My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell – Can I Fix It?

We give you different fixes for different problems, but first . . .

jars with clock smaller1. Are your jars completely cool? Has it been 12 to 24 hours since you took the jars out of the water bath? Jam or jelly made with Pomona’s Pectin has to be completely cool to reach its full jell. Give it the time it needs and you may get a pleasant surprise!

 

2. If your jam/jelly is completely cool and still has not jelled, do this test: Put one jar in the refrigerator until it is well chilled.

Putting jar in refrigerator smaller

3. When well chilled, remove the jar from the refrigerator and look to see if it has jelled. Sometimes refrigeration can bring on the jell.

4. If yes, leave the jar on the counter until it comes back to room temperature to see if it retains the jell.

5. If it retained the jell, refrigerate the rest of your jars until well chilled. Jars can be stored at room temperature once jelled.

jars in refrigerator smaller

6. If your jam/jelly jelled in the refrigerator but lost some or all of its jell when returned to room temperature; or if refrigeration did nothing for your jam/jelly, you may be able to fix it, but first . . .

 

the thinkerDiagnose the problem

Knowing why your jam/jelly didn’t jell puts you on the path to fixing it. Please review all of the questions and potential problems before jumping to a fix. Sometimes there is more than one problem, and that may change the fix that will work for you.

Measuring Problems

Did you measure the mashed fruit or juice correctly? If you used more mashed fruit or juice than the recipe called for, you can add more pectin.
😛  Choose Fix A, B, or C.

Most Pomona's recipes call for 4 cups of mashed fruit or juice.

Most Pomona’s recipes call for 4 cups of mashed fruit or juice.

 

Did you measure the pectin correctly? It’s always a good idea to double check your measurements. If you know you put in too little pectin —
🙁  Choose Fix A, B, or C.

Measuring Spoons

 

Did you measure whole berries or pieces of fruit instead of mashed fruit? When recipes call for cups of mashed fruit, you need to mash the fruit before measuring. If you measure whole berries or pieces of fruit, you do not have the full amount of fruit that the recipe requires. Therefore, the honey and sugar ranges on the Pomona’s recipe sheet become too high for the pectin to fully dissolve. This will result in a poor jell and may also cause graininess or grittiness.
😯  Choose Fix D. 

Calcium Water Problem

video - measuring calcium water croppedDid you forget to add the calcium water? Pomona’s Pectin jells in the presence of calcium. Fruit may have natural calcium in it, but if it doesn’t you need to add the calcium water to bring on the jell.
😀  Choose Fix E.

Pectin Problem

Have you stored your pectin cool and dry? Pomona’s Pectin should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or colder. If you store Pomona’s under high heat conditions, it will degrade and lose its potency. Storing in an airtight container prevents exposure to moisture. Stored properly, Pomona’s will last for many years.
😕  Choose Fix A, B, or C using a new box of Pomona’s Pectin.

Fruit or Juice Related Problems

Did you puree the fruit instead of mashing it or did you remove the seeds from berry or currant jam? Because the pectin has less pulp to work with when you puree or remove seeds, you may need more pectin than called for in the recipe.
😎  Choose Fix A, B, or C.

Did you add too much water when making your own juice for jelly? This can result in a thinner juice that needs more pectin to jell well.
😐  Choose Fix A, B, or C.

Did you use pre-sweetened juice for your jelly? When you use pre-sweetened juice, the sweetener that is already in the juice makes the honey and sugar ranges on the Pomona’s recipe sheet too high for the pectin to fully dissolve. This will result in a poor jell and may cause graininess or grittiness.
😉  If your jelly is NOT grainy or gritty, Choose Fix C.
🙁  If your jelly IS grainy or gritty, Choose Fix F.

Did your juice have preservatives in it? Preservatives in the juice can affect the jell.
😡  Unfortunately, there is no Fix for this.

Sweetener Problems

Did you stir the pectin into more sweetener than the recipe’s sweetener range calls for? Pomona’s Pectin only dissolves fully in a low-sweetener mixture. Staying within the sweetener range of a Pomona’s recipe or using the amount of sweetener specified in a Pomona’s recipe will assure a low-sweetener mixture. Dissolving Pomona’s Pectin in a higher-sweetener mixture will result in a poor jell and may cause graininess or grittiness. For sweeter jam/jelly, additional sweetener can always be added after the pectin is dissolved.
😉  If your jam or jelly is NOT grainy or gritty, Choose Fix C.
😐  If your jam or jelly IS grainy or gritty, Choose Fix F.

