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First time jelly maker- question

Posted by blondie859111 10 (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 30, 11 at 20:42

I am new to this forum, having posted on the kitchen forum for a couple of years. My kitchen is now finished and today I made crabapple jam, using Ball pectin. The first batch I tried a recipe that called for no pectin, but I could not get the temp up to the 221 degrees they asked for, so I went with the pectin recipe. The directions said not to tighten the rings too much because air needed to escape so I just loosly tightened them.
I used the quilted Ball jars with the lids and rings.
My question(s) is this:
When will it "set up", because its watery looking in the jars after the hot water bath, and the waterbath water had some crabapple jam color in it so something leaked.
What do you think? Thank you?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: First time jelly maker- question

but I could not get the temp up to the 221 degrees they asked for

Were you cooking the jelly at a lower temperature? What kind of pot did you use?

The jell temperature is 8 degrees above boiling, so if you were at altitude, that wouldn't be 221 degrees. Is that an issue?

Regarding the watery looking it does sound as if the rings weren't tightened enough and water leaked in. You want the rings to be "fingertip tight." So they're not loose at all, but they aren't ratcheted down to the max either.

You can probably salvage the jelly by pouring it out of the jars, bringing the mixture back to the boil and evaporating off excess water. If the jelly itself is set or somewhat-set under a layer of water, you may be able to pour off most of the water first, which will reduce the cooking time needed. Then the jars need to be cleaned and re-heated and fresh lids used. Rings, of course, are reusable.

I know this can be frustrating, but it's all part of the learning curve. Next time you might want to try the no-pectin crabapple jelly again, once you have a clearer sense of what the issues are. Crabapple is an easy setter and a good jelly to begin with.


RE: First time jelly maker- question

Thank you for taking the time to help me. I was using my new range with a "powerboil" setting and had it up as high as it would go. I used a Woldgang Puck stainless pot that looks somewhat like a wok. The sides go out and it has a very wide opening at the top- wider than a stockpot. It has very good contact with the glasstop cooktop.
Thank you for explaining fingertip tight. My approx altitude is 550 ft above sea level.
I still have half of the apples left and will get new lids and rings and try again with pectin. I also just wonder if I did not add enough sugar to get the temperature up? Do you think I would have more success with a stock pot? Not sure if an instant read thermometer that I use for bread was the correct way to go, either.

RE: First time jelly maker- question

I think you would have much better luck with a deep stockpot and it will need a lid and some sort of rack in the bottom just as a canner does.

Perhaps using a more standard recipe that provides proper instructions (such as the ones included in the box of pectin) will also serve you better. That way you don't have to worry about using any thermometer.

If you haven't yet explored NCHFP and all the canning info there, it is well worth your while to do so.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - How to make jams and jellies

RE: First time jelly maker- question

Thank you Dave, that is quite a link!

RE: You're welcome

NCHFP is the recognized authority for all home canning information. Be sure to bookmark it as it covers just about everything.


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