Crystals in Jam problem, can this jam be saved??

dirtundermyfingersSeptember 11, 2010

My neighbor had me come over today and she made raspberry jam yesterday and it was sugary, You could taste and feel the sugar in the jam, it was almost crunchy. I see that it could be caused by too much sugar or not cooking long enough, so is there anything that can be done to save it. She is on a fixed income and feels awful that it didn't turn out after all the money put into it:) I hope that there is a way to save it.


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readinglady(z8 OR)

I can suggest some things; she'll just have to try them out to see how they work.

Gently re-warm the jam (don't boil) and add a little acid (citric acid powder, ascorbic acid powder or lemon juice) to prevent dissolved crystals from re-crystallizing.

Extra "insurance" to prevent re-crystallization is to add a tablespoon or so of corn syrup, golden syrup or mild honey. You need a different form of sugar to interfere with the binding of sugar crystals.

Depending upon the size of the batch, I'd be inclined to add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of corn syrup, stir in and gently re-warm until crystals are dissolved. It may take a while.

Another option is to use the microwave, but I tend to avoid this method as it's easy to get the jam too hot or unevenly hot.

If this doesn't work let us know and we'll see if we can come up with something else.

She does have my sympathy. It is very hard to face loss of product when money is tight.

Also, if this jam is just for her, she can save opening jars and wasting lids (if it's been processed) and just do this jar-by-jar. In that case I'd probably use a microwave on a lower setting, adding a bit of lemon juice and a bit of corn syrup, stirring and warming.

Same method, just one jar at a time.

In either case, you have to have patience. Trying to speed up the process may just make things worse. Once you can no longer feel sugar crystals (take some jam between your fingers - it should feel smooth and non-gritty), then cool and refrigerate tightly sealed or re-process.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 11:34PM
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Thanks Carol :) I knew that someone here could help me out. I told her I would check in here and someone would know what to do.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 11:52PM
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That happened to me this year, my first time making freezer jam. Who can't make freezer jam? Me, apparently. Mine didn't set, in addition to being gritty. Was this a problem with hers?

To fix it, I dumped it all into a pot, added a package of no-sugar-needed pectin, brought the thawed runny gritty mess to a boil, and it set like a charm, with no more grittiness.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 12:08AM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

Just for future reference, the crystal problem is apparently caused by sugar not being stirred into the jam and thoroughly dissolved before the mixture is brought to a boil. This is what I've read in "The Joy of Jams, Jellies and other Sweet Preserves" by Zeidrich.

So following this advice from the book, I first bring the fruit and pectin to a boil, then remove from the heat and let it cool just enough to stop boiling. Add the sugar, stir in thoroughly (wipe down the sides of the pot to get any stray sugar crystals off), and return to heat to get back to a full rolling boil. So far following this method, I've had no problems with sugar crystals in my jellies.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:55AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

1. If the fruit mixture is still cold when the sugar is added, crystals can form.

2. If the fruit and sugar mixture is not gently warmed to dissolve before boiling, crystals can form.

3. If the recipe has too much sugar or not enough acid, crystals can form.

4. If crystals form on the side of the pan and are then stirred into the jam, the mixture will crystalize.

The same rules apply for jam as for candy-making. Basically there are a hundred ways for the process to go wrong.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 2:00PM
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