Does your jam or jelly have chewy clumps in it? There are several scenarios that can cause the pectin to form chewy clumps when it is added to the fruit mixture.
1. The pectin was stirred directly into the fruit mixture.
2. The pectin was stirred into an amount of sweetener below the low end of the sweetener range.
3. The pectin was not well mixed throughout the sweetener.
4. The pectin was stirred into a sugar with larger crystals, like turbinado sugar. The pectin may not mix well with these larger crystals.
😕  Choose Fix G.

Example of large sugar crystals. Photo by warrenski flickr.com http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Example of large sugar crystals. Photo by warrenski flickr.com
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

 

Cooking and Processing Problems

Did you cook your fruit or juice mixture for more than 15 minutes after adding the pectin? Too much heat exposure will break down the pectin. With Pomona’s, once you’ve added the pectin-sweetener to the boiling fruit or juice mixture, stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin. When the mixture returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat. It is not necessary to cook the mixture any longer than that. You do not need to reach a specific temperature beyond a “full boil” (a boil you can’t stir down). Jam/jelly will be runny when you put it in the jars, and will jell when completely cool.
😯  Choose Fix A, B, or C.

Photo by Steve Gordon www.tasteofsouthern.com

Photo by Steve Gordon www.tasteofsouthern.com

Did you water bath for more than 10 minutes at sea level? The water in the canner should be at or near a full boil when you put the filled jars in for processing. You want the jars to be in the boiling water for 10 minutes, but if it takes 10 or more minutes just to get the water back to a boil after you put the jars in, you may break down the pectin from overexposure to heat.
😡  Choose Fix A, B, or C.

Did the jars sit in the water bath for more than 5 minutes after processing? Again, overexposure to heat will break down the pectin.
🙁  Choose Fix A, B, or C.

 

FIX YOUR JAM OR JELLY

How to Choose Fix A, B, or C: Need to Add More Pectin

This choice is based on the amount of mashed fruit or juice and the amount of sweetener used in the jam/jelly that didn’t jell. It would be helpful to write down:

(1) How much mashed fruit for jam or juice for jelly you started with.
(2) How much total sweetener you put into your jam or jelly.
(3) The amount of pectin specified in the recipe you were using.
(4) The maximum amount of sweetener for the recipe you were using.
(If your recipe didn’t include a sweetener range, the general guideline for sugar is no more than 1/2 the amount of mashed fruit or juice. The general guideline for honey is no more than 1/4 the amount of mashed fruit or juice.)

Choose Fix A, if the total amount of sweetener you used is in the middle to the lower end of the sweetener range, and you are willing to add more sweetener to your jam or jelly.

Choose Fix B, if the total amount of sweetener you used is close to the top or at the top of the sweetener range, or if you don’t want to add more sweetener to your jam or jelly.

Choose Fix C, if the total amount of sweetener you used is more than the maximum amount specified in the sweetener range.

Next determine:
(1) How much jell do you have?
(2) How much pectin do you need to add? The way to determine this is by looking at the jell you have and estimating how much pectin you will need to add to achieve the jell you want.

For example, if you have no jell at all, you will add the full amount of pectin from the recipe you were following. If you have about 25% of the jell you want, add 75% of the amount of pectin called for in the recipe. If you have 50% of the jell you want, add 50% of the amount of pectin called for in the recipe. If you have 75% of the jell you want, add 25% of the amount of pectin called for in the recipe.

Now you are ready to go to Fix A, Fix B, or Fix C and follow the directions.

Or you can go to the complete page: My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

Fix A: More pectin needed & you are able/willing to add more sweetener

Use Table 1 below to determine the minimum amount of sweetener required for adequate disbursement of the pectin. Make sure this amount of sweetener will not take you over the maximum amount specified in the recipe. If it does, you must use Fix B. For help with this, see examples below.

Table 1

Pectin to add Minimum amount of sweetener required
1 teaspoon (or less) 2 Tablespoons sugar or honey
2 teaspoon ¼ cup sugar or honey
3 teaspoons 3/8 cup sugar or honey
4 teaspoons ½ cup sugar or honey
5 teaspoons 5/8 cup sugar or honey
6 teaspoons ¾ cup sugar or honey
7 or 8 teaspoons 1 cup sugar or honey

Example 1: If you started with 4 cups of mashed fruit and the total amount of sugar in your mixture is 1 cup, you can add up to 1 cup of sugar with the additional pectin without going over the sugar limit. If you are adding 3 teaspoons of pectin, you must stir it into a minimum of 3/8 cup of sugar, but can use up to 1 cup of sugar.

Example 2: If you started with 4 cups of juice and the total amount of sugar in your mixture is 1 ¾ cups, you can only add up to ¼ cup of sugar with the additional pectin without going over the sugar limit. If you are adding 4 teaspoons of pectin you must stir it into a minimum of ½ cup of sugar, which will put you over the 2-cup sugar limit for 4 cups of juice. In this case, you must use Fix B.

