Canning 101: How To Save Runny Jam

August 10, 2011(updated on March 15, 2023)

Did your homemade jam come out with a softer set than you’d like? Follow the steps in this post to save runny jam!

Six pints of jam on a wooden table, dappled with sunlight

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.

Before Reopening Those Jars

If you don’t want to invest any additional work in that jam, the best choice to make is to change your expectations. If the finished product is just sort of runny, call it preserves (they can be great stirred into oatmeal or yogurt, or spooned over waffles). If it’s totally sloshy, label it syrup and stir it into sparkling water.

Finished black raspberry jam in a red Dansk pot.

How to Save Runny Jam

However, if you’re committed to getting a nice, firm, jammy set, there is still hope. Just follow these steps.

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).

If it still hasn’t set, it’s time to determine how much jam needs to be recooked. You don’t want to remake more than 8 cups (4 pints) at a time.

For every 4 cups of jam that needs to be remade, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon powdered pectin.

Pour the jam into a low, wide pan and add the sugar and pectin combo. Stir until the sugar and pectin has dissolved. At this point, prepare your canning pot. Clean the jars and prep new lids.

Place the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the jam to a boil.

Cook vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Look for signs of thickening.

Test set using plate or sheeting test (both described here).

When jam has reached the desired thickness, remove pot from heat.

Pour jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply brand new lids and screw on the same old bands.

Process in a boiling water bath canner for the amount of time requested in the recipe.

When processing time is up, remove jars from bath. Let jars cool and then test seals.

That’s it!

Note: I have closed comments on this post because I am not able to offer jam set solutions on an individual basis. The instructions above should resolve most underset jams. For more on the topic of underset jams, read this post.

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449 thoughts on "Canning 101: How To Save Runny Jam"

  • Hi I made 2 batches of strawberry jam and neither have set right they are soupy. How much liquid pectin do you recommend I use basically I have 6 quarts total to fix.

  • I made an orange jelly batch last night and the recipe says to wait 24 to set. The 24 hours are almost up and it’s still pretty runny. I’ll go ahead and wait 48 hours and see if it sets; if it doesn’t, i’ll attempt to reheat and add pectin. Due to work i won’t be able to be home til a day after, will it be ok to wait an extra 24 hours after the 48 before i attempt to fix it?

      1. so glad to see this comment! i have a batch of strawberry rhubarb that didn’t set up the way i wanted it to, although the jars did seal, and i’ve been ignoring the jars, as if that would make the frustration go away. 🙂 good to know it’s still okay to remake.

  • Frustrated! I have been canning most of my life and never had a problem. I am making peach jam, as I have for years. The only difference, this year I used liquid pectin and my jam won’t set! I am looking at 757 peaches that will rot quickly! I can’t use the powdered pectin as I get violently I’ll from any kind of artificial sweetener IT’S IN ALL OF THE POWDERED! When did they start using this poison? Does anyone have a suggestion? Thank you!

    1. Hi Debra, I don’t know if you found a solution to your pectin conundrum but I read online that you can make your own pectin from oranges, lemons or you can add a grated sour apple to your jam to help it set up. Go to youtube and put in “making your own pectin”. Good luck

    2. Debra, did you know that you can use Pomona’s Universal Pectin? It’s activated by calcium water not sugar so you can use little to no sugar and there’s no artificial sweeteners in it!! Give that one a try. I never heard of it until this year and my orange marmalade is syrupy. It’s awesome! You can just add a little honey or anything and also you only use a couple of tsp for a batch of fruit!! Hope this helps.

  • I tried making apple cinnamon jelly. I followed the directions and I can’t get it to thicken. I tried adding more pectin and it’s not thickening.. Any ideas this is the third time trying..

    1. Without knowing the recipe that you were using as a starting place, I can’t even begin to attempt to help. So sorry!

  • Do you know will this work with a freezer jam recipe? I used a different pectin than normal and didn’t think the prep would be different – read after the fact that it was different and now have runny jam. I used Ball Classic Real Fruit Pectin. Thanks in advance.

