Freezer jam question

btbarbara(7b/8a)July 16, 2011

Please don't laugh but what is it supposed to look like? I made my first batch this afternoon (strawberry banana). So far, it TASTES incredible but it's a very different consistency from what you get in the store. It's not "clear" or gel-like at all. Just pretty much like crushed fruit. Is that just the difference between fresh and insanely processed? Sugar vs. HFCS? Or did I mess up somewhere?

Also, the recipe said to mix the sugar/pectin with the fruit and stir for 3 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Pour in jars and let sit for 30 minutes. I stirred for longer than 3 minutes because it was still pretty grainy but I'm wondering if I should have stirred even longer until it was a more syrupy consistency. I'm not sure if I was supposed to put the lids on and let stand at room or temp or leave uncovered and let stand in the jars or go ahead and put it in the fridge and just wait 30 minutes before eating it. I went ahead and put in the fridge right away but after a couple of hours, it still just looks like crushed fruit in a jar.

I thought I had 2 packs of instant pectin but when the time came, I could only find one so I only used half of my crushed fruit. Got to get some more pectin and finish up tonight so if I did something wrong, hopefully I can figure it out before round 2. Thank you!

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readinglady(z8 OR)

Freezer jam does look different than regular jams. It sounds like yours is what would be expected.

Personally, I've found the "new method" (i.e. uncooked) does often result in a somewhat grainy texture. I follow the old method, which includes a gentle heating step.

1. Prep berries. Add lemon juice and stir. Sift in pectin and stir till thoroughly mixed. Allow to sit 30 minutes.

2. Gradually stir in sugar and heat to 100 degrees, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pull off heat, pour into containers and allow to rest until thoroughly cooled (no condensation). Then cover and store.

You could also follow the method you used but warm your sugar in the oven before stirring it in. Again, this speeds up the dissolving.

I never have figured out how you're supposed to achieve a completely smooth texture (i.e. no grit) with the current method.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 6:47PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I should have mentioned that when the sugar is fully dissolved, the jam is "clear." It's the undissolved sugar that's causing the cloudiness.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 8:01PM
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Awesome...thanks! This did set up after a while and I ate some with peanut butter and crackers. Wowza! I may never buy jam again. This tasted so much more like fresh fruit than regular jam/jelly. I didn't notice it being gritty when I ate it, but like I said, it was on pb and crackers.

I used the Ball instant pectin and the recipe only called for 2/3 c. sugar to 1 2/3 c. fruit. That may be part of the reason it doesn't seem gritty even though it's not totally smooth either. The Sure-Jell package calls for 4 c. sugar to 2 c. fruit. I'm sure that much more sugar would make a huge difference in the texture (and the taste!)

I've sprinkled sugar on berries and left in the fridge overnight before and the sugar dissolves overnight and gets syrupy so it's possible this will over time too. Whatever happens, I'm thrilled with my first attempt! My grandmother used to make regular jams/jellies/preserves and those were worlds better than storebought but like I said, this tasted just like fresh fruit.

Thanks so much for your help and I'll try the "old" method of heating next time and see how it comes out. I see lots of fun experiments in my future! All in the name of research, of course :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 8:27PM
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