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Thread: Frustrating Setting Problem

  1. #1
    Jammy Lamplady is offline Germinator
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    Default Frustrating Setting Problem

    Hi there - I'm a fairly experienced jam maker, and I use 'surplus' fruit and sell it on my upcycling craft stall... so I'm not a novice at this.
    Well... I follow the recipe... I use the thermometer and the wrinkle test... the jam wrinkles at around 105C as it should... my jars are beautifully sterilised and warm... and as I'm ladling it into the jars it's skinning over, and the residue in the pan is already setting.
    I come to label it and it's not set. If I have a bit left over in a plastic tub, that's set. The drops in the pan and the ladle are set. The spillage on the tray is set. The contents of the jar is runny. Not all the time, but often enough to make me wonder what I'm doing / not doing that isn't in the usual list of tips?
    Thanks people.

  2. #2
    mothhawk's Avatar
    mothhawk is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Hi jammy lamplady and welcome to the vine. What fruit are you using? Strawberries will always give a very light set unless lots of pectin is added. Very ripe or over-ripe fruit contains less pectin than fruit that is slightly under-ripe.

    Is there enough pectin in the fruit? An easy way to test for pectin is to drop half a teaspoon of the fruit juice into two tablespoons of methylated spirits and shake gently. If there's plenty of pectin a jelly like blob will form.
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  3. #3
    Jammy Lamplady is offline Germinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by mothhawk View Post
    Hi jammy lamplady and welcome to the vine. What fruit are you using? Strawberries will always give a very light set unless lots of pectin is added. Very ripe or over-ripe fruit contains less pectin than fruit that is slightly under-ripe.

    Is there enough pectin in the fruit? An easy way to test for pectin is to drop half a teaspoon of the fruit juice into two tablespoons of methylated spirits and shake gently. If there's plenty of pectin a jelly like blob will form.
    Thanks for the reply. It's fairly random... the last two batches which did that were mixed citrus marmalade and nectarine. It's the setting and wrinkling out of the jar but not IN the jar that's getting my goat...

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    mothhawk's Avatar
    mothhawk is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Perhaps try giving the pan full of jam a good stir then taking a dollop from the centre to test for setting. Maybe if your test sample is from the top or round the edge the jam is already a little more concentrated and likely to set than the jam from down in the centre of the pan.

    Other than that, I have no suggestions what else may be wrong.
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  5. #5
    Nicos's Avatar
    Nicos is offline 'Allo 'Allo !
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    To be honest I've no idea...but does it really matter so long as it tastes yummy?
    French confitures are always runnier than typical 'jam'
    If mine don't set I call them confiture instead!
    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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    greenishfing's Avatar
    greenishfing is online now Cropper
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    The only thing I can think of is did you make a vast amount all at once. I seem to remember my sister having a similar problem a few years ago when she did that. I know that when she made smaller batches again she had no problem.
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    Scarlet's Avatar
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    Are you checking when the jam really has time to cool? If it's set on the side of the pan, it should be the same in the jar. I make a soft set chilli jam. It takes a good 24hours to fully set in a sealed jar.

    I also agree with Greenishfing - try smaller batches.
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  8. #8
    Bren In Pots's Avatar
    Bren In Pots is offline Bad Hair Day
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    I think its like Scarlet says, I also find that the sealed jams take longer to set than the leftovers in the little pots does.
    Last edited by Nicos; 13-06-2019 at 08:25 AM.
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