Example 3: If you started with 4 cups of mashed fruit and the total amount of honey in your mixture is ½ cup, you can add up to ½ cup of honey with the additional pectin without going over the honey limit. If you are adding 2 teaspoons of pectin, you must stir it into a minimum of ¼ cup of honey, but can use up to ½ cup of honey.

Fix Your Jam/Jelly: Empty jars into sauce pan. Thoroughly mix the amount of pectin you need into additional sweetener. Bring fruit or juice to a full boil. Add pectin-sweetener. Stir vigorously 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin. If you want to add even more sweetener, you can do that now and stir well to dissolve. When mixture returns to a full boil remove from heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

This link will take you to the complete page My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

Fix B: More pectin needed & you don’t want to add more sweetener or are too close to the maximum amount of sweetener specified in the recipe

You will be making liquid pectin using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender in order to add more pectin. You can make liquid pectin with boiling water, boiling unsweetened fruit juice, or boiling mashed fruit or juice from your unjelled jam or jelly.

Use Table 2 below to determine the amount of either water, unsweetened fruit juice, unjelled jam, or unjelled jelly that you will use to blend the pectin into. See examples below the table.

TABLE 2
 
Pectin to Add                         Amount of boiling liquid
Up to 3 teaspoons                  ½ cup liquid
4 to 4 ¾ teaspoons                 ¾ cup liquid
5 to 6 teaspoons                     1 cup liquid
7 teaspoons                             1 ¼ cups liquid
8 teaspoons                             1 1/3 cups liquid
 

Example 1: If you started with 4 cups of mashed peaches and your jam is not jelled at all, you need to add 3 teaspoons of pectin. This requires ½ cup boiling water, unsweetened fruit juice, or unjelled peach jam to make liquid pectin.

Example 2: If you started with 8 cups of apple juice and had some jell in your jelly and determined you wanted to add 4 more teaspoons of pectin to get the jell you want, you would use ¾ cup boiling water, unsweetened fruit juice, or your partially jelled jelly to make liquid pectin.

Making Liquid Pectin for websiteMake liquid pectin by measuring the correct amount of water, unsweetened fruit juice, unjelled jam, or unjelled jelly into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Put boiling liquid in cup for immersion blender, or in food processor, or in blender. Add pectin. It is very important to vent the lid (if there is one) to let steam out. Don’t use an enclosed blender that can’t be vented. Blend for 10 seconds, then stop and scrape down the sides so all pectin clumps are in or on the liquid. Blend for a full minute until all powder is totally dissolved.

Fix Your Jam/Jelly: Empty jars into sauce pan. Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add liquid pectin. Stir while mixture returns to a full boil. If you want to add more sweetener, you can do that now, stirring well to dissolve. When mixture returns to a full boil, remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

This link will take you to the complete page My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

Fix C: More pectin needed & jam or jelly has more sweetener than the maximum amount specified in the recipe and the jam or jelly is NOT grainy or gritty

You will be making liquid pectin using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender in order to add more pectin. Because your mixture is already too sweet to allow the pectin to dissolve, you must use boiling water or boiling unsweetened fruit juice.

Use Table 3 below to determine the amount of water or unsweetened fruit juice you will use to blend the pectin into. See examples below the table.

TABLE 3
Pectin to Add                         Amount of boiling liquid
Up to 3 teaspoons                   ½ cup liquid
4 to 4 ¾ teaspoons                  ¾ cup liquid
5 to 6 teaspoons                      1 cup liquid
7 teaspoons                             1 ¼ cups liquid
8 teaspoons                             1 1/3 cups liquid

Example 1: If you started with 4 cups of mashed peaches and your jam is not jelled at all, you need to add 3 teaspoons of pectin. This requires ½ cup boiling water or unsweetened fruit juice to make liquid pectin.

Example 2: If you started with 8 cups of apple juice and had some jell in your jelly and determined you wanted to add 4 more teaspoons of pectin to get the jell you want, you would use ¾ cup boiling water or unsweetened fruit juice to make liquid pectin.

Making Liquid Pectin for websiteMake liquid pectin by measuring the correct amount of water or unsweetened fruit juice into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Put boiling liquid in cup for immersion blender, or in food processor, or in blender. Add pectin. It is very important to vent the lid (if there is one) to let steam out. Don’t use an enclosed blender that can’t be vented. Blend for 10 seconds, then stop and scrape down the sides so all pectin clumps are in or on the liquid. Blend for a full minute until all powder is totally dissolved.

