, the fire was left to burn down and the marmalade had the right consistency.

Plum Marmalade

One of my favorite plum desserts is my perfect Swiss Plum Tart, aka, Zwetgschenwähe.  
I hate to admit it, I think I’m addicted to Italian plums. This tart is lovely to look at and
delicious to eat. It’s truly outstanding, scrumptious, perfect, and easily one of my favorite late summer fruit tarts.

plum marmalade

Plum season:

Unfortunately, Italian plums signal the end of summer. The season begins in mid-July with the sweet Japanese varieties and continues through September with the classic European, Italian plum.

Cooking low sugar plum marmalade:

Making low sugar plum marmalade is quite simple. I think the biggest challenge is having the patience to wait until Italian plums are in season and to find the sweetest, softest, ripest plums. All fruits contain natural sugar, so I don’t see a reason to add additional granulated sugar to my jam. Using the ripest and sweetest plums will do the trick, providing plenty of natural sweetness. To see if a plum is ripe, feel and smell the plum. When ripe, it should give slightly when gently squeezed, be semi-soft and smell sweet and fruity. Adding apples and dried fruits like raisins while cooking the sugar-free plum marmalade, will add plenty of additional natural sweetness. I core the apples but I don’t peel the apples; the skin of the apples contains natural pectin and the natural pectin of apple skin will thicken the marmalade. Use slightly under-ripe green apples, they have a high content of natural pectin and work great with cooking low sugar plum marmalade.

Plum Marmelade

Why cook low-sugar plum marmalade?

Our body needs sugar to function and that’s a fact. Avoiding all types of sugar will most likely lead to health problems. However, we should pay attention to what kind of sugar we intake and how much of it. All types of sugar will give us the same amount of calories, whether they are from fruit or soft drinks. However, evidence shows that the health risks from consuming too many refined sugars can lead to health issues such as tooth decay, unhealthy weight gain, and risk of diabetes.
The health risks are excessive eating of refined sugars, not the sugars that are naturally present in fruits. Foods that pack a naturally sweet flavor such as plums, pineapples, bananas, and sweet potatoes are nutrient-rich and part of a healthy diet.
The average American now consumes 175 pounds of sugar per year! That breaks down to 46 teaspoons a day! To live a healthier lifestyle, it is best to try and avoid products made with white sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, fructose, and ALL artificial sweeteners.

Plum Marmalade

Sterilize the jars
The plum marmalade, without saying, must go into sterilized jars. There is really one key factor you need to remember to ensure successful canning – Keep everything clean. I use weck jars,  by far they are my favorite canning jars. Not only are they German and functional, but they also look good too. To sterilize the rubber canning rings place them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Please turn off the heat and keep the rings in the hot water until they are needed. Wash jars in a dishwasher or by hand, using detergent and rinsing the jars well. 
Place jars in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer , and simmer for at least 10 minutes-this will prevent the jars from breaking when filled with hot food. 

Fill the jars and process 
Ladle the hot marmalade into a hot sterilized jar, leaving at least a 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar. Place the rubber bands and lids on the jars and tighten with the clips. Process the jars for at least 10 minutes in the rolling water bath. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the jars from the pot.

Cool the jars
Once the jars are finished processing, let them cool by placing jars on a towel, spacing them appropriately to allow air to circulate, and letting them cool for about 12 to 24 hours. You want to create a vacuum seal. It may take minutes after the jars have been removed from the water or it may take hours for the seal to occur. Once they are totally cool to the touch, you can remove the clips and check your seals.

Check the seal
There are two easy ways to ensure you’ve got a good seal. The first is to grab onto the jar holding onto just the lid and lift the jar just a bit. If it holds, it’s good. The other way to check the seal is to look at the tab on the rubber ring. It should be pointing down.

Store the jars
Jars with a good seal can be stored for up to one year if stored properly in a dark, cool place. Label the jars with the date they were sealed. Each time you open a jar check for spoilage. Look for bubbles or possible mold at the top, this will tell you if any fermentation took place. Over the years of making jams or marmalades, I’ve never lost a jar. However, I still check for any possible spoilage before I consume.
When using Weck jars for your marmalade, you should store the containers with the clips off. If something happens to grow inside the jar, the gas that develops will break the seal and you’ll know right away that the product safety has been compromise

Low Sugar Plum Marmalade

The Taste

I love the flavor, not too sweet, not too tart.
The plums have a tart, natural sweetness without the need of adding refined granulated sugar.

