Fixing Jam that Won’t Jell

Author: Meera, June 19, 2014

 

Apricots from the local farmer's markets arrive in late May in N. California

Apricots from the local farmer’s markets arrive in late May in N. California

 

It happens in jam-making. You do everything right and the jam has a lovely color, flavor, and texture but remains runny long after the jars have cooled following the boiling water process. What to do?

 

 

Apricots lmake great-tasting jams, jellies, and leathers

Apricot jam tastes great on almost any type of toast

 

 

Reprocess¬† the jam in small batches (a quart at a time). A quart of jam fills four (8-ounce jars) or eight (4-ounce jars). Jam needs sugar, pectin, and lemon (acid) to properly jell. A batch I recently made turned out runny and I figured the fruit probably didn’t have enough pectin.

 

 

Overripe fruit has lower amounts of naturally occurring pectin whereas unripened fruit has higher amounts of pectin. Go figure!

 

If the fruit is super ripe (like the lug of apricots I used), the jam will need more pectin to properly jell. It should be reprocessed within 24 to 48 hours. Beyond that time frame, consider other options like using the runny jam as ice cream topping.

 

 

Emptying jam back into a cooking pot is the first step in repairing a batch that didn't jell

Emptying jam back into a cooking pot is the first step in repairing a batch that hasn’t jelled

 

 

The initial step in the reprocessing is to remove the rubber-seal lids and pour all the jam into a pot. Rewash the jars (they will need to be hot when you put jam back into them. You’ll want use new lids, but you can reuse the rings. Heat the rings and new lids with rubber seals in a pot of simmering water.

 

 

Rings can be reused when remaking the jam, but the lids with rubber seals must be new

Rings can be reused when remaking the jam but its recommended to use new lids to ensure good seals

 

 

When the jars are ready to come out of the dishwasher) and the lids are simmering under water in a shallow pan, then prepare the sugar/lemon juice/pectin mixture. Also, place a metal spoon into a glass with water and ice cubes to test the jam after repairing it.

 

 

For each quart-size batch of jam, you will need 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 4 teaspoons of powdered pectin and about 1/4 cup of water to dissolve everything. Stir well.

 

 

Add the sugar/acid/pectin mixture to the runny jam and cook until it reaches a roiling boil, stirring with a long wooden spoon. Boil for one minute. Remove the jam from the heat.

 

 

Jam is the right consistency when it coagulates rather than runs off the spoon

Jam is the right consistency when it coagulates rather than runs off the spoon

 

 

Test the jam for right consistency by placing some onto the stainless steel cold spoon. If it clumps and hangs, not running off, it will jell correctly.

 

 

Pour the jam into the hot jars. Wipe the mouths, if necessary to ensure a good seal. Cap each jar with a lid and ring. Process the jars submerged in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, or according to your recipe.

 

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment letting me know if you’ve tried this process and how it worked for you. Don’t forget to tell me what kind of jam you repaired.

 

 

 

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