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Jams, Jellies & Preserves: Troubleshooting & Tips

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40 replies to this topic

#1 maxmillan

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 10:47 AM

I mashed 10 cups of whole blackberries with two cups of sugar and added three packages of certo. I didn't cook this as I plan to freeze it. After refrigeration I checked the viscosity and it did not thicken any more.

It's fine for toast and pancakes but it would be nicer to have a thicker jam without adding extra sugar and certo.

Any suggestions from the experts?

#2 StanSherman

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 03:02 PM

Pomona's Universal Pectin will gel anything. Learned it from an Amish woman.

http://www.pomonapectin.com/

#3 jayt90

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 03:38 PM

I mashed 10 cups of whole blackberries with two cups of sugar and added three packages of certo.  I didn't cook this as I plan to freeze it.  After refrigeration I checked the viscosity and it did not thicken any more. 

It's fine for toast and pancakes but it would be nicer to have a thicker jam without adding extra sugar and certo.

Any suggestions from the experts?

View Post

Follow the Certo instructions. You will probably have to cook it to almalgamate the pectin. Then freeze.

#4 Gabriel Lewis

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 06:25 PM

The gelling of pectin depends on a certain ratio of acid to sugar, your blackberries may not have been acid enough for the amount of sugar you used or something similar, I don't have the references with me atm but if you look around the net you should be able to find some guidelines.

#5 maxmillan

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 09:29 AM

Pomona's Universal Pectin will gel anything.  Learned it from an Amish woman.

http://www.pomonapectin.com/

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Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to check out my local organic stores to see if they carry Pomona pectin. I read the site and it looks good in that you can use less sugar on uncooked berries.

#6 dougal

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:32 PM

I think pectin preparations do need cooking with acid (like lemon juice) to 'gel' properly.
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#7 jayt90

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 05:59 PM

Pomona's Universal Pectin will gel anything.  Learned it from an Amish woman.

http://www.pomonapectin.com/

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Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to check out my local organic stores to see if they carry Pomona pectin. I read the site and it looks good in that you can use less sugar on uncooked berries.

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Every recipe on that site requires boiling, with the single exception of a salad dressing.
That is why your refrigerator berries did not gel.

#8 Tracy K.

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 03:15 PM

Your proportions of fruit/sugar/pectin were way off. Plus, if you used Certo gel pectin, you cannot boil the mixture after you have added it. Jam/Jelly/Preserve making is dependent on the juice and sugar solution reaching 8 (eight) degrees above the boiling point of water--so high-altitude cooks would have to cook beyond 220 degrees. Commercial pectin is concentrated mostly from apple peels; many fruits, including blackberries, have a good amount of pectin in them already and you can make a fine jam/jelly/preserve without using commercial pectin.

Usually for berries you can use a 1:1 ratio by weight (e.g., 1 lb. fruit and 1 lb. sugar); you can generally also use 1 cup prepared (e.g., crushed) fruit to 1 cup sugar. Pomona pectin works with a lower sugar amount, but I have never been pleased with the quality that results. I really like the old-fashioned 1:1 ratio cooked gently until reaching 220 on a quality cooking thermometer. (I like my Thermapen)

An excellent online source for jelly/jam/preserve making and recipes is the University of Georgia: National Center for Home Food Preservation

#9 lcdm

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 07:22 AM

Each type of pectin works differently.
For Certo to work as a no cook freezer jam here is a basic recipe:
2 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2 pt. fully ripe blackberries)
4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
http://www.kraftfood...recipe_id=60919

Your sugar is way off, if you want a no sugar/low sugar jam than you would need to use a no/low sugar pectin like sure-gel no/low sugar (and from what I have read you would need to cook). In reading up on it I think Ball makes a freezer no cook/low sugar pectin - you may want to try that.
http://www.freshpres...2df38143458b01e

Even after following all the steps correctly it may take a few days (or longer) for your jam to setup.

Edited by lcdm, 31 August 2007 - 05:30 AM.


