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Walnut Creek District

Jams and Jellies FAQ's

jelly preparationWhat happens to jam or jelly when only half the amount of sugar needed is used in making a batch?
A gel cannot form and you wind up with syrup, not jam or jelly.

What is the result when a jam or jelly recipe is doubled?
When a double batch is made and cooked for the usual time, it will be undercooked making it soft and runny. If boiled longer, it will have caramelized flavor and dark color.

Is it necessary to process jams and preserves in a boiling water bath?
Yes. This is the safest way to keep jams and jellies shelf stable and to prevent any bacterial or mold growth. Adding wax to the top of the product is no longer recommended as this encourages mold growth.

Is it all right to use moldy jam?
If there is just a little bit, spoon off the top 1/2 inch before using the product. If there is a lot of mold, throw it out!

Can you substitute powdered pectin for liquid pectin in a recipe?
No. They are not interchangeable.

If freezer jam is too soft, how can you make it thicker?
Bring it to a boil. It should thicken when it cools.

Why is my jelly "gummy"?
It has been overcooked.

What causes crystals to form in grape jelly?
The crystals are tartrate crystals in the grape juice. To remove them, let the crystals settle out of the extracted juice by refrigerating overnight. Strain the juice to remove the crystals before making jelly.