Canning 101: How To Save Runny Jam

jams for Barcamp Philly

A while back, I wrote a piece all about how to ensure that your jam sets. However, even when you keep all those tips in mind, there’s still a chance that you’ll wind up with a poor set. Here’s what you can do to salvage that jam.

If you don’t want to invest any additional work in that jam, all you have to do is change expectations. If it’s just sort of runny, call it preserves. If it’s totally sloshy, label it syrup and move on with your life.

However, if you’re committed to getting a nice, firm, jammy set, there is still hope. Here’s what you can do.

  1. First, you wait. Give the jam 24-48 hours to set up (because truly, sometimes it can take that long for pectin to reach the finished set).
  2. If it still hasn’t set, it’s time to open all the jars back up.
  3. Pour the jam into your widest pot.
  4. Set heat to high and begin to bring the jam to temperature.
  5. Whisk in one tablespoon of powdered pectin as it heats.
  6. Cook vigorously until jam appears visibly thickened. If it feels like it’s not thickening, add a more powdered pectin (start with an additional teaspoon and work up.
  7. Test set using plate or sheeting test (both described here).
  8. When jam has reached the desired thickness, remove pot from heat.
  9. Pour jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply brand new lids and screw on the same old bands.
  10. Process in a boiling water bath canner for the amount of time requested in the recipe.
  11. When processing time is up, remove jars from bath. Let jars cool and then test seals.

That’s it!

 

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291 Responses to Canning 101: How To Save Runny Jam

  1. 151
    Michelle says:

    So, this is bad, i made some hot pepper jelly a little over a month ago. It turned out runny but i had some family emergency to deal with…how long is too long to fix pepper jelly? Or do i have to settle for 6 jars of hot pepper sauce now?

    • 151.1
      Marisa says:

      You can still try to remake it. Jellies are tough, though. It might overset in the process of trying to fix it. I’d probably call it a glaze and tell people to drizzle it over things.

  2. 152
    Gail says:

    I did the step above with my wine jelly, twice and it still didn’t set. 🙁

  3. 153
    Dara says:

    I just made a beautiful batch of pear cranberry jam that didn’t set. The lids sealed, though, so it’s safe, right?

  4. 154
    Donna says:

    Used liquid pectin, 12ouncesvblackberry juice, 7 cups sugar, 3 double packs of pectin, brought to a boil twice. Jelly still appears runny this morning, all sealed. Frustrated but I’m going to leave it a couple days to see if it’s just slow to set.

  5. 155
    Janine Ruiz says:

    I I made 5 batches of choke cherry jelly. I put 2 jars from two different batches and one of the jars in the fridge set up but none of the jars on the counter set up…. ??? It hasn’t been 24 hours yet so I will continue to hope but can’t figure it out.

  6. 156
    M’Shelle says:

    So if they changed the liquid pectin would you double the liquid pectin.

  7. 157
    Linda says:

    What amount pectin would you try for 1 pint jar?

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