Fix Your Jam/Jelly: Empty jars into sauce pan. Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add liquid pectin. Stir while mixture returns to a full boil. If you want to add more sweetener, you can do that now, stirring well to dissolve. When mixture returns to a full boil, remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

This link will take you to the complete page My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

Fix D: Measured whole berries or pieces of fruit instead of mashed fruit

A potato masher can work well to mash fruit.

A potato masher can work well to mash fruit.

First you will have to figure out how many cups of mashed fruit are in your jam. When you measure whole berries or pieces of fruit, they will generally mash down to half the amount you started with. If you measured 4 cups of whole berries or 4 cups of pieces of fruit, you probably have 2 cups of mashed fruit in your jam. You need to add 2 more cups of mashed fruit to your jam if the recipe called for 4 cups of mashed fruit.

Fix your jam: Empty jars into sauce pan. Add the needed cups of mashed fruit. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a full boil. Stir vigorously for 1 minute to dissolve the pectin that is already in the mixture.(If you want to add more sweetener, you can do so now that the pectin is dissolved. Add sweetener and stir well.) When mixture returns to a full boil, remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

This link will take you to the complete page My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

Fix E: Need to add calcium water

video - measuring calcium water cropped

To Fix Your Jam/Jelly: Empty jars into sauce pan. Measure and add correct amount of calcium water according to the recipe you were following. Stir well. Bring fruit mixture to a full boil.Remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

This link will take you to the complete page My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

Fix F: Made jam or jelly with more sweetener than specified in the recipe and the jam or jelly IS grainy or gritty

When the pectin becomes grainy from being stirred into a higher-sweetener mixture, you can’t get rid of the graininess by more cooking. The fix is to add enough more mashed fruit or unsweetened juice to bring the sugar or honey level down to within the original recipe’s sweetener range. This allows the grainy pectin to dissolve and do its job of jelling the original amount of mashed fruit or juice.

You will also add pectin, calcium water, and lemon or lime juice (if called for in the recipe) for the additional mashed fruit or juice. You will add the pectin by making liquid pectin using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. You can make the liquid pectin with boiling water or boiling unsweetened fruit juice.

First determine:
(1) How much additional mashed fruit for jam or juice for jelly do you need to add to bring the sugar or honey level down to within the original recipe’s sweetener range? See example below.
(2) Using the original recipe, how much pectin will you need to jell this additional fruit or juice?
(3) Using the original recipe, how much calcium water will you need for the additional fruit or juice?
(4) Using the original recipe, how much lemon (or lime) juice will you need for the additional fruit or juice?

Example: If you made jelly with 4 cups of blackberry juice and stirred the pectin into 3 cups of sugar (2 cups is the sugar limit for 4 cups of juice), then you will have to add 2 cups of unsweetened juice to bring the sugar level to within the low-sugar range (3 cups of sugar is the limit for 6 cups of juice). You will also add 2 teaspoons calcium water and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice for the additional 2 cups of blackberry juice. Then you will make liquid pectin with ½ cup boiling liquid and 2 teaspoons pectin.

Use Table 4 below to figure out how much water or unsweetened juice is required to dissolve the additional pectin.

TABLE 4
Pectin to Add                         Amount of boiling liquid
Up to 3 teaspoons                   ½ cup liquid
4 to 4 ¾ teaspoons                  ¾ cup liquid
5 to 6 teaspoons                      1 cup liquid
7 teaspoons                             1 ¼ cups liquid
8 teaspoons                             1 1/3 cups liquid

Making Liquid Pectin for websiteMake liquid pectin by measuring the correct amount of water or unsweetened fruit juice into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Put boiling liquid in cup for immersion blender, or in food processor, or in blender. Add pectin. It is very important to vent the lid (if there is one) to let steam out. Don’t use an enclosed blender that can’t be vented. Blend for 10 seconds, then stop and scrape down the sides so all pectin clumps are in or on the liquid. Blend for a full minute until all powder is totally dissolved.

Fix Your Jam/Jelly: Empty jars into sauce pan. Add additional fruit for jam or juice for jelly. Add additional calcium water. Add additional lemon juice (if called for in the recipe). Stir well. Bring mixture to a full boil. Add liquid pectin and stir well. If you want to add more sweetener, do that now and stir well to dissolve. When mixture returns to a full boil, remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

This link will take you to the complete page My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

Fix G: Pectin formed chewy clumps when added to the fruit mixture

If fruit mixture is still in the pan, turn off the heat and fish out the pectin clumps as much as you can. Put ¾ cup up to 1 cup of hot fruit mixture into a cup for immersion blender, or in food processor, or in blender. Add the pectin clumps that you fished out. It is very important to vent the lid (if there is one) to let steam out. Don’t use an enclosed blender that can’t be vented. Blend for a full minute until all clumps are totally dissolved.

