Jalapeno jam sets hard

yardkat(z5 Utah)August 6, 2011

Hi all,

I lurk on this forum every summer/fall, so much information!

I've been making jalapeno jam every year for a number of years, usually making the Ball Blue Book recipe. I've noticed that it usually takes a while to set up, but it also sets really hard. I'd like to be able to have it be a little looser, but don't know what to do since the jalapenos don't behave like fruit in terms of sugar, ripeness, etc. Anyone have any suggestions as to something to try? Less pectin, less boiling, more vinegar?

Thank you in advance!

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readinglady(z8 OR)

Less boiling would be the first option. Less pectin is an option, but you risk not setting at all or getting syrup.

Another option is to let it set however it does and if it's too stiff, stir in 1 T. of warm water when you open the jar.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 4:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Since it is taking awhile to set-up then I don't think you are over-cooking it. If you were boiling it too long then you'd see it setting even before it was in the jar. So less pectin wold be my suggestion.

How much less is going to take some experimentation.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 4:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Oops! Carol and I were posting at the same time. She has much more experience with jams that I do so stick with her suggestions. :)

Dave

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 4:51PM
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yardkat(z5 Utah)

Thanks for your suggestions. I made two batches today, one where I boiled for 7 minutes instead of 10, and one where I boiled for 10 minutes but only put in one packet of pectin. I'll repost with results in a couple of days.
I should qualify that it doesn't set up so hard that it's unusable, it's just a little harder than I might want.
Thanks again for the tips!
Julie

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 5:24PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Dave, you are too complimentary! But thank you.

Are you using liquid pectin or powdered? With liquid you boil for 10 minutes but add the liquid for just the final minute.

Despite its reputation, commercial pectin isn't necessarily reliable or consistent, regardless of how meticulously you follow the instructions. Liquid pectin is notorious for either setting firmly or not setting, period. Of the two, a firmer set than is optimal may be the best you can get.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 8:58PM
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sautesmom

Can you ever switch between liquid and powder? All the pepper recipes I have seen only call for liquid, and as you said, it sets hard or syrup, for no apparent reason.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 12:30AM
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pixie_lou

Carla in Sac - a couple threads down is a thread "Safe Pepper Jelly". I posted the pepper jelly recipe from the box of Ball powder pectin.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:30AM
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2ajsmama

They also have one using no-sugar pectin and honey on their website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Low sugar pepper jelly

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:32AM
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yardkat(z5 Utah)

For the jalapeno I've only used the liquid pectin, for other jams I've experimented with low sugar recipes and powdered pectin with ok results. Yep, I understand the boiling for 10 minutes then only one minute after the pectin is added. I just thought I'd try something different to see if I got a different result.

The jam is all set, both batches look firm. I can pick up the jar and turn it over and the jam doesn't move, but I haven't actually opened the jars to see exactly how it turned out. Over the years it's always been a really firm set with this recipe, so if I can't change it I'll just accept it. I don't have tons of experience making other fruit jams, I've had good luck with raspberry, medium luck with peach, and I made a habanero jam that didn't set at all...
I may have to try the low sugar recipe ajsmama linked to, but I like spicy jalapeno jam.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 12:31PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I make a sweet pepper jelly using the Pomonas powdered pectin and it sets up really nicely, not too loose, not too firm.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 3:25PM
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2ajsmama

I think that if you like it hotter, you can use more jalapenos (just sub for the bell peppers, don't go over the total measurement of peppers in the recipe), or hotter types. I'm not growing any habs, but I might try some kind of pepper jelly with Hinkelhatz, Thai, or Hot Portugals I am growing.

Small Batch has a good Pepper Salsa (really not many tomatoes) I made last year, it would be good on cream cheese and other things you might use jelly on? Very loose, not firm at all. Or are you against any tomatoes?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 3:26PM
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yardkat(z5 Utah)

The verdict is the version with only one packet of pectin is the texture I want. My husband agrees, it's just smoother and has a more appealing texture. The version where I boiled less and used the prescribed 2 packets turned out hard, but tastes spicier, I don't know why that would be since the recipe was exactly the same between the two batches. It's a mystery. I hope using only one packet of pectin will be fairly consistent, because I like the texture better. nom nom, can't stop "testing" it out...

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 8:24PM
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val_s(z5 central IL)

I tried the Pepper Jelly recipe that AJsmama linked to. I made it last week. Just checked and it's still the consistency of water. The only thing I changed was that I didn't add jalapeno peppers but used all green peppers. I didn't want the heat, just the green pepper taste. But this one didn't set for me at all. Not sure why.

I've made tons of other jams before but this is my first year trying to make pepper jelly. Next I'm going to try the one in the Ball pectin package. Hopefully, this one will set.

Val

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:19AM
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casi(5)

I used a recipe from Allrecipes.com for Jalapeno jelly. It calls for 2 packets of the liquid Pectin. My first batch was pretty solid, like you say, eatable but a little hard. I was told to cook the jelly for 10 min., add the pectin and cook for five min. more. So the second time I cooked it for 6, added the pectin and cooked for 5. It came out perfect! Just thought I'd add that to the thread.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 4:05PM
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ekgrows

I've been making hot pepper jelly for years now, and always used the BBB recipe calling for 2 packets of liquid pectin. Set is very stiff. Tried 1.5 packets per batch earlier this year, still a very firm set. This past weekend I made 2 batches - 1 with jalapenos and serranos, the other with ghost peppers and habaneros, and used 1 packet of liquid pectin. They both set great, and are not nearly as stiff. My fear of having a jelly not set always kept me from cutting the pectin, So I'm trying to not beat myself over the head for not trying only 1 packet sooner. I will only use 1 packet from here on out.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 5:56PM
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yardkat(z5 Utah)

"My fear of having a jelly not set always kept me from cutting the pectin, So I'm trying to not beat myself over the head for not trying only 1 packet sooner. I will only use 1 packet from here on out."
Exactly! for me it just turns out better with one packet. I am such a direction follower when it comes to BBB. Except for this year when I got distracted and forgot to add the other half of the divided vinegar. That batch turned out WAY stiff. :)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:14AM
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