    1. Freezer jams are an entirely different beast. These tips will not save freezer jam, because it’s an uncooked jam.

  • My head is spinning. I made 3 batches of jam. The first one perfect. The second ok. Third, runny. I’ve been reading directions for ‘remakes’ and came across yours which seems to be the easiest. But I’m confused. Others call for water, more sugar, lemon juice, pectin. I feel this added sugar is too much. I see you add only pectin. Will it work?

    1. There is no perfect solution to remaking jam. This technique works for me, but honestly, I can’t promise that it will work for you, because there are no guarantees in life or jam making.

      1. It worked! I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive to try it. But it was either that or syrup! My jam came out just right. I reboiled each batch, added the pectin and this morning my jam is great. Thank you Marisa. I’m glad I came across your site!

  • Is there a companion post for jam that set up too firm? I used the recipe on your guest post from Todd Van Atter, for blueberry jam, and it is SET. (I was suspicious of two packets of pectin but I’m a new canner so I went with it. Oops!) Any advice?

  • I have a question… I made my first batch of jam tonight but the recipe didn’t call for a water bath processing. I had hot jars and lids (not boiled lids), and I used boxed pectin in the recipe. I didn’t use as much sugar as the recipe called for, which I think now was a mistake. I added probably 3 cups of sugar instead of 4 cups. It seemed like a lot of sugar and tasting the jam while cooking tasted really sweet. It’s only been an hour since I finished making the jam, but my jam isn’t setting. I am nervous it won’t set! So if it doesn’t set, I would like to try to re-set it, but I am not sure how long to process it for. It’s Strawberry Saskatoon jam. Can you help me? Thanks!

    1. Before you freak out about the set of this jam, let it sit for at least 24 hours. Jam rarely sets up immediately. It often needs to fully cool for a day before you can determine whether the set is too soft or not. However, if it doesn’t set, the issue may be the reduced sugar. At this point, you’re best off calling it sauce and not worrying about the set too much. For more about what sugar does in canning, read this blog post:

  • I made a tomato jam recipe that didn’t call for pectin. I was skeptical about it thickening enough but people were saying it turned out great so I tried it. I should have listened to myself because it’s very runny after 2 days…even the partial jar I put in the fridge is still runny. Can I use this method to thicken a jam that didn’t have pectin added to begin with? Instead of reprocessing, could I just heat the jam and add some pectin every time I open a new jar, then just keep that jam refrigerated? I used half pint jars, though, so that might be tricky.

    1. I don’t think that this approach would work for tomato jam. Most tomato jams thicken through reduction, like fruit butters.

  • You say to add 1 TBSP of powdered pectin to the jam – but exactly how much liquid would be in the pot? There are many recipes out there – each one with difference jar sizes/amounts. Would it be 1 TBSP to 8 half pint jars?

    Also, it this no sugar required pectic or sugar required pectin? I have both on hand.

    I am planning on reprocessing my jam tonight so this information would be very helpful!

    1. I use 1 tablespoon of conventional fruit pectin (the one that needs sugar) for an average sized batch of jam, which to my mind is one that starts with between three and four pounds of jam. However, there are a lot of variables here. Was this a low sugar batch of jam? If so, this approach may not work.

      Before you proceed, make sure to read this post:

  • My wife used original sure jell when revipe called for no sugar pectin and peach jam did not set any thing we can do to save we tried the save or fix thst vomes in box but did not work

  • I worked for 10 hours yesterday trying to make peach jam…my husband had gotten up early and peeled ALL the peaches, thinking he was helping me. I had 3 pots going all day long, one I was doing 1 batch in at a time, 1 had 2 batches at a time, and 1 had 3. I used liquid pectin for all. I never even water bathed them because I was falling asleep! Now I wake up this morning and none of them are set. I am new to canning jam and had no idea making large batches wouldn’t work. I have 60 quarts and 11 pints!!! Do you think I can fix them?