Bring pan with fruit mixture back to a boil, add blended pectin-fruit and mix well. Then stir vigorously to break up any pectin clumps still in the fruit mixture. Bring fruit mixture up to a full boil.Remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

Making Liquid Pectin for websiteIf fruit mixture is already in the jars, empty jars into sauce pan and fish out the pectin clumps as much as you can. Bring the fruit mixture to a boil then turn off the heat. Put ¾ cup up to 1 cup of hot fruit mixture into a cup for immersion blender, or in food processor, or in blender. Add the pectin clumps that you fished out. It is very important to vent the lid (if there is one) to let steam out. Don’t use an enclosed blender that can’t be vented. Blend for a full minute until all clumps are totally dissolved.

Bring pan with fruit mixture back to a boil, add blended pectin-fruit and mix well. Then stir vigorously to break up any pectin clumps still in the fruit mixture. Bring fruit mixture up to a full boil. Remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the Recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

This link will take you to the complete page My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? if you haven’t seen it yet and want to read more about possible problems and their solutions.

46 thoughts on “My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell – Can I Fix It?

  1. I made raspberry jelly yesterday with Sure Jell — 2 separate batches but both out of same berry juice. First time was still runny so reboiled and added a second Sure Jell (powder form). The first batch set up after re-doing it, so I redid the second batch and it is as runny as the juice was when I started. Can I add a third Sure Jell and reboil or what??
    Thanks —

    • Hi Sharon,
      I’m sorry to hear about your problem getting your raspberry jelly to jell. Unfortunately, we aren’t experts in re-processing with Sure Jell. However, two things you can check as to why your jelly may not have jelled are: 1) Did you use the full amount of sugar that the Sure Jell recipe called for when making that batch? That is a reason it may not have jelled. And 2) Was the pectin you used out of date? Sure Jell does have an expiration date (as opposed to Pomona’s Pectin) and does lose its jelling power over time.

      That said, I honestly don’t know about adding a third packet of Sure Jell. It just may do the trick — but not if you used less sweetener or if it is out of date.

      If you wanted to try and fix it with Pomona’s, I would need to know exactly what you did in the original recipe in order to guide you to the correct Pomona’s fix.

      I hope this is helpful to you. Thanks for contacting us — and happy jamming!

  2. Hello! I made Lemon Jelly with honey and Pomona’s – it didn’t jell. I see on your recipe, this would be because it is too acidic as I didn’t add water. Can I add water, more pectin and calcium water, and reprocess? Would that work?

    • Dear Laurie,
      Yes, it should work to add the correct proportion of water to the amount of juice you used as well as more pectin and calcium water and then reprocess. If you’re not adding more sweetener, you will need to make liquid pectin to get it to dissolve in the hot mixture. Fix B on the “My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell” page explains how to make the liquid pectin.

      I’m curious what recipe you followed in making your Lemon Jelly that didn’t jell. If you’d like to write back with exactly what you did, I can be more sure that the fix would work.

      Thanks for using Pomona’s Pectin.

      • First, thank you for responding!! It’s awesome to have help. I just discovered Pomona’s and it is AMAZING. All of my other jelly attempts worked out fine.

        I used the “develop your own recipe” instructions in the pamphlet and thought that the ingredients below would work – it seemed to work on the plate test. I even gave it two days sitting time and a day in the fridge and it hasn’t set up. I didn’t know about adding water for lemon juice.

        I used 1.5 cups Meyer lemon juice, 1 teaspoon pectin, 1 teaspoon calcium water, and 1/4 cup honey.

        I used the directions for cooked jam, jelly, marmalade and jello – low sugar or honey.

        If you think it will work to reprocess, I will do it this weekend! It tastes delish, so tart!

        Thank you again!!
        Laurie

        • Hi Laurie,
          So you would be adding 1.5 cups of water to your unjelled jelly, for a total of 3 cups of juice/water mixture. For our Lemon Jelly recipe on the website, we use 1 teaspoon pectin per cup of juice/water, so we would recommend at least 1 1/2 teaspoons additional pectin, up to 2, depending on how soft a set you are looking for. When you add more water to your mixture, it should activate the 1 teaspoon pectin you’ve already added.

          In addition, you would want to add 1 more teaspoon of calcium water.

          In terms of sweetener, you may want to add another 1/4 cup honey and then you can stir the pectin into that. But if you don’t want to add more honey, you could use the 1 1/2 cups of water you need to add as the water to make the liquid pectin with.

          I hope this is clear. Would love to hear how it turns out. Happy Jamming!

    • Hi Lori,
      I’m sorry your strawberry freezer jam didn’t jell. First I have a couple of questions: Did you use the amount of pectin called for in the recipe? How many cups of mashed strawberries were you working with? How much pectin did you use? How much calcium water did you add?

