Author Topic: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?  (Read 7483 times)

Offline javabrewer

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Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« on: August 07, 2010, 10:46:33 AM »
First time jam'er here.

Earlier this year my family and some in laws picked a ton of wild dewberries (with the red, itchy burns like fire stem).  I froze them until I had time to process them.  Yesterday I thawed and seeded them and came up with about 9 cups of juice/pulp -- perfect for the Ball Blue Book recipe!  However when the mix got to the gelling point it wasn't thickening like it said it would.  I was afraid of cooking it any longer (been about two or thee minutes boiling at this point) so I took it off the heat figuring it was too hot to stick.  Then I processed it in half pints in a water bath canner.  In the morning I found runny jam, not even close to sticky.

Can I reprocess this?  Can I add pectin to help it firm up?   It already has 9 cups fruit to 6 cups sugar.

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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2010, 05:39:40 PM »
boil it again.  boil until it thickens even a little bit in as it is hot. I had to reboil dandelion jam 4 times before it actually jelled.  I was hoping mad, and vowed to never make it again!  but it did finally jell.
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Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2010, 07:12:38 AM »
boil it again is good advice. I had a friend who had some jam that didn't set, so she dumped it out of the jars to make syrup with and after cooking a bit longer it started to set up. she just packed it into new jars and water bath canned it and had fine jam.
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Offline theadob

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2010, 06:06:32 PM »
you can also add gelatin.  I have done this a lot with fruit that has higher than average water content.

Offline OKGranny

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2010, 09:49:15 PM »
It won't hurt a bit to re-boil it. I learned that several decades ago when Mom had trouble with some fig jam. Of course if you're the kind that says to heck with it, like me then it'll make fine syrup.

Offline javabrewer

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2010, 10:48:25 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone.  Tomorrow evening I will try reboiling it and see if it sets.  I think I will use one or two jars as syrup for my morning oatmeal though.  I tasted a spoon of it when originally cooking and it was oustanding.

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Offline Lunk

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 02:12:24 AM »
From Larousse Gastronomique on Jams and Jellies: (this predates commercial pectin)

Testing for setting: Check the temperature of the preserve when it has been boiling for 3-5 min. Most preserves set about 220F. When this temperature is reached, remove the pan from the heat and try a saucer test. Place a little of the preserve on a cold saucer and leave it in a cool place for a few minutes. A distinct skin develops when the preserve has reached the setting point. Push the little puddle of preserve with your finger and the skin should wrinkle quite distinctly. The other useful sign that the preserve has reached the setting point is when it forms flakes on the edge of a spoon.



Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2010, 10:35:51 AM »
I made my first ever jam this weekend.  I made peach jam with dry pectin added.  I followed the instructions to the letter, except I did a double batch.

This morning I woke up and found that it still didn't jell.  I thought of re-processing it, but not sure if that would be an issue since I added pectin.  Any suggestions?
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2010, 10:54:12 AM »
I made my first ever jam this weekend.  I made peach jam with dry pectin added.  I followed the instructions to the letter, except I did a double batch.

This morning I woke up and found that it still didn't jell.  I thought of re-processing it, but not sure if that would be an issue since I added pectin.  Any suggestions?

If you used normal store-bought Ball or Sure-Jell pectin, they specifically tell you NOT to do a double batch.  some how it messes things up.  i don't know why, but that is one reason I use Pomoma pectin, so I can double or half a batch.  (see this thread: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=7860.0)

try reboiling it.  I used regular Ball pectin when I did the dandelion jelly, and it eventually jelled.  eventually (see above!)
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 11:09:36 AM »
Yep, I used Sure-Jell pectin.  Guess I should read the box.

My wife said she thinks that it jelled a little, but doesn't look it to me.  I guess we can try re-boiling, or using it as a syrup.  I really want jam, though.  The taste is fantastic.

I saw mention above of gelatin.  Is that something that could be added?
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Offline theadob

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 11:22:05 AM »
use a box of peach jello.  The small box.  It will firm right up.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2010, 11:23:52 AM »
Yep, I used Sure-Jell pectin.  Guess I should read the box.
My wife said she thinks that it jelled a little, but doesn't look it to me.  I guess we can try re-boiling, or using it as a syrup.  I really want jam, though.  The taste is fantastic.
I saw mention above of gelatin.  Is that something that could be added?

