Tips for the perfect batch of Jam

There is nothing more disappointing than when a jelly doesn’t set or your jam separates or pickles or preserves float or change colour. Don’t take it as a personal failure! There is a lesson hidden in the jar and once you learn what caused this particular batch not to turn out the way you liked, you are one step closer to making the perfect batch the next time.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you make the perfect batch of jam every time.

Jams, jellies and marmalades are all made from a balanced combination of four ingredients and the correct proportion of each of these in relation to the other is required to achieve the right set.

  •      Fruit
  •      Sugar
  •      Pectin
  •      Acid

Too little sugar, acid or pectin in proportion to the fruit and your jam will remain liquidy

Too much sugar, acid or pectin and your jam will be stiff

Thinking of speeding up the preparation time for your batch of jam? Put that food processor or blender back in the cupboard! Using one of these handy kitchen tools to chop or crush your fruit could lead to some rather disappointing results:

  • The pureed fruit will be filled with air bubbles and this will lead to additional foam during cooking
  • There will be a higher risk to having the fruit float in the jar
  • You will release way more liquid from the fruit this way than if you were to cut or chop by hand.
  • This can upset the balance of the recipe and you can end up with too liquidy a jam
    • To cook off this extra liquid will require extra cooking time and can lead to burning your jar

Always remember not to double recipes to increase yield. They may fail to set and potentially separate as they cool.

Want to make jam with a sugar substitute or with less sugar, purchase a pectin designed specifically for this purpose and follow the directions on the box carefully

Always check the expiration date on the pectin and follow the instructions for its use carefully.

What tips or tricks do you have for the perfect batch of jam every time?