Jam and Jelly Basics J F

Information from
Food Preservation
Extension ▼
Tempt your tastebuds with natural sweets
Jam and Jelly
Nutritional Sciences
University of Missouri Extension
elly, jam, preserves, conserves,
Quality for Keeps
marmalades and fruit butters are
similar products. All are made
Jelly is a mixture of fruit juice and
sugar that is clear and firm
from fruit, preserved by sugar and
enough to hold its shape.
thickened or gelled to some extent.
Other sweet spreads, like
jam, are made from crushed or
chopped fruit. Jam holds its
To gel properly, sweet spreads must
shape, but is less firm than jelly.
contain the right combination of fruit,
When jams are made from a mix-
pectin, acid and sugar. The fruit gives
ture of fruits they are usually
each spread its unique flavor and
color. Fruit also supplies the water
called conserves, especially
calling for added pectin.
when they contain citrus fruits,
needed to dissolve the other ingredi-
The right amount of acid is critical
ents and some or all of the pectin and
to gel formation. With too little acid, the
nuts, raisins or coconut.
acid. Good quality, flavorful fruits make
gel will never set. Too much acid will
whole fruits or pieces of fruits in
the best sweet spreads.
cause the gel to lose liquid (weep). If
a clear, thick, slightly gelled
Preserves are made of small,
If combined with the right amount of
fruits are low in acid, add lemon juice
acid and sugar, pectins cause a gel to
or other acid ingredients as directed.
form. All fruits contain some pectin.
Commercial pectin products contain
fruit jellies that contain small
Apples, crabapples, gooseberries and
enough acid to ensure gelling.
pieces of fruit or citrus peel.
some plums and grapes contain
Sugar helps preserve sweet
Marmalades are soft, transparent
Fruit butters are made from fruit
enough natural pectin to form a gel.
spreads, contributes flavor and aids in
pulp cooked with sugar until
Other fruits, like strawberries, cherries
gelling. Granulated white sugar is most
and blueberries, contain little natural
often used to make jelly or jam. You
pectin. They must be mixed with other
can replace part of the sugar with corn
because the sugar is needed for gel
fruits high in pectin or with commercial
syrup or honey, but too much masks
formation. Look for tested recipes on
pectin products for a gel to form. Fully
the fruit flavor and changes the gel
making jellied products without added
ripened fruit contains less pectin, so
structure. Use tested recipes for
combine it with one-fourth underripe
replacing sugar with honey and corn
fruit when making sweet spreads
syrup. Don't reduce the amount of
without added pectin.
sugar in traditional recipes, because a
Caution: Commercially frozen
and canned juices are low in natural
gel won't form, and yeasts and molds
may grow in the sweet spreads.
Artifical sweeteners cannot be sub-
pectins and make soft-textured
sweet spreads. Use only in recipes
Don't seal it with a kiss —
use the right lids and procedures to prevent spoilage
stituted for sugar in regular recipes
Published by University of Missouri Extension
Even though sugar helps preserve
sweet spreads, molds can still grow on
GH1461 ▶
the surface of these products unless
they are heat-processed. It is not a
safe practice to scrape the mold off
the surface of sweet spreads and use
what's left in the jar. Poisons called
mycotoxins — known to cause cancer
in animals — have been found in some
jars of jelly with surface mold growth.
The effects of mycotoxins on humans
are still being researched, so you
should discard any sweet spread containing mold.
Paraffin or wax seals don't
prevent mold growth and are no
longer recommended for sealing any
sweet spread, including jelly.
To prevent mold growth and to keep
good flavor and color, pour hot sweet
spreads into sterilized jars; leave
¼-inch headspace. Seal with two-piece
Jam and jelly gems
• Overcooking jam and jelly can break down pectin and prevent proper
• Always make only one batch at a time. Making more than one batch at a
time (doubling or tripling the recipe) often results in soft gels.
• Stir constantly while cooking to prevent burning.
• Remember that recipes are developed for specific jar sizes. Using larger
jars may cause excessively soft sweet spreads.
lids, and process as directed in Table
1 (Page 5). Be sure to use the processing time recommended for your
to the juice and make your jelly firmer.
gelling point with one of the following
Do not use commercially canned or
frozen fruit juices, because their pectin
Temperature test
Sweet spreads are best if eaten
within one year.
content is too low.