I would try boiling as per the instructions here:

From Larousse Gastronomique on Jams and Jellies: (this predates commercial pectin)

Testing for setting: Check the temperature of the preserve when it has been boiling for 3-5 min. Most preserves set about 220F. When this temperature is reached, remove the pan from the heat and try a saucer test. Place a little of the preserve on a cold saucer and leave it in a cool place for a few minutes. A distinct skin develops when the preserve has reached the setting point. Push the little puddle of preserve with your finger and the skin should wrinkle quite distinctly. The other useful sign that the preserve has reached the setting point is when it forms flakes on the edge of a spoon.

you could add gelatin, but I would try boiling first.  I have never used gelatin, but for a Mormon, I have an odd distaste for the stuff and avoid it all costs!  :D
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Offline simpleguy

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2010, 11:53:40 AM »
I have had this same thing happen on peach jam, it goes over REAL WELL as peach syrup on pancakes...........I don't think I would re-boil more than 1x.  Enough mineral/vitamin loss in the 1st perservation.

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2010, 01:43:13 PM »
I'll try either that or the instructions on the Sure-Jell page for a remake.  But if it doesn't work, I'll push it as peach syrup, it is very good tasting.

you could add gelatin, but I would try boiling first.  I have never used gelatin, but for a Mormon, I have an odd distaste for the stuff and avoid it all costs!  :D
I don't get it.  But I'd be happy to hear it..
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2010, 02:08:57 PM »
Mormons, for some reason, are known for their like of jello.  it is a common joke in Utah - that we are the top state in jello consumption.  I have run into that knowledge in a small women's college in upstate New York and even in Greece with a bunch of American college kids looking for a hostel.
the most common dish seems to be green jello with shredded carrots.  I shudder to think about it - or maybe folks who make it make it to fulfill the stereotype.
I have been threatened with excommunication (not seriously, but in jest, please do not misunderstand!) for refusing to eat jello at church activities!   :D
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Offline OKGranny

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2010, 02:27:55 PM »
As far as I'm concerned green jello with shredded carrots should be againt the law. Nasty stuff.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2010, 02:32:55 PM »
As far as I'm concerned green jello with shredded carrots should be againt the law. Nasty stuff.

 :D true-er words have not been spoken.....
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Offline TxMom

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2010, 02:57:03 PM »
I would try boiling as per the instructions here:

you could add gelatin, but I would try boiling first.  I have never used gelatin, but for a Mormon, I have an odd distaste for the stuff and avoid it all costs!  :D

Must be a Utah thing.   

Now I did tell my husband he was unAmerican for not liking chocolate chip cookies, but he'd never turn down apple pie.

I'd go with syrup,  loss of vitamins recooking, extra trouble etc.  and look what to do next time.  One year my son accidentally made us very good grape syrup. 

I wanted to make blackberry jam and syrup this summer, but froze the berries instead.  (injured arm)   Always next year.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2010, 07:48:23 PM »
The wife would like to try recooking it.  I'm planning on doing the way they have on the Sure-Jell site.  I figure I'll just be doing it on a cup of the jam, so if it doesn't work, all the rest will be pancake topping.

We just had pancakes for dinner, and that topping is awesome.  A shame I wasn't going for syrup.
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Offline Aelah

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2010, 08:15:00 PM »
It happened to us last year... syrupy strawberry jam. I reboiled some so it would gel. The rest made for a delicious topping to ice cream and waffles! Now here's a flipside question for the pros...

Last January, I taught 25 kids the art of cooking from scratch, including canning. We made my jalapeno pepper jelly (a favorite of the kids). Most groups turned out fantastic, but several actually not only gelled, but crystalized. What happened? How can we fix that if it occurs again this year when I teach the class? I've never had that happen at home or with the kids before.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2010, 09:57:01 PM »
I'm going to take a guess at the crystallization.  Based on trying my hand at candy, I know that if the sugar is not fully dissolved, the floating crystals will cause the saturated sugar solution to start crystallizing.  I'd bet that those students didn't fully dissolve the sugar.
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Offline Prag

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2010, 06:51:57 AM »
I'll try either that or the instructions on the Sure-Jell page for a remake.  But if it doesn't work, I'll push it as peach syrup, it is very good tasting.
I don't get it.  But I'd be happy to hear it..


Thanks for the link!

I'm gonna give this a try.


I made my 1st batch of jam yesterday...blueberry...14 half-pints from a gallon bag of blueberries. I followed these guidelines/this recipe.