      Strawberries normally jell well as freezer jam, but any fruit can be unpredictable when jelling raw. If you followed the instructions on the recipe sheet that comes with the pectin, our best advice when freezer jam doesn’t jell is to follow the instructions in the freezer jam section of the directions and recipes that come with the pectin that I’ve copied in below:

      Note: Some fruits may not jell well as raw jam. Put runny jam in pan, bring to boil & stir 1-2 minutes. Jells when cool. Store cooled jam in freezer. Lasts 2-3 weeks in refrigerator.

      I hope this helps. Please do write back and let us know what happens.

  3. My raspberry pepper jelly did not set up. The bottles did seal. If I don’t want to try and fix the jelly is it safe to store it as is and use it as a marinade?

  4. I made several batches of peach jam. I thought the peaches would be sweet enough so I used 1 cup of sugar/4 cups of mashed fruit. After processing, the resulting jam was not very sweet. Can I dump the contents back into the pan, add more sugar (probably 1 cup/4 cups of fruit) and reprocess?

    • Dear Betty,
      Yes, you can add another cup of sugar and reprocess. There is information on how to do that in the Troubleshooting section of our FAQs, about halfway down the page. The question is: “What if I open a jar of my jam or jelly and it isn’t sweet enough to suit my taste?”

  5. I made 4 batches of pepper jam. I followed your directions. My problem is that they didn’t jell up completely. Im going to try putting a jar in the refrigerator over night. I’m not quite sure how to fix it. I don’t want to add more sugar to it. I’m on the higher end of the sugar scale. Can I place all of the jam in a pot to fix it ? Or do I need to fix each batch individually.
    Thanks

    • Dear Ryan,
      I’m sorry to hear that your pepper jelly didn’t jell.

      One question for you: When you say you followed our directions, did you stir the pectin into just the 1/2 cup of sugar and then add the remaining sugar after the pectin was fully dissolved?

      If your pepper jelly doesn’t firm up in the refrigerator, you can fix it without adding more sugar by following Fix B in the Fix section of My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell.

      Our advice is not to fix all 4 batches at once — you need a very large pot, a very strong stove, and to be able to water bath all the jars at the same time when doing a quadruple batch. Best to stick to 1 or 2 batches at one time when fixing. You might want to try one batch to see how much more pectin to add.

      If the instructions aren’t clear to you, feel free to write back or call the Jamline — 413-772-6816 — Mon – Fri, 8am to 5pm EDT. I tried to respond to you via email, but the email came back as undeliverable to the adddress you gave. I hope you see the answer this way!

      Thanks for using Pomona’s Pectin —

      • My blackberry jam did not jell. I did not remove the seeds. I used 2 cups of regular sugar. I did 4 cups of berries. Any suggestions?

        • Dear Linda,
          First question: Did you read through this page about the possible things that could have gone wrong when jam doesn’t jell?

          Did you use Pomona’s Pectin to make your jam? With Pomona’s Pectin, it can take 12 to 24 hours for the jam to completely set — it needs to be thoroughly cool after the water bath.

          Have you put a jar in the refrigerator to see if that brings on the jell?

          If your berries were mashed so that you had 4 cups of mashed berries, not whole berries, 2 cups of sugar should not be a problem for the jell.

          If you used a pectin other than Pomona’s, we aren’t experts in fixing jams made with other pectins. Hopefully they have information on their website about how to fix their jams.

          If you want to fix your jam with Pomona’s Pectin, and the problems and fixes on the website page don’t seem to apply, we can try to help you if you write back and tell me all the details of exactly what you did.

          I hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

    • Hi, My grape jam didn’t set. Looking through your directions, I need to add more pectin. No problem. My question is, I don’t have time to rework the jam for at least a week. Is that a problem? Thanks!

  6. Hi Mary Lou,
    I LOVE Pomona’s pectin! Made many recipes from the website and the book. I seem to have a problem with hot pepper jellies:-( I tried a recipe from the net and it did not jell at all. Followed instructions precisely. Could you have a look at this recipe and tell me what’s wrong with it? At the most it makes 3-250ml jars and it is extremely hot.
    http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/08/pepper-jelly-recipe.html
    Thanks so much,
    Christel (in Toronto, Ontario)

    • Dear Christel,
      It looks like the Prairie Homestead blogger followed our basic hot pepper jelly recipe that is on the directions that come with the pectin and is also now on our website. It looks like a couple of changes were made that would 1) make the jelly extremely hot, as you say, and 2) could cause it not to jell.

