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maxmillan

Jams, Jellies & Preserves: Troubleshooting & Tips

41 posts in this topic

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?

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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?

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

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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.

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

http://www.pomonapectin.com/

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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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

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

http://www.pomonapectin.com/

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.

Every recipe on that site requires boiling, with the single exception of a salad dressing.

That is why your refrigerator berries did not gel.

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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

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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.kraftfoods.com/main.aspx?s=reci...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.freshpreserving.com/pages/jams_...2df38143458b01e

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


Edited by lcdm (log)

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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:

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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

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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?

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


Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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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?

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

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 (log)

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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 (log)

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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.

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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.

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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

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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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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!!!!!

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

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/...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.

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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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How do you prevent the fruit from floating after you put it in jars?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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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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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

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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