Jams & Jelly, Tips, Tricks and Good Info
This month my group of Crafty Ladies meets to talk all things Jams and Jellies. We will get to make some and learn how to make these yummy treats at home. In order to prepare for this class, I have been scouring the internet for everything I should know about making jam and jelly at home.
This is all the good info I found. I learned many new things, even though we have been making our own jams and jellies for a couple of years now. I hope you learn something too!
Jams & Jellies
Tips, Tricks and Good Info
Both jam and jelly are made from fruits mixed with sugar and pectin.
Jam: The fruit used, is in pulp or crushed form and is not as stiff or settled as jelly, therefore it spreads unevenly or bumpy.
Jelly: The fruit used is in the form of juice, whether buying 100% Juice from the store, squeezing juice from fresh fruit or crushing fruit and straining all the liquids using cheese cloth or a fine mesh sieve. It has a thicker consistency than jam and spreads more evenly.
Pectin: a soluble gelatin like substance that is used as a setting agent when making jams and jellies. It is extracted from ripe fruits (pectin keeps the fruit walls together in the cell walls as a fruit ripens, overly ripe fruits have less pectin than fruit that have just ripened). (AKA: Soluble Gelatinous Polysaccharide)
*Not all jams and jellies need pectin to set up and may become jams/jellies by reaching a specific temperature for a specific amount of time, and them cooling.
Using pectin ensures a good gel if there is not enough natural pectin in the fruit being used.
Pectin reacts with sugar to make the “gel” but does not necessarily require heat, so sometimes it may be used in freezer recipes.
FACT: Apples and Oranges have the best gelling properties of natural fruit pectin.
FACT: Pectin can lower LDL cholesterol and is considered a dietary fiber because it is not digestible.
Your grandma probably didn’t use pectin. She just stood by the hot, boiling pot until she cooked all the vitamins out of the fruit and cooked it down to a thicker consistency.
Types of Pectin: Liquid and Powder (Regular and Low Sugar) pectin.
Liquid pectin is always added after boiling and then not reheated back to boil but ladled into sterilized jars. Used most commonly in clear jellies.
Dry or Powder pectin must be added then boiled for a specific amount of time to activate the gelling process. Low sugar pectin needs less sugar to activate the pectin.
-Websites vary on opinions whether you can substitute them or not. Know there is a possibility that they me not be replaceable (especially when the recipe calls for liquid pectin).
-Make sure you don’t overcook or, cook for a long time at a low temp, this may cause a stiff jam because the pectin did not break down.
-Make sure the temperature is not too high, or you can boil off all the water and form a stiff jam.
-Stir your jam frequently, jam that is not stirred may become lumpy.
**Commercial Pectin is intended for use with fully ripe but not overripe fruit.**
-Runny jam will occur because of undercooking, make sure to hit a full rolling boil for ONE minute.
-Use the correct amount of pectin/sugar. Too little of either can cause a runny jam.
-Don’t make a double batch, unless you have commercial canning equipment, the temperatures vary too much in home cookware causing uneven heat distribution. This may cause the pectin to break down, forming runny jam that doesn’t set.
-Use fresh pectin, follow the expiration dates.
-Always sterilize your jars before using by passing them through the dishwasher in a hot water cycle to avoid contamination.
I hope you try making your own jam and jelly at home. What jam or jelly have you been dying to make? I would love to hear in the comments below.