Methods for making
jams and jellies
cooking. Cut firm, larger fruits into
Wash all fruits thoroughly before
small pieces. Crush soft fruits or
Use a jelly or candy thermometer,
and boil until mixture reaches the following temperature at your altitude.
You can make jams and jellies with
berries. Add water to fruits as directed
If your altitude
Boil until mixture reaches:
or without added pectin. Only use the
in Table 2 (Page 5). Put fruit and water
Sea level
220 degrees F
standard method of making sweet
in a large saucepan and bring to a
spreads — without added pectin —
boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for
1,000 feet
218 degrees F
with fruits naturally high in pectin. It is
the amount of time listed or until the
2,000 feet
216 degrees F
much faster to make sweet spreads
fruit is soft.
with added powdered or liquid pectin.
Press soft fruit lightly through a col-
Sheet or spoon test
Dip a cool metal spoon into the
For the best results, follow specific
ander. Then, let juice drip through a
boiling jelly mixture. Raise the spoon
directions on packages of commercial
double layer of cheesecloth or a jelly
out of the steam, about 12 inches
bag. Pressing or squeezing the cooked
above the pan. Turn the spoon so the
fruit will cause cloudy jelly.
liquid runs off the side. The jelly is
Making jelly without added
Use only firm fruits naturally high in
Use no more than six cups to eight
done when the syrup forms two drops
cups of fruit juice at a time and
that flow together and sheet or hang
combine the right amounts of juice,
off the edge of the spoon. See Figure 1
pectin. Mix about three-fourths ripe
sugar and lemon juice, as directed in
(Page 6).
and one-fourth underripe fruit. One
Table 2 (Page 5). Heat to boiling. Stir
pound of fruit will make at least 1 cup
until the sugar is dissolved. Boil over
remove jelly from the heat and quickly
of clear juice. Adding peels and cores
high heat, stirring frequently, until the
skim off foam. Use a wide-mouth
while the fruit is cooking will add pectin
gelling point is reached. Test for the
funnel, and pour the jelly into sterilized
When the gelling point is reached,
Human Environmental Sciences Extension
jars. Leave ¼-inch headspace. Adjust
lids and process as directed in Table 1
(Page 5).
Making jam without added
For best flavor, use fully ripe fruit.
Making jelly and jam with
added pectin
You may use fresh fruits and juices
• 1 box (1¾ ounces) powdered
or commercially canned or frozen
About 10 half-pints
juices ( or a combination) with com-
mercially prepared powdered or liquid
Wash and pit plums; do not peel.
pectins. Complete directions for a
Thoroughly crush plums and grapes,
Wash and rinse all fruit thoroughly
variety of fruits are provided with pack-
one layer at a time, in a large sauce-
before cooking. Don't soak. Remove
aged pectin. Always follow package
pan. Add water. Bring to a boil. Cover
stems, skins and pits from fruit; cut fruit
directions for combining ingredients.
and simmer 10 minutes.
into pieces and crush. Remove stems
Jelly or jam made with added pectin
Strain juice through a jelly bag or
and blossoms and crush berries. Put
requires less cooking, usually gives a
seedy berries (such as raspberries
larger yield and has more natural fruit
sugar and set aside. Combine 6½
and blackberries) through a sieve or
flavor. Also, using added pectin elimi-
cups of juice with pectin in a large
food mill. Do not puree fruit — this will
nates the need to test for doneness.
saucepan. Add butter if desired. Bring
change the acid level and cause a
weak gel.
You may add ½ teaspoon of butter
double layer of cheesecloth. Measure
to a hard boil over high heat, stirring
or margarine to the juice and pectin to
constantly. Add the sugar and return to
reduce foaming; however, this may
a full, rolling boil. Boil hard for 1
Table 3 (Page 6) and measure crushed
cause off-flavors during long-term
minute, stirring constantly. Remove
fruit and sugar into a large saucepan.
from heat, skim off foam and quickly
Use the ingredient amounts given in
Bring to a boil while stirring rapidly and
The following recipes are usually
pour into sterilized half-pint jars. Leave
constantly. Continue to boil until the
available with packaged pectins:
¼-inch headspace. Adjust lids, and
jam thickens. When testing for thick-
process the jars as directed in Table 1
ness, remember that jam continues to
Apple, crabapple, blackberry,
thicken as it cools. Test for thickness
boysenberry, dewberry, currant,
using one of the following methods:
elderberry, grape, mayhaw, mint,
Temperature test
peach, plum, black or red raspberry,
Use a jelly or candy thermometer
and boil until jam reaches the right
temperature for your altitude. (See
loganberry, rhubarb and strawberry.
