A low sugar canned berry syrup and topping sweetened with apple juice, honey, and a bit of sugar (or all honey) perfect for pancakes, dessert, or gifting.
When I first started canning I couldn't believe that most of the syrup and jam recipes called for more sugar than fruit. I just couldn't do it, so I searched for recipes to adapt that used less, eventually finding a jam we liked (which turned out to be a freezer jam) and this canned syrup. The fruit flavor is really allowed to shine when not covered up by loads of sugar!
This low sugar canned berry syrup and dessert topping is made with mostly fruit along with some apple juice, honey, and a bit of sugar. You can also make it with just the juice and honey if you don't mind a stronger honey flavor. The recipe is nicely sweet, though - there's no mistaking that this is a syrup.
Because this syrup is made with whole berries, it is really fresh-tasting (a bonus in the depths of winter) and SO easy. Even with the 40 minutes needed to boil down the syrup, it only takes about an hour to make 9 1/2-pints. I've used our garden Marionberries, Boysenberries, Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries, and raspberries for this syrup. I also think that blueberries would be wonderful.
How have we used this low sugar berry syrup? We eat some, of course - it's wonderful on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and drizzled on lemon pound cake. They've also been made into presents in one of these two ways:
- Breakfast Basket: combine with a jar of homemade pancake/waffle mix, and a wooden spoon or whisk and tea towel.
- Ice Cream Basket: Add a caramel and chocolate syrup along with this, an ice cream scoop, some nuts, and a recipe for Incredible Ice Cream Without A Machine.
If you want to use seasonal produce for presents, you've got to think way in advance, making these in the summer for Christmas. But since you can use frozen fruit as well as fresh, it means that you can process this whenever you've got the time, really.
Low Sugar Canned Berry Syrup
This is a recipe even someone new to canning can accomplish easily, I promise.
Simply combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. The pot should be about 3/4-full.
Reduce the heat to keep the mixture at a low boil for 40-45 minutes, stirring often. Don't let it burn or stick, though I did find that I could do other things in the kitchen - I didn't have to stand over the pot and stir for the entire time.
When it looks like the photo above - syrupy and reduced until the pot is only 1/2-full - it's time to put them in jars and can in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.
See my Water Canning Step-by-Step for specifics on how to do this - again, it's really easy once you get the process down.
Whether they will be gifts or line your pantry, this is an easy way to have fresh berry flavor for your pancakes or ice cream all winter long.
Would you like more lower sugar recipes? See them here and download our Lower Sugar Recipes ebook!
Also, download the Preserving Record Notebook to keep track of this and all your preserving projects.
Low Sugar Canned Berry Syrup
- 10 ½ cups fresh or frozen berries blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a mixture
- 4 ½ cups apple juice
- 1 ½ cups honey
- 1 ½ cups sugar*
- Place fruit in an 8-quart pot and crush (if using frozen fruit, let thaw at room temperature first, keeping the juices).
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir constantly towards the end as it gets close to boiling, just to make sure it doesn't overflow the pot.
- Reduce the heat slightly- enough to keep the fruit at a medium boil - and stir often as the mixture cooks and reduces over the next 40 minutes. It should be thickened and reduced by almost half. If not, continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, prepare the canner and 9 half pint jars (or 5 pint jars) and lids. Keep the jars warm until filling.
- Immediately fill hot jars with the syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar tops and threads clean and place lids and bands on jars.
- Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove lid, turn burner off and let jars sit in canner for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined counter and let sit overnight before removing bands and testing lids for seal. Refrigerate any that didn't seal and store the rest on a dark, cool shelf.
- Always label the jars with the contents and a date so you remember what's in them. Use within a year to a year and a half.