Strawberry jam discoloration

jammin_momDecember 8, 2008


I'm new here and have looked using the search engine and just couldn't find the help I need for my problem. I canned many jams this past summer and the only one I seem to be having problems with is my strawberry jam. It has discolored. I used the reduced sugar method(not Pomona) and used the WB(boiling water bath) for 15 minutes in 8OZ jars. First is it safe or should I throw them out? I see no white mold, only the gray/brown of the fruit. The lids are sealed. This is very disappointing and such a waste of money that I don't want to make the same mistake next season. Please help me.



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I think it has something to do with the sugar content. Sugar is a preservative just like salt is. One time I used a reduced sugar recipe and it did the same thing. I did about 60 jars this summer using the full sugar recipe and all mine are very bright and red. 15 minutes seems too long, I only do mine for 10 minutes.

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 6:23PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Strawberry and raspberry jams are prone to discoloration. The rate of color change (i.e. browning) can vary depending upon the variety. So speaking of strawberries, a jam made with Tiogas will discolor much more quickly than a jam made with Hoods. (Hoods have higher levels of pigment and ascorbic acid.)

Exposure to light causes browning; adding a pinch of ascorbic acid to the fruit and storing the jam in a dark closet with no extremes of temperature will assist in color retention.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 6:38PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Was wondering if the entire jar is discolored or just the top? How much head space?
I made low sugar strawberry jam, have no idea what variety, they were excellent fresh and I wanted to use up and not freeze.
I have those stored in the kitchen pantry, closed doors. Processed late August 2008, no color change.
The only discolor I have is from some peach pancake/waffle jam made in 2007 the tops are a bit darker about 1/8th of an inch. Checked last years red raspberry jelly and that is as clear and red as the day I processed it.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 2:11PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The addition of some Ascorbic acid will help reduce the darkening of strawberry jam. Lower sugar can mean quicker spoilage. Instead, I use no sugar and use Splenda instead with maybe a little honey. I add some acid blend to the jam, then taste before its poured into jars. The acid blend is a 1/3 mix of citric, malic, and tarteric acids. Quite acidic!! It helps to boost flavor of most any fruits when they are cooked and sweetened with a pectin added. For me, it adds 'character' to an other wise overly sweet jam or jelly. I like the fruit tartness to also come though and thats why I use it in my jams. The strawberries can also turn brown if they were cooked too long or were scorched while boiling. I add ascorb acid to my apricot preserves too and it helps keep that nice bright orange/yellow color. Adding about a half a teaspoon of teh acid blend per 5 cup batch will definately make it a bit more sour. Suggest that you start with 1/4 yeaspoon in the batch first, and then add a little more to your taste preference. I don't like cloyingly sweet jams or jellies. The supplier below also sells citric acid too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Acid Blend

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 7:07PM
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CA Kate

I've found that Strawberry and red raspberry jams need to have lemon juice added... about 1 Tablespoon per 10 ounces. Also, strawberries do much better as freezer jams; cooking does strange things to strawberries... at least I think so.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 2:00AM
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We did a huge batch of strawberry jam a few years ago, when the local grocery store was practically giving them a way due to some imported-strawberry-sick-people issue and they had stacks of boxes rotting on the shelves.

The jars, stored in a dark room, discolored over time. The contents are still good, however.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 11:19AM
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