My last couple of half-pints looked to have more liquid than berries, and as I'm trying to learn this "stuff" I added about a 1/4 more of a packet of the Sure Jell to the liquid and heated it for a few minutes.
The jars I made with the extra Sure Jell really set up well.
The first dozen moderately well, but contained many more berries than the last few jars.
btw..I only "mashed" my berries, as we like the fruit in our jams to have a bit of chunky texture to it.

Can the amount of pectin/Sure Jell be increased without negative effects?

Would increasing the amount help to insure a better "jelling"?


Great & timely info.  :)

Thanks,

Prag


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Offline javabrewer

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2010, 09:54:20 AM »
I reboiled last night for a few more minutes and it didn't thicken so I added a packet of Ball Pectin (1.75 oz I believe) and within another minute it firmed up nicely.  The batch made 4 less half-pint jars than it started with :(.  Still we got 10 jars of nice jam for the cost of some pectin and canning lids!

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Offline Prag

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2010, 07:56:17 AM »
I reboiled last night for a few more minutes and it didn't thicken so I added a packet of Ball Pectin (1.75 oz I believe) and within another minute it firmed up nicely.  The batch made 4 less half-pint jars than it started with :(.  Still we got 10 jars of nice jam for the cost of some pectin and canning lids!


Thanks for the info.

I reprocessed 6 half-pints of my blueberry jam last evening.

I dumped the contents into a pot, slowly heated to a boil, added a full pack of Sure Jell, and boiled for about 5 more minutes.

I then reprocessed into sterile jars with new lids and ran through the hot water bath.

The jam turned out great.  :)


Live & Learn.

Thanks again.

Regards,

Prag
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Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2010, 08:10:24 AM »
As far as I'm concerned green jello with shredded carrots should be againt the law. Nasty stuff.
Your are supposed to use ORANGE jello with shredded carrots. My Aunt Ray used to make this all the time for use when we were kids. Very good!
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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2010, 10:50:59 AM »
Javabrewer,

You can follow all of this advice, which I'm sure is good, or you can do what Mrs. S. did after a failed attempt to make cranberry jelly: you pour it into a mould and stick it into the freezer. When it reaches the consistency of road slush, you present it at the table as cranberry - or in your case dewberry - mush.

Do that for a year or two, or a decade and BOOM- Instant Family Tradition. Believe me when I tell you that the mush will be remembered and talked about long after the jelly has been forgotten.
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Offline jbm555

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2010, 09:03:53 AM »

Another thing to consider is that your berries may have been ever so slightly too ripe.  The more ripe a fruit gets the less natural pectin it has in it.  When I pick wild blackberries I try to pick berries that are just ripe (or maybe a little over) AND the berries that aren't quite ripe yet (still a little red on them).  I try to do this at around a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio.  Don't make this complicated.  Just make sure you pick a few of the slightly under ripe berries while you're picking the ripe ones. 

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2010, 09:16:33 AM »
Another thing to consider is that your berries may have been ever so slightly too ripe.  The more ripe a fruit gets the less natural pectin it has in it.  When I pick wild blackberries I try to pick berries that are just ripe (or maybe a little over) AND the berries that aren't quite ripe yet (still a little red on them).  I try to do this at around a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio.  Don't make this complicated.  Just make sure you pick a few of the slightly under ripe berries while you're picking the ripe ones. 

huh never would have thought of that.  thanks
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Offline Prag

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Re: Batch of jam didn't gel, is there anything I can do now?
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2010, 11:08:31 AM »
Another thing to consider is that your berries may have been ever so slightly too ripe.  The more ripe a fruit gets the less natural pectin it has in it.  When I pick wild blackberries I try to pick berries that are just ripe (or maybe a little over) AND the berries that aren't quite ripe yet (still a little red on them).  I try to do this at around a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio.  Don't make this complicated.  Just make sure you pick a few of the slightly under ripe berries while you're picking the ripe ones. 


In my case, you're probably right jbm555.

We picked up 50 pounds of peaches for $.39/lb this last week. They were all ripe and few, overly so.

The majority we simply canned (made a few pints of spiced peaches as well).

We did make about a dozen jars of preserves that didn't set.

I plan to try re-processing them and adding a pack or two of Sure Jell and see how they do.

As I mentioned above, it worked out well for the blueberry jam.


I'll certainly keep your suggestion in mind for future jam & preserve canning.

Regards,

Prag
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