      Our recipe calls for 1 cup of finely chopped sweet peppers and 1/3 cup finely chopped hot peppers and 1 1/3 cups vinegar. The vinegar is necessary for safe water bath canning since peppers are a low-acid food. She uses more peppers than vinegar. Her recipe may be safe since she is only adding a few more peppers, but we can’t guarantee that. We are currently working on developing a recipe with a smaller vinegar to pepper ratio, but it needs testing to know it is safe and we aren’t done with that process yet.

      In addition, we add the sugar or honey in 2 steps. First, mixing the pectin into only 1/2 cup of the sugar or honey and adding that to the boiling peppers & vinegar and stirring vigorously until the pectin is dissolved. Then adding the rest of the sugar, stirring well, & bringing the mixture back to a full boil. This is because Pomona’s Pectin won’t properly dissolve in a higher sugar mixture and therefore won’t jell well. Two cups of sugar in a recipe that makes only about 3 cups of jam is too much sugar to have in the mixture while you are trying to dissolve the pectin.

      You might be able to fix your jelly by adding more sweet peppers, vinegar, calcium water, and pectin. If you want to know how to do this, please call the Jamline (413-772-6816) on Tuesday or Friday, 8am to 5pm.

      And finally, it is always better to follow a recipe from our website, from our directions, or from our book. Unfortunately, there is some misinformation on the internet about how to use Pomona’s Pectin and we aren’t able to always correct it!

      I hope this helps — Happy Holidays & Happy Jamming!

      • Dear Mary Lou,
        Thank you so much for your reply! I was able to “fix” the batch but the few jars will only be for friends who love very spicy jellies:-) For my next batch I will follow the basic hot pepper jelly recipe!! Mind you, jalapenos can be very mild, or quite hot . . . you never know.
        Merry Christmas, happy holidays from the “Great White North.”
        Christel

  7. Hello. This site is incredibly helpful, thank you. I just used Pomona’s for the first time (pectin in general, actually), working with a fruit (ground cherries!) I hadn’t “jammed” before, and I tripled the recipe! I really stacked the deck against myself!

    Anyway, a quick question: My jam didn’t jell. I read through and followed the appropriate suggestion to see what happens in the fridge. It does not hold the jell. If I want to fix it I know I need to use FIX B. The question is, can I just leave my jam not properly jelled and tell folks to refrigerate before opening for a better texture instead of making a mess, using resources and doing all that labor again? If all jars were properly processed (sealed etc.) are they just as shelf stable as if they had more pectin? My apologies if I missed the answer to this is my reading.

    Thanks in advance!
    -Mira

    • Hello Mira,
      Yes, if you followed the recipe on our website for Ground Cherry Jam, and added the full complement of lemon juice; and you processed the jars properly and they are sealed, they are shelf stable even though not jelled.

      And yes, you could ask your friends to keep in the refrigerator to get the full jell.

    • Hello Dr. Morris,
      If the jars haven’t been sealed for very long and you take the lids off very carefully and examine them carefully to make sure they aren’t damaged in any way, it could be fine to use them again.

      It is always safest to use new lids to ensure a good, long-lasting seal.

      I hope this is helpful. Thanks for using Pomona’s — and happy jamming!

  8. Help! After making a batch of sour cherry jam that came out perfectly using your great pectin, I picked more but much riper sour cherries. Made exactly like the first batch, using 1 1/4 c. Sugar in both, 2nd batch did not jell. It jelled in the refrigerator but returned to runny after coming to room temp. later. How do I fix? Do I recook with more sugar ? Do I add more pectin? If yes, how much? Do I then reprocess for another 10 min.? Please advise and please be specific. Thank you so much for your help. Regina

    • Hello Regina,
      Adding more sugar will not help your jam to jell. Pomona’s jelling power is activated by calcium, not by sugar.

      If your jam jells in the refrigerator and loses the jell at room temperature, it shows that some pectin is working, but sounds like there isn’t enough.

      Did you read through all the other possible things that can go wrong? Did you read about how to add more pectin in the Fixes?

      • Thank you so much, Mary Lou! You were right, I had not explored the entire fix site. I ended up adding more pectin with a little sugar and equal calcium water, redid the entire process and, voila, it came out perfect! What a relief, since I have 12 jars, which are presents for my co-workers.
        Gratefully!

        • Hi Regina,
          Thank you for letting me know that you were able to figure it out and fix your jam. I love it when this page of our website actually does its job!

          Just for future reference, when you are re-making jam or jelly you don’t need to add more calcium water at that time unless you forgot it in the first place, or didn’t add the full amount called for in the recipe.

          Thanks for using Pomona’s — and happy jamming!

  9. I got interrupted while canning and had to leave so I put everything in the fridge. What now?

    Do I put cold jam in cold jars and water bath?