The Process

Easy to cook, the recipe is all about the fruit. Its success depends on using ripe plums.
Jars with a good seal can be stored for up to one year if stored properly in a dark, cool place.

The Verdict

A recipe that displays the art of using simple, basic ingredients and resources well.
Unfortunately, Italian plums signal the end of summer.
Take advantage of the short plum season, start canning and enjoy plum marmalade throughout the year.

sugar free plum marmalade

Low sugar plum marmalade

Chef Norbert
Unfortunately, Italian plums signal the end of summer. Take advantage of the short plum season, start canning and enjoy homemade low sugar plum marmalade throughout the year.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Better for you, Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 81 kcal


  • 4 LB Plums Italian
  • 2 tbsp Honey Raw unfiltered
  • 3/4 cup raisins Dried
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 each Apple Golden Delicious
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground


Prepare the plums

  • Wash plums, cut them in half, and remove the seed. Add the plums, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of honey, lemon juice, and dried raisins to a bowl and toss. Wash apples and remove the core. Cut the apples (with skin) into 1/2 dice and add to the plums.
    4 LB Plums, 2 tbsp Honey, 3/4 cup raisins, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp cinnamon, ground, 2 each Apple Golden Delicious

Cook the plums

  • Add plum mixture to Dutch oven and bring to a quick boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer and slowly cook the plums uncovered for approximately 60 to 70 minutes. During the cooking process, continue to stir the plums frequently. This helps to remove moisture and thickens the marmalade. Once the cooking process is complete, work in batches and ladle the hot plums into a robot cup and blend until smooth. Place pureed plums back in the Dutch oven and bring to a short boil.

Preserving the plums

  • Ladle the hot marmalade into a hot sterilized jar, leaving at least a 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar. With a clean towel wipe the rim clean. Place rubber ring onto the rim of the jars and top with lid. Close the jars by means of spring clamps.
  • Place jars in a large pot that comes to at least 3 inches above the tops of your jars. Cover the jars with at least 1-1/2″ of fresh tap water. Place pot on the stove, cover with lid, and turn the heat to “HIGH”. When the water reaches a full rolling boil, begin timing. Process your jars for at least 10 minutes in a rolling water bath. Once the time is up, remove the jars from the boiling water. Place on a towel, spacing them well to allow air to circulate and let them cool completely. To test the seal, grab onto the jar holding onto just the lid and lift the jar just a bit. If it holds, it’s good. Enjoy


Serving: 2 ounce | Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate

Keyword Easy, Fall, Marmalade, Mindful Gifts
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Join the Conversation

  1. Dorothy Shinn says:

    I’ve shared the spectacular results of this recipe with friends and neighbors, and every one of them have begged me for the recipe, so I sent them links to your site. I can’t praise it enough! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Norbert Author says:

      Dorothy, I’m glad you enjoy the recipe and thank you for sharing it with friends and neighbors. best Norbert

  2. Terri Davis says:

    I’m looking forward to trying this with plums from our backyard tree which is producing well after our mild, wet winter here in Atlanta! However, I’ve never made jam or jelly, and I’m totally new to canning. I hope I don’t blow it!

    I have the Ball small, quilted jars. How many jars will I get from this recipe? Is it ok to double it or should I work with 2 separate batches?

    1. Norbert Author says:

      Doubling the recipe should be no problem. How many Jars? The batch makes 2 Lb of Maremalde, so it all depends on the size of the jar you are using.
      I’m lucky, I still have a batch from last year in my Pantry.
      Best Norbert

  3. Loved this. I could taste Germany

    1. Norbert Author says:

      The best compliment a recipe can get. Thank you for the feedback

  4. I did it w yellow plums and it’s delicious thanks so much

    1. Norbert Author says:

      Hi Linda.
      I love that you enjoy my sugar free plum marmalade recipe. I still have some of last years batch sitting in my pantry. I never cooked the recipe with yellow plums.
      It sounds delicious
      best Norbert

4.67 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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