Food & Drink

Homemade Jelly setting problem!

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  • Sep 17th, 2020 10:59 pm
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Mar 20, 2009
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Homemade Jelly setting problem!

Image

Was hoping to find some advice for some jelly that did not set (after 48 hours).
I've successfully made jelly before - this is my first failure, so not sure how to proceed.

The recipe that I followed came from here:
https://www.redpathsugar.com/recipe/str ... barb-jelly

The only difference was I multiplied the recipe x3 (rookie mistake)

So:
12 cups strained fruit liquid (50/50 strawberry rhubarb)
3 vanilla bean, split
3 boxes (57g) Certo regular powdered pectin
10½ cups Redpath® Granulated Sugar

Any advice on what to try?
I was considering adding liquid pectin, or maybe no sugar pectin, reheating, and re-canning.
What is less clear - how much should I add? I really do not want to add more sugar.
More importantly - should I consider splitting into 3 batches, then doing the amendments, or do it all at once?

If anyone has advice, would appreciate it.
8 replies
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May 28, 2012
10919 posts
3090 upvotes
Saskatoon
shikotee wrote: Image

Was hoping to find some advice for some jelly that did not set (after 48 hours).
I've successfully made jelly before - this is my first failure, so not sure how to proceed.

The recipe that I followed came from here:
https://www.redpathsugar.com/recipe/str ... barb-jelly

The only difference was I multiplied the recipe x3 (rookie mistake)

So:
12 cups strained fruit liquid (50/50 strawberry rhubarb)
3 vanilla bean, split
3 boxes (57g) Certo regular powdered pectin
10½ cups Redpath® Granulated Sugar

Any advice on what to try?
I was considering adding liquid pectin, or maybe no sugar pectin, reheating, and re-canning.
What is less clear - how much should I add? I really do not want to add more sugar.
More importantly - should I consider splitting into 3 batches, then doing the amendments, or do it all at once?

If anyone has advice, would appreciate it.
It was because you doubled/tripled the recipe. I had that happen with apple jelly once - the result was like a thickened syrup. I think it has something to do with the temperature not getting to a high enough point with the excess amount (even when it's clearly boiling). There are tutorials on how to fix jelly that failed to set, just search "how to reprocess jelly that failed to set". It usually means adding a bit more sugar and some pectin. I would definitely do a jelly set test prior to jarring it again (chill a ceramic plate and add a dollop of the finished jelly and see if it sets).
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Mars2012 wrote: It was because you doubled/tripled the recipe. I had that happen with apple jelly once - the result was like a thickened syrup. I think it has something to do with the temperature not getting to a high enough point with the excess amount (even when it's clearly boiling). There are tutorials on how to fix jelly that failed to set, just search "how to reprocess jelly that failed to set". It usually means adding a bit more sugar and some pectin. I would definitely do a jelly set test prior to jarring it again (chill a ceramic plate and add a dollop of the finished jelly and see if it sets).
I suspect the issue is likely that I did not reach a high enough temperature.
Looking at some videos, my rolling boil was nowhere near as intense.
I opened one jar, and brought it to full rolling boil for over a minute, and poured back into reheated and sterilised jar. Will leave undistrubed for 24h, then will check if it set.
If this resolves things, will do the same for the rest.
If not, will try this:
To fix or “re-set” runny jam or jelly, pour the contents of each jar back into the pot. For 6-8, 8-ounce jars, add another 1/2 cup of sugar mixed with a half box of pectin (or 2 tablespoons of bulk pectin). Reboil for a couple of minutes more and prepare the jars as you would normally, fill and reseal.
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UrbanPoet wrote: Wow you make homemade jam?
I’m so jelly!
I made both jam and jelly.
I also dehydrated a large amount of strawberries - very tasty snack.

The fruit and veggie market near me had many large bags of ripe strawberries for clearance ($2), so snagged like 14 bags over two days. Have been growing and freezing rhubarb throughout summer, so used this up.

When I cut off the strawberry tops, there was no need to be carefull. I left plenty of strawberry with the cut off top, which was then heated (to extract juices) and put into jelly bag (left to drip overnight). For rhubarb, you add some water and heat it until it becomes mush, then put in jelly bag. I kept the rhubarb pulp, which I used to make jam with more rhubarb and strawberries.

@Mars2012

I've now confirmed the problem was temperature.
Remarkable how a few degrees made such a massive difference.
The one I opened and reheated to proper 1 minute rolling boil has now set properly, without having to add anything.

Since nothing needs to be added, do you think I could just water boil the sealed jars?
I would put the jars in cold water in the water canner, then heat to a boil.
Not sure if this would achieve enough heat for it to set though.
I'm going to try this with 1 jar using my instant pot (not to pressure cook - just boil with rack so jar is not touching bottom). If this works, it will be a life saver. Otherwise, will have to empty each jar carefully - the small vanilla bean seeds tend to cling to the jar, so would likely lose many if forced to empty and wash each one.