#10 Marky Marc

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 03:15 AM

So I was making (trying, I should say) a hucklberry preserve. the recipe was simple:
Boil water and lime juice
add sugar, boil to soft ball stage
add berries, boil for 30 minutes

So I did this. All seemed well until I got to about 20 minutes into boiling when my gut told me something was screwy. I cut it and now I've got a few pounds of hucklberry candy :laugh:

What the hell do I do now?!?! I'd put the stuff into mold but the closest thing I've got is a cup cake pan. Into a mason jar it goes.


Any suggestions?

Fanx! :smile:

#11 gfron1

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 05:53 AM

Because there are regularly questions on problems that have happened in making various spreads, this topic has been created to ask for advice.

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#12 etalanian

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 08:19 PM

I mashed 10 cups of whole blackberries with two cups of sugar and added three packages of certo.  I didn't cook this as I plan to freeze it.  After refrigeration I checked the viscosity and it did not thicken any more. 

It's fine for toast and pancakes but it would be nicer to have a thicker jam without adding extra sugar and certo.

Any suggestions from the experts?

View Post


If you include some not-quite-so-ripe blackberries in with the ripe ones, you will be able to make blackberry preserves without pectin. Under-ripe blackberries have a substantial amount of natural pectin and the jam sets up quite nicely. I usually include about 10 % unripe berries, and add a little lemon juice.

Eileen
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#13 Mette

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 01:35 PM

I mashed 10 cups of whole blackberries with two cups of sugar and added three packages of certo.  I didn't cook this as I plan to freeze it.  After refrigeration I checked the viscosity and it did not thicken any more. 

It's fine for toast and pancakes but it would be nicer to have a thicker jam without adding extra sugar and certo.

Any suggestions from the experts?

View Post


If you include some not-quite-so-ripe blackberries in with the ripe ones, you will be able to make blackberry preserves without pectin. Under-ripe blackberries have a substantial amount of natural pectin and the jam sets up quite nicely. I usually include about 10 % unripe berries, and add a little lemon juice.

Eileen

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When I make blackberry jam, I ususally add 2-4 half lemons (organic, non-surface treated) to the pan, depending on batch size. They help the setting and add a bit of sharpness that blackberries sometimes lack.

/Mette

p.s. 4 kg.s of blackberries in the freezer, waiting to be jammed :smile:

Edited by Mette, 02 September 2007 - 01:40 PM.


#14 Mette

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 01:39 PM

I've made some jelly of red currants and black currants (boil out the juice, add the same volume in sugar, boil till slightly thick, jar), but it has not set. I tried reboiling it with the addition of commercial pectin to no avail - still too runny to put on toast. I did possibly add too little pectin, but I dont like it hard-as-rock-jelly.

Can this be saved? is it safe to reboil, now that I've added pectin?

Thanks

/mette

Edited by Mette, 02 September 2007 - 01:41 PM.


#15 Tracy K.

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:25 PM

It's not a matter of safety, but whether or not you'll be successful in re-making the jelly. I don't know what brand of pectin you used, but the label should contain information about how to re-make a failed batch of jam/jelly/preserves. Or you could try the Sure Jell website; click on jamming tips.

Another great resource is Putting Food By, written by Janet Greene.

#16 kiliki

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:15 PM

I did possibly add too little pectin, but I dont like it hard-as-rock-jelly.


I also don't like super jelled jam, but when I asked on another board if I could use a smaller amount of pectin so that the final product would be a little soft still, I was told that with pectin, you have to use the full recommended amount to make it jell at all. I didn't experiment with this, so if anyone has info to the contrary I'd like to hear it, but your experience bears this out.

#17 gfron1

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 02:59 PM

I was asked today if Calcium powder (used in a sugar-free jam recipe) is the same as Calcium Chloride. My first reaction was not, but then I started thinking about the gelling properties. Anyone know?

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#18 momcook

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 08:12 PM

I looked this up in "Canning and Preserving without Sugar" by MacRae, and she lists the calcium powder as dicalcium phosphate. I am assuming you are referring to the calcium powder that comes with Pomona Pectin (low-methoxy pectin), and not the no-sugar pectin that uses sugar substitutes, such as Certo? It can be used both with and without sugar. The ratio is 1 tsp. dicalcium phosphate to 1 cup of water. Refrigerate between uses.



I was asked today if Calcium powder (used in a sugar-free jam recipe) is the same as Calcium Chloride.  My first reaction was not, but then I started thinking about the gelling properties.  Anyone know?

