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Old 06-15-2006, 04:21 PM   #1
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Smile Jam setting problem

I am a new member and would like to get help on where I went wrong with my jam making. As it was my first time I did not recognise the "setting" time so my jam did not set - can anyone tell me where I went wrong? I would like advice please. Thank you!

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Old 06-15-2006, 06:46 PM   #2
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Exclamation

It's easy to know when your jam is set. While the mixture is cooking, refrigerate a small plate. Then, near the end of cooking time, put a small amount of the mixture onto the plate (say, half a teaspoonful - I always put the sample on the edge of the plate, the coolest part). It will cool quickly, and if you can push it around with your finger, and it wrinkles, then your jam is set. If it's a bit runny still, cook a little longer. Things can happen quite quickly near the end of cooking time, so do the test every minute or so, making sure the plate stays cold.

Alternatively, and only if you're brave, give the jam a quick stir, lift out the spoon and wait until it cools a bit. Then run your finger along the spoon. The small amount you take off onto your finger will cool very quickly, and you can tell from its consistency whether the jam is set or not. I've been known to burn said finger more than once using this method, so be careful - a wooden spoon will get less hot than a metal spoon! You will notice, too, that the spoon will stay coated much longer when the jam is ready.

If the wretched stuff just WON'T set, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and cook a little longer. I've never known this to fail, and I've never used commercial pectin.

BTW, most jams require a really full rolling boil when cooking. None of this wimpy simmering thing! You need to watch your jams - things can happen quite quickly. Like burning on the bottom of the saucepan. Use common sense and experience to judge how high your heat is.
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:01 AM   #3
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Hi Tasha - welcome to DiscussCooking!

The USDA has a very good website, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which has a very good section on Making Jams and Jellies. The information Daisy was giving you is covered on the page, Testing Jelly without Added Pectin - and has pictures showing how the jam should sheet off a spoon (without burning your finger).

I use a triple test method. (1) I use a candy thermometer to keep tabs on my temp progress. Once it reached the target temp (8-9 degrees F above the boiling point of water) - then I (2) use the spoon - I've learned that just getting up to temp doesn't always do it ... sometimes it needs to be cooked a little while longer before it will gel. And, finally when it reaches the sheet stage off the spoon (3) the plate test - I put a small salad plate in the freezer when I start cooking ... and then drop a little jam on it and put it back in the freezer for about a minute or two ... if it gels on the plate I know I'm ready to proceed.

If I'm up to temp and it doesn't want to sheet - I cook a few minutes more. If it still doesn't want to sheet or gel on the plate .... I know I need to add a little more acid, like Daisy said.

Of course - this depends on using a proven recipe and following it exactly without making changes or substitutions like using sugar substitues for sugar, etc.
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Old 06-16-2006, 03:04 PM   #4
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It would help if Tasha3 told us what kind of jam she made and whether she used pectin or boiled down method. Some fruit like cheeries and blueberries will not jell without pectin. I use the boiled down method except for those. If you used pectin, you can bring to a boil and add more pectin to force setting. Look up the exact amts to be sure of it setting.
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Old 06-16-2006, 03:19 PM   #5
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Welcome to this site, Tasha3! As you can see, the people here really know their stuff. Hey, I sure hope you didn't throw out your jam. If it doesn't set, just put it in containers and freeze it. (You can use it as a topping for pancakes, waffles, biscuits, ice cream, etc.) At least you won't waste it as well as your time and efforts. I used to make jelly and jam, but now I freeze most of my fruit. I don't like the long cooking process and especially the use of too much sugar. Good Luck! Keep on Jamming!?
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Old 06-18-2006, 01:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swann
It would help if Tasha3 told us what kind of jam she made and whether she used pectin or boiled down method. Some fruit like cheeries and blueberries will not jell without pectin. I use the boiled down method except for those. If you used pectin, you can bring to a boil and add more pectin to force setting. Look up the exact amts to be sure of it setting.
This was my exact first thought too Swann.

1. What are you making Jam out of?
2. How much acid does it have in it? (you may need to be adding lemon juice)
3. Are you using Pectin?
4. Natural Pectin or Modified (such as Sure Jell)?
5. How are you sealing them?
  • Boiling Water Bath (BWB) Canner?
  • Hot Pack? (Filling jars and turning upside down on counter)
  • Wax Seal?
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Old 06-24-2006, 12:45 AM   #7
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Jam/jellies setting

I ran into this problem the other night making blackberrry jam, I was in the
process of teaching this young friend of my son how to make jams/jellies.
In the comotion of cooking it we did`nt cook it long enough and it did`nt
set. So the next day I poured it back into the pot. and recooked. I use the MCP pectin and it calls for cooking it 4 minutes for jams and 2 minutes for
jellies after you have added the sugar and it comes to a rolling boil. I use
the hot pack system. and they all came out set and ready to go the next
morning.
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Old 06-24-2006, 04:15 PM   #8
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I had that same problem when I made jam in my bread machine.

I don't think I used enough pectin in it though.


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Old 06-24-2006, 10:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey123
I had that same problem when I made jam in my bread machine. I don't think I used enough pectin in it though.
Did you follow the recipe exactly? Was the recipe designed for your brand/model of bread machine?

Liquid and powdered pectins are not readily interchangeable. They are used differently, at different times in the cooking process, and have different processing requirements.
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:47 PM   #10
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Yes, I did, and yes, it IS designed for use with my machine.


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