Edit - I water canned in boiling water for 25 minutes.
In advance, I suspect water-canning the sealed jars will not be hot enough for it to set.
Boiling water is 212f, and I believe the syrup must reach 220f.
Will check it out in the morning, but I suspect I will need to open and reheat them all.
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I've run into this as well. A "full roiling boil" - where it cannot be stirred down - is a must.

Basically it's got to be like hot bubbling lava.
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May 28, 2012
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I rarely hot water bath process my jams and jellies. If you have everything boiling hot, sealing shouldn't be a problem and there is enough sugar in a typical jam/jelly recipe to preserve it (don't so this with low sugar recipes). Always use new lids and check for any nicks on the jars that might affect the seal. I keep the jars in the oven at ~295....the lids, ladle, canning funnel and tongs are in a pot of simmering water. I didn't bother reprocessing my failed batch, I just used it for flavouring club soda, kefir and kombucha.

Reprocessing it would mean taking it out of the jars and going through the sterilizing process again (hot jars and lids). I would break it into smaller batches and add the extra pectin and do the one minute rolling boil. Testing for jelly set might be a good idea.

Here is one resource I found that explains why you shouldn't double jam recipe Canning 101: Why You Shouldn’t Double Batches of Jam

First off, it’s not recommended practice because if you double the amount of jam in the pot, it just won’t cook as well or effectively. Most jam recipes already call for you to use the widest pot you have, for maximum surface area. This large surface area leads to faster evaporation of water. Fast cooking leads to the freshest tasting, best textured jam.

However, if you double the amount of jam in your pot, you greatly increase the cooking time, because there’s so much more product in the pot that needs to be cooked down. This can lead to rubbery batches, burning and jam that doesn’t set. It can also as much as double the amount of time you spend cooking the jam.
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abstract808 wrote: I've run into this as well. A "full roiling boil" - where it cannot be stirred down - is a must.

Basically it's got to be like hot bubbling lava.
Yup - lesson learned. I settled for somewhat bubbling, but did not reach lava bubbling.
Since I was using vanilla pods, I foolishly thought they might burn on the bottom, so I rushed things before achieving lava mode.

For anyone who has access to rhubarb - I highly reccomend this recipe (this was my first time trying it).
Smeared some peanut butter and my jelly on some crackers - so tasty!
Strawberry and Rhubarb has been a combo since childhood, but the subtle vanilla taste really takes it to such a higher level of amazingness.


Mars2012 wrote: I rarely hot water bath process my jams and jellies. If you have everything boiling hot, sealing shouldn't be a problem and there is enough sugar in a typical jam/jelly recipe to preserve it (don't so this with low sugar recipes). Always use new lids and check for any nicks on the jars that might affect the seal. I keep the jars in the oven at ~295....the lids, ladle, canning funnel and tongs are in a pot of simmering water. I didn't bother reprocessing my failed batch, I just used it for flavouring club soda, kefir and kombucha.

Reprocessing it would mean taking it out of the jars and going through the sterilizing process again (hot jars and lids). I would break it into smaller batches and add the extra pectin and do the one minute rolling boil. Testing for jelly set might be a good idea.

Here is one resource I found that explains why you shouldn't double jam recipe Canning 101: Why You Shouldn’t Double Batches of Jam

First off, it’s not recommended practice because if you double the amount of jam in the pot, it just won’t cook as well or effectively. Most jam recipes already call for you to use the widest pot you have, for maximum surface area. This large surface area leads to faster evaporation of water. Fast cooking leads to the freshest tasting, best textured jam.

However, if you double the amount of jam in your pot, you greatly increase the cooking time, because there’s so much more product in the pot that needs to be cooked down. This can lead to rubbery batches, burning and jam that doesn’t set. It can also as much as double the amount of time you spend cooking the jam.
Ditto - I never do the water bath for jam or jelly.
I gave it a try because I did the water bath last week when I canned some peaches (first time).

I wash jars and rings, then put jar in oven, which I heat to 350 (then turn off).
I also boil the rings, then toss in the lids after I've turned it off.

I ended up reprocessing them all in one shot this morning.
Using a small silicone spatula, was able to remove mostly everything from jars.
Washed them all out, then re-did the process I mentioned above.
I reused the lids. In my experience, you can get away with re-using a couple of times, so long as the sticky stuff on the lid is fully intact.

When I was emptying the jars that did not set, it was interesting to see the differences of what came out.
Some were somewhat gelled, while others were liquid only.
This time around, I went over a minute after reaching lava rolling boil.

Since I went for a very high fill line with my original faulty batch, I was able to refill the same amount of jars, now with a lower fill line. Fingers crossed that they will all set properly. Am planning to give a few away to friends and family.

In the future, will definitely stick with single batch recipes.
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My recipe for Seville Marmalade warns to cook/process only 4 cups of oranges with 4 cups of sugar at a time.
The recipe takes 8 separate batches. The marmalade turns out a light colour with a fresher taste.
I use a thermometer to tell when the marmalade is set.

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