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#19 cupcakequeen

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 08:37 PM

i just made some jam and as i was ladling it into jars, i noticed some of the pectin had settled to the bottom in clear lumps. any way to fix this? or why it occured? if it was any other sort of jelly, i'd probably strain it, but not with cherries!!!!!

#20 pstock

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 02:22 PM

HELP!
I am in the middle of preserving a few pints of strawberries. and I am perlexed as to why all the recipes call for adding SOOOO much sugar. I mean, the berries are agreeable (if a bit tart) when noshed raw/fresh. what happens to that sweetness when they are preserved.

I fear that many recipes are holdovers from an olden day when the more white sugar one could add the better. Can anyone suggest an alternative and what a reasonable low sugar amount should be?

many thanks

Peter

#21 amdellutri

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 03:55 PM

Sugar aids in gel formation, develops flavor by adding sweetness, and acts as a preservative in jams, marmalades, preserves, and conserves.

http://www.extension...ion/DJ1088.html



Sometimes, I cut back on the sugar, but then I need to add pectin. I use Certo liquid pectin. It also depends on the fruit. Strawberries have less natural pectin in them. I like to mix strawberry with rhubarb. The rhubarb seems to help in gel formation.

#22 pstock

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 04:22 PM

well, I had to just guess.
wound up using about 2 cups of sugar for 5 pints of strawberries (assuming pints are those 4" square containers.)
it tasted darn good going into the jars. we'll see what they taste like coming out.

Peter

HELP!
I am in the middle of preserving a few pints of strawberries. and I am perlexed as to why all the recipes call for adding SOOOO much sugar. I mean, the berries are agreeable (if a bit tart) when noshed raw/fresh. what happens to that sweetness when they are preserved.

I fear that many recipes are holdovers from an olden day when the more white sugar one could add the better. Can anyone suggest an alternative and what a reasonable low sugar amount should be?

many thanks

Peter

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#23 snowangel

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:46 AM

How do you prevent the fruit from floating after you put it in jars?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#24 pstock

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 06:42 PM

well, in hindsight I realize that.. I didn't. the fruit did float. But then I can deal with sloppy toast.
live and learn.

well, I had to just guess.
wound up using about 2 cups of sugar for 5 pints of strawberries (assuming pints are those 4" square containers.)
it tasted darn good going into the jars. we'll see what they taste like coming out.

Peter

HELP!
I am in the middle of preserving a few pints of strawberries. and I am perlexed as to why all the recipes call for adding SOOOO much sugar. I mean, the berries are agreeable (if a bit tart) when noshed raw/fresh. what happens to that sweetness when they are preserved.

I fear that many recipes are holdovers from an olden day when the more white sugar one could add the better. Can anyone suggest an alternative and what a reasonable low sugar amount should be?

many thanks

Peter

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#25 Darienne

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:14 PM

A friend gave me a jar of TJ's Ginger Spread which I have shared with enthusiastic friends. Now I read that TJ no longer carries this product.

I have tried googling a recipe for ginger spread but have found nothing so far.

Any help out there for ginger aficianados? :unsure:
Darienne


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Cheers & Chocolates

#26 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:29 PM

A friend gave me a jar of TJ's Ginger Spread which I have shared with enthusiastic friends.  Now I read that TJ no longer carries this product. 

I have tried googling a recipe for ginger spread but have found nothing so far.

Any help out there for ginger aficianados?  :unsure:

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Apparently "The Ginger People" make a ginger spread that lists the same ingredients.

#27 Darienne

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 04:42 PM

I don't want to buy it...I want to make it. :laugh:
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#28 lperry

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 04:48 PM

Google "ginger marmalade."

#29 Darienne

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 05:52 PM

Google "ginger marmalade."

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Thank you. Also googled 'ginger jam'. :smile:
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Cheers & Chocolates

#30 Kouign Aman

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 01:57 PM

Used a bottle of commercial black currant juice to make jam. Discovered it needs 100% more sugar than any other fruit I've preserved including raspberries. Thank goodness the SureGel people include a reprocessing step on their package insert. Didnt need more gel, but desperately needed more sweet! As it stands (perfect), its lovely and puckery.
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