  • I just canned some peeper relish that required 16oz of liquid certo. I made a big mistake and only used 5.7 oz (what a dummy!!). I processed the jars and didn’t realize my mistake until after. I realize that the relish will be more runny, but will the relish still be preserved ok with the smaller amount of certo? I don’t want to poison anyone…thanks for any help you can give.

    1. Pectin doesn’t make something safe or unsafe, so your relish is fine. I’m surprised that you have a recipe that calls for 16 ounces of liquid pectin, though. That’s a hell of a lot of pectin.

  • Reading through all the comments I see that you don’t recommend this method for jellies that had liquid pectin in the original recipe. Is there absolutely no hope for those? Could you point me to any other post you might have done covering this. The recipe I followed for rhubarb/habenero pepper jelly had a yield of 13 half-pints and I was counting on them being Christmas gifts but who wants syrup like that? Not a very useful product. Sad Canner Face here. Pomona’s from here on out, no more liquid pectin recipes!

  • Help! My red pepper relish recipe started with 4lb (9 large)sweet red shepherd peppers and 2 small hot (London like Italy) red peppers.6 cups sugar 1cup vinegar . After cooking for two hours and adding to pouches liquid certo (new) at the end (and keeping simmering as I quickly filled my 16 oven sterilized jars and added sterile lids…I got 11 cups of TOO hot unset “jelly”.how can I “cool” it and set it? I have more Liquid Certo and after I wait longer (so far refrigerating is no help)can I make a batch with No hots and combine? ( I only have two sons in law who like spicy) Did I kill the pectin by simmering while filling jars? (10 mins)
    I’m a discouraged rookie.

  • I made 2 batches of strawberry jam (using the recipe included in the MCP pectin)… neither one set up :(, tried the ‘reboil, add a box of dissolved pectin) fix as per instructions… 1 batch set, 1 did not… now I’m not sure what to do?… just reboil 1 more time ?… add any more pectin?

    1. How big are the batches you’re making? Try using a low wide pan and dividing the jam into two pans, for better evaporation.

      1. each batch was per recipe… 5 3/4 cup of fruit and 8 1/2 cups sugar… = 11 cups
        … so just bring the jam back to a boil for …1 or 2 minutes???

        1. You need to boil it until it thickens. One or two minutes isn’t going to be enough. Cook until the temperature elevates to 220 degrees F. That’s the point at which sugars thicken and bond with the pectin.

  • I’m just relieved to know it’s safe – this was my first attempt at jam and I was planning to give the jars as gifts. I’ve been online trying to find out if the texture meant my food wasn’t safe (the jars sealed just fine and I boiled them the whole time the recipe said to boil them). Now that I know my runny jam won’t kill anyone, I’ll just add some chocolate chips to the gift box and call it “ice cream topping”.

    1. Unfortunately, I really don’t know. I don’t use a lot of Sure Jell. I typically use either Ball or Pomona’s Pectins.

  • I tried to make cinnamon apple jelly with red delious apples. I measured 5 1/2 quarts of juice after straining the apples. I added 4 cups sugar and a box of or one package of Sure Jell and cooked the sure jell for 1 minute and mixed it in the apple juice. I checked the temperature at 220 degrees and removed from heat and added 2 drams of oil of cinnamon and stired real good and filled 8 oz jars a 1/4 inch from top and placed the seals and bands on tight and waited for the jars to seal. All the jars sealed, but none of them set. I went to bed for 7 hours to set. I got up this morning at 5:15am December 2 2016 and none of them set. How can I make this right? I was hoping to have Christmas presents made from this jelly and now I have nothing but runny solution. HELP!!!!!!

  • My crabapple jelly always comes out gooey. It’s not runny, but it is thick like honey. My other mainstay is chokecherry jelly which always results in a very nice firm set.

    I used sure jell pectin and used their recipe in their pamphlet. 7 cups of juice and 9 cups of sugar for one box of pectin. I gave it a hard rolling boil for 1 minute with the pectin in the juice and then another rolling boil