Blueberry-spice jam with
• 2½ pints ripe blueberries
Apricot, blackberry, boysenberry,
directions for jelly.)
dewberry, loganberry, red raspberry,
Refrigerator test
youngberry, blueberry, cherry, currant,
Remove all the jam from the heat
(Page 5).
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg or
fig, gooseberry, grape, orange marma-
• 5½ cups sugar
and pour a small amount of boiling jam
lade, peach, pear, plum, rhubarb,
• ¾ cup water
on a cold plate. Put the plate in the
strawberry and spiced tomato.
• 1 box (1¾ ounces) powdered
freezing compartment of a refrigerator
for a few minutes. If the jam gels, it is
Old pectin may not gel. Purchase it
as needed every year.
thick enough.
When jam is done, remove it from
About 5 half-pints
Use a wide-mouth funnel to pour the
Grape-plum jelly with
jam into sterilized jars. Leave ¼-inch
• 3½ pounds ripe plums
large saucepan. Add lemon juice,
headspace. Adjust lids and process as
• 3 pounds ripe Concord grapes
spice and water. Stir in pectin, and
directed in Table 1 (Page 5).
• 1 cup water
bring to a full, rolling boil over high
• ½ teaspoon butter or margarine
heat. Stir frequently. Add the sugar and
(optional ingredient to reduce
return to a full, rolling boil. Boil hard for
1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove
the heat and quickly skim off foam.
• 8½ cups sugar
Wash and thoroughly crush
blueberries, one layer at a time, in a
from heat, quickly skim off foam and
Apple butter
pour into sterilized half-pint jars. Leave
one layer at a time. Put both fruits in a
¼-inch headspace. Adjust lids and
jelly bag or double layer of cheese-
Use Jonathan, Winesap, Stayman,
process the jars as directed in Table 1
cloth and gently squeeze out juice.
Golden Delicious, MacIntosh, or other
(Page 5).
Measure 3½ cups of juice into a large
tasty apple varieties for good results.
saucepan. Thoroughly mix sugar into
• 8 pounds apples
juice and add butter if desired. Bring
• 2 cups cider
to a boil over high heat, stirring con-
• 2 cups vinegar
stantly. Immediately stir in pectin. Bring
• 2¼ cups white sugar
cored and finely chopped (about
to a full, rolling boil and boil hard 1
• 2¼ cups packed brown sugar
2 pounds)
minute. Stir constantly. Remove from
• 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
heat, quickly skim off foam and pour
• 1 tablespoon ground cloves
into sterilized, half-pint jars. Leave
• 6½ cups sugar
¼-inch headspace. Adjust lids and
About 9 half-pints to 10 half-pints
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
process the jars as directed in Table 1
• ¹/3 cup bottled lemon juice
(Page 5).
Pear-apple jam with pectin
• 2 cups fully ripe pears, peeled,
• 1 cup apples, peeled, cored and
finely chopped (about 1 large)
• 6 ounces liquid pectin
About 7 half-pints to 8 half-pints
Crush pears and apples in a large
Wash, remove stems, quarter and
core fruit. Cook slowly in cider and
Berry syrup
Juices from fresh or frozen blueber-
vinegar until soft. Press fruit through a
colander, food mill or strainer. Cook fruit
pulp with sugar and spices, stirring fre-
ries, cherries, grapes, raspberries
quently. To test for doneness, remove a
saucepan and stir in cinnamon.
(black or red) and strawberries are
spoonful and hold it away from steam
Thoroughly mix sugar and lemon juice
easily made into toppings for use on ice
for two minutes. Apple butter is done if
into fruits, and bring to a boil over high
cream and pastries.
it remains mounded on the spoon. Or,
heat, stirring constantly. Immediately
test for doneness by spooning a small
stir in pectin. Bring to a full, rolling boil
About 9 half-pints
amount onto a plate. When a rim of
and boil 1 minute. Stir constantly.
liquid does not separate around the
Select 6½ cups of fresh or frozen
edge of the apple butter, it is ready for
Remove from heat; quickly skim off
foam and pour into sterilized, half-pint
fruit of your choice. Wash, cap and
processing. Fill hot, sterilized, half-pint
jars. Leave ¼-inch headspace. Adjust
stem fresh fruit and crush in a sauce-
or pint jars. Leave ¼-inch headspace.
lids and process the jars as directed in
pan. Heat to boiling and simmer until
Adjust lids and process as directed in
Table 1 (Page 5).
soft (5 to 10 minutes). Strain hot berries
Table 1 (Page 5).
through a colander and let drain until
Strawberry-rhubarb jelly
with pectin
cool enough to handle. Strain the collected juice through a double layer of
cheesecloth or jelly bag. Discard the
• 1½ pounds red stalks of rhubarb
dry pulp. The yield of the pressed juice
• 1½ quarts ripe strawberries
should be about 4½ cups to 5 cups.
