Reprocessing Peaches and Peach-based jams

cmhnycJuly 19, 2010


I made a bunch of peach jams and jams using peach as a base (peach/blueberry/strawberry and peach/blueberry/raspberry) about a month ago. I used Pomona's Pectin to make the jam but did not use lemon, as the box instructed for peach/peach based jams. I called the Jamline to ask whether I could reprocess them, adding the appropriate amount of lemon in this time around. The woman on the phone mentioned that I can add lemon and reprocess them but she wasn't sure how long I should reboil the jam so that I could be 'in the clear' if any botulism or other bad stuff had started to grow. Does anyone have any guidance on how long I should boil the jam again before rejarring?

Thanks in advance!

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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Botulism isn't an issue in high acid products like fruit jams. I've made many a batch with Pomona pectin and didn't use lemon. Have you tried the jam? I think it's probably fine as it is. It would be a flavor issue, not safety.

The guideline for reprocessing is 24 hours. I would NOT open them up after a month and reprocess. Again, probably not a safety issue, but you may end up with rubber cement texture.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:23PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Jeez. As Deanna said, botulism is not an issue. Mold, perhaps, if the jars didn't seal, but no way botulism.

Are the jams too thin? What's the issue?


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:49PM
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Hi - thanks so much for your replies -

The jams actually jelled well, sealed well and tasted quite good at the time of sealing. The woman at the Pomona's Pectin Jamline said that there was a "food safety issue" siince I didn't add the lemon since the peaches weren't in an "acid-safe zone." I had read that botulism begins to grow at a ph level of 4.8 and that peaches can have a ph level in the low 4s, so assumed it was botulism that she was referring to - though perhaps she was just referencing mold? I am making the jams to give as favors at my wedding, so want to make sure they're 100% safe to serve.

It sounds like I may need to do nothing? (which I would love, since I will have to reprocess about 50 jars!)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 4:19PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

You mentioned that you used a fruit mix also, so, personally I wouldn't be concerned. You did not mention if you processed in a water bath or, if you were using full or reduced sugar for the batches.

I have no idea why they would tell someone to re process after a month.
That is a bad idea.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 5:04PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Carol - question please. I 'think' I know the answer from your comment above but want to be sure.

Wife and I have always assumed that the added lemon juice in some peach based jam recipes was for color preservation only (because they are so inclined to turn dark) and not for acidification. And that it is optional regardless of the pectin used? Right? Wrong?


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 5:05PM
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Hi Liz,
I was using a water bath and reduced sugar for the batches (1 cup sugar per 2 cups fruit). I used a peach/other fruit mix for some of the jams and just plain old peach for some of the others.

Out of curiosity - why can you reprocess after 24 hours and not after a month if the jars were sealed? (sorry I am a bit new to all of this)


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 5:08PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

OK, generally the line for high-acid as opposed to low-acid is 4.6 pH. The lower the number the more acid the product is, so lemons are 2.00-2.60 and peaches are 3.30-4.05.

There's nothing marginal about peaches. They're an acid food and there aren't any botulism concerns unless you added low-acid product (which you didn't since berries are also high-acid). I suppose hypothetically if you canned a peach-banana jam or a peach-melon jam, you might have an issue, but here there is none.

The lady you spoke to is mistaken. Think about it. If she were correct, we'd all be adding lemon juice to canned peaches.

So no, I wouldn't re-process. If the seals are good, the only issue is possibly a speedier darkening or perhaps a slightly flatter flavor (depends on the peach variety) due to the lack of lemon juice. Those are trivial. You can save yourself a whole lot of time, effort and expense.

I'm with Dave. In a conventional jam (not Pomona Pectin) you sometimes need additional acid not for food safety but for the set. Regular jams require a particular balance of acid, pectin and sugar. Added lemon juice can improve the setting qualities.

But with Pomona that's not an issue, so in their case it's color retention and/or added piquancy of flavor.

The 24-hour limit is because normally when people re-process it's because seals are untrustworthy, processing time is too short, some crucial ingredient is omitted like citric acid in tomatoes. Those are all safety issues. Beyond the 24-hour point, there may be spoilage or contamination that is not corrected by re-processing.

With a low-sugar jam there's the risk of mold spores. You might not be able to see them but they could be there. With a full-sugar jam, frankly, if someone wanted to re-process beyond the 24-hour period, I don't see any reason why they couldn't.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:05PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Thanks Carol! ;)

why can you reprocess after 24 hours and not after a month

Cara the time limit is within 24 hours, not after 24 hours as you said. Just wanted to clarify.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 7:16PM
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Thanks Carol, Dave and all! This is all incredibly helpful - and I am VERY happy not to have to spend the weeks leading up to my wedding not reprocessing all of my jams. :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 8:33PM
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