    Do I reheat the jam and the jard sand fill and water bath?

    What temperature should the jam be? What temperature should the jars be? I know I need to waterbath to seal.

    Please advice.

    • Hello Sarah,
      You don’t say at exactly what step you were interrupted, but I am assuming it was after adding the pectin and bringing back to a boil and ready to jar.

      In that case, yes, you would re-heat the jam in a sauce pan, bring to a full boil, and then proceed with Step 6 on our directions for cooked jam.

      You don’t want to put cold jars of jam in the water bath because then the jam won’t get hot enough in the water bath to kill any mold or bacteria; and putting cold jars in boiling water can cause the jars to crack. Also you want the water in the water bath to be boiling when you add the jars and you want to add all of the jars at the same time, otherwise some or all of the jam may cook for too long in the water bath.

      Thanks for using Pomona’s — and happy jamming!

  10. I made strawberry rhubarb jam the “other” way with sugar and powdered pectin (the “other” stuff). It did not jell. Can I open them up and start over from the beginning with calcium water and pectin as if it were just a fresh batch? Thanks

    • Hi Roni,
      It’s sometimes possible to re-make jam made with other pectin that didn’t jell. However you can’t just open the jars and start over because you have already most likely added an amount of sugar to the fruit that is above our sugar range. Pomona’s will only dissolve properly in a low-sugar environment.

      If that is so, then you most likely need to make liquid pectin with Pomona’s as the way to add it to the unjelled jam. My suggestion is to read in the Fixes section of My Jam or Jelly Didn’t Jell — Can I Fix It? about how to choose Fix A, B, or C and then most likely you will need to do Fix C. You will need to add the calcium water since you didn’t use Pomona’s in the first place.

      Please give us a call on the Jamline if you’d like to discuss — 413-772-6816 — as there can be particulars when starting with another pectin. If we don’t answer, leave a message. We will call you back.

      • Wow! Thanks so much for getting back to me. I am going to just keep the soft stuff, and use it in yogurt. But from now on, I will be using the RIGHT product!

  11. Does the canning in boiling water affect the setting up? I think my problem is pectin but I usually do not can as jelly goes fast, to friends and family.

    • Dear Vernon,
      Not doing a boiling water bath would not cause the jam not to set. The boiling water bath would only affect the set if you were to keep the jars in the hot water for too long, which could de-activate the pectin and cause the jam to not set.

      The most usual causes for jam not setting are listed on this website page, which it sounds like you have read.

      The purpose of the boiling water bath is to sterilize the air space (1/4″ head space at top of jar) and to ensure a longer lasting seal for long-term storage at room temperature. The USDA now recommends water bath canning for both high-sugar and low-sugar jams that will be stored at room temperature.

    • Hi Kathy,
      If you added the correct amount of calcium water when you first made the jam or jelly, and you are not adding any more fruit or juice, there is no need to add more calcium water.

      Hope this helps! Let us know if you are able to fix it.

  12. My jelly did not firm up overnight, and I have put a jar in the fridge to check that but in the meantime maybe you can answer a question for me. I don’t understand the process of fixing this problem. Do I reprocess the jelly? Please advise. Thanks so much, Tammy

    • Hi Tammy,
      If refrigeration doesn’t bring on the jell or, it brings it on but then you lose it again at room temperature, then you need to diagnose the problem before you can fix it. Once you understand what you did wrong or what happened, then you choose the fix that goes with that problem.

      And yes, for each fix, you need to re-process if you want to store the jam at room temperature. It will say that as the last step for each fix.

      I hope this is clear. Please do get back in touch if you have more questions — and thanks for using Pomona’s!

  13. Good Morning,

    I called your help line yesterday evening and left a message. Mary Lou called me back and I missed her call. Rather than play phone tag today, I got on your website and now I know how to at least diagnose my problem, and quite possibly fix it.

    Just wanted to say thank you for not only calling back, but also for this great website. I love the product and now that I know there are actually “real people” standing behind it I feel good about continuing to use it.

    Thanks again,
    Celeste Bavin

    • Dear Celeste,
      Thanks for going to our website. We’re trying to get as much helpful information posted as we can to allow people to learn more and help themselves out of “jams” they might get into.

      Please don’t hesitate to call again if your problem or fix is not clear.

  14. Wow! What a great resource! Very well organized and easy to use.

    BTW, I find that Turbinado, Maple Sugar, Demerara, Moscavado, and other large grain sugars often add a lovely warm flavor to jams, particularly to apricot, peach, and pear; but first you need to pulverize them to a smaller grain in your processor, and THEN measure out the amount of sugar you want. This both insures that your measurements are accurate and that the pectin mixes in well.

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