• ½ teaspoon butter or margarine
Combine the juice with 6¾ cups of
Remaking soft
Measure jelly to be recooked. Work
with no more than 4 to 6 cups at a
(optional ingredient to reduce
sugar in a large saucepan, bring to boil
To remake with powdered
and simmer 1 minute. To make a syrup
• 6 cups sugar
with whole fruit pieces, save 1 or 2
• 6 ounces liquid pectin
cups of the whole fresh or frozen fruit,
sugar, ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons
For each quart of jelly, mix ¼ cup
combine with the sugar and crushed
bottled lemon juice and 4 teaspoons
About 7 half-pints.
fruit and simmer as in making regular
powdered pectin. Bring to a boil while
syrup. Remove from heat, skim off foam
Wash and cut rhubarb into 1-inch
and pour into clean, half-pint or pint
Add jelly and bring to a rolling boil
pieces and blend or grind. Wash and
jars. Leave ½-inch headspace. Adjust
over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil
stem strawberries, then crush berries
lids and process as directed in Table 1.
hard ½ minute.
Human Environmental Sciences Extension
Remove from heat, quickly skim off
foam and pour into sterilized jars.
Leave ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new
juice, and pectin. Bring to full rolling
one of the tests described above to
boil, stirring constantly.
determine if jelly is done.
Boil hard for 1 minute, then remove
Remove from heat, quickly skim off
lids and process the jars as directed in
from heat. Quickly skim off foam and
foam and fill sterilized jars. Leave
Table 1 (below).
fill sterilized jars. Leave ¼-inch head-
¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids
To remake with liquid pectin
space. Adjust new lids and process
and process the jars as directed in
the jars as directed in Table 1 (below).
Table 1 (below).
For each quart of jelly, measure ¾
cup sugar, 2 tablespoons bottled
To remake without added
lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons liquid
pectin. Bring jelly only to boil over high
For each quart of jelly, add 2 table-
heat, while stirring. Remove from heat
spoons bottled lemon juice. Heat to
and quickly add the sugar, lemon
boiling and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Use
Table 1. Recommended processing times for sweet spreads in a boiling-water canner
Process times at different altitudes
(in minutes)
Style of pack
Jar size
0–1,000 feet
1,001–6,000 feet
All jellies and jams with or without
added pectin
Half-pints or
Berry syrup
Half-pints or
Apple butter
Half-pints or
When the jars have been processed in boiling water for the recommended time, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes.
Remove jars from canner; use a jar lifter and keep jars upright. Carefully place them directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at
least 1 inch of space between the jars during cooling. Avoid placing the jars on a cold surface or in a cold draft. Cool jars upright for 12–24
hours while vacuum seal is drawn and jam or jelly sets up.
Table 2. Making jelly without added pectin
To make juice
How many halfpints of jelly you
will get from 4 cups
of juice
Minutes to simmer
before separating
out juice
Cups of sugar to
add to each cup
of strained juice
1½ teaspoons
Grapes, Eastern
Plums, not Italian
Apples, tart
Cups of water
to be added per
pound of fruit
To make jelly
University of Missouri Extension
Lemon juice
Table 3. Making jam without added pectin
Cups of crushed fruit
Cups of sugar to add
to crushed fruit
of lemon juice
How many half-pints
you will get
*Includes: blackberries, boysenberries, dewberries, gooseberries, loganberries, raspberries and strawberries.
Figure 1. The spoon or sheet test
When mixture first boils, drops are
light and syrupy.
As mixture continues to boil, drops
become heavier and drop off spoon
two at a time.
When two drops form together and
"sheet" off the spoon, the gelling
point has been reached.
For more information, visit MU Extension: http://extension.missouri.edu
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June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture.
Director, Cooperative Extension, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211
■ an equal opportunity/ADA institution ■ 573-882-7216 ■ extension.missouri.edu
Revised 3/10/5M