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Old 06-18-2010, 10:24 PM   #1
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Will This Jam be Safe for Consumption?

I made my first batch of jam today. I don't have the proper equipment like tongs and racks, but it went well, except for a few minor mishaps.

I listened to the snap, crackle, pop of the jars sealing once out of the water bath, but...one of my jars, as I brought it out of the boiling water flipped out of my grasp and landed upside down on the counter where a little jam juice spilled out. Though my nervousness subsided as I listened to its uncharacteristic pop.

Is it still good?

I put agar in my jam just as an extra precaution so I know my jam will be set.

Still good?

The spoon I used to taste test to see if it needed more sugar was dipped into the hot jam before ladling into the jars.

Good?

One of my jam jars while sterilizing slightly poked through the surface of the boiling water, I tried to turn it so the whole jar would be sterile, but it didn't really workout. Once again, is it good?

I don't want to make myself or my family sick. I wonder if I should throw the jars into the freezer?

I was nervous about jumping into the world of canning and preserving because of the fear of making people ill. I'm beginning to regret my decision to try this new venture.

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Old 06-18-2010, 11:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
one of my jars, as I brought it out of the boiling water flipped out of my grasp and landed upside down on the counter where a little jam juice spilled out. Though my nervousness subsided as I listened to its uncharacteristic pop.
Put that jar in the refrigerator and eat it up. It did not seal properly so it cannot be stored in the pantry. Since the jam has no preservatives it will only last a short time (weeks) in the frig.
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I put agar in my jam just as an extra precaution so I know my jam will be set.
I don't know why you did that. It has nothing to do with the jam setting and Agar is not approved for canning. Unknown what it will do to the jam over time.
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The spoon I used to taste test to see if it needed more sugar was dipped into the hot jam before ladling into the jars.
Were you using a "no sugar needed" pectin? Sugar is not adjustable in normal jam recipes.
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One of my jam jars while sterilizing slightly poked through the surface of the boiling water, I tried to turn it so the whole jar would be sterile, but it didn't really workout. Once again, is it good?
There is no requirement anymore for pre-sterilizing jars as long as the processing time is 10 minutes or more. The process is more to warm the jar to accept the hot jam.

There is little or no chance of making anyone ill with jams, unless you totally ignore the boiling water bath processing or you leave an opened jar in the refrigerator for too long....mold forms.

More important is that you under the different types of pectins, why they are different, and to follow recipes EXACTLY.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:26 PM   #3
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I wouldn't worry about it. Just put that one jar in the fridge.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:29 AM   #4
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Thank you for taking the time to help me out. Yes, I know that you need to follow jam recipes exactly, and that was my intention, but things didn't go as planned. It had about 3c sugar, 6c mashed fruit, 1.5 boxes of pectin. I like my jam like store bought, not runny.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:18 AM   #5
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Runny occurs when things don't gel properly. Gelling is a chemical reaction with the pectin, sugar and fruit in an exact proportion to work. I still bow to my elders who are able to achieve it every time.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #6
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Yes I wish I could make perfect jam every time. I want to make it as good as the people who sell it at my local farmers market.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:39 AM   #7
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not hard if you follow directions precisely (amount of sugar, pectin, boiling times). The couple of times that I've had it not jell (like maybe only twice in my life), I just call it syrup! ha! I also find that if I put a bit of alcohol in when I take it off the heat (like vodka), it tastes more like fresh fruit, really brings out the flavor. Just don't breathe in the fumes when pouring in the booze... it evaporates immediately, sending the fumes right up your nose!
Not sure if it's an old wive's tale or not, but weather can play a role in setting of jams and jellies. It seems like the only times it didn't jell for me was when there was lightning...
(or is it gel? ha!)
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Lots of practice and experience and probably not using pectin designed for home use, when you become experienced. Most high volume producers use a product called "Pomona Pectin" which uses Calcium for the chemical reaction rather than sugar, similar to "no sugar" pectins. Of course it is more expensive and harder to get, but when you don't want a thousand jars of runny jam......

I don't know of ANY home jam maker that has not made their share of syrup. It goes great on waffles and ice creams. Its just a fact of life.
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:47 PM   #9
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If you are boiling water bath canning, the water needs to be an inch or two over the tops of the jars--for next time. Enjoy what you have made. Jam is a pretty safe item to make, the sugar and the acid from the fruit help preserve it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:37 PM   #10
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I'd listen to McNerd.

As for the agar... isn't that made from algae or something? I would not consider the jam to be safe. Especially since you have a non-acidic plant product not designed for canning in your jars. Botulism is the most lethal substance to humans on the planet. It is odorless, tasteless and colorless. I would refrigerate them and eat them quick. That's just me, with over 20 years of canning experience and a huge amount of caution and "play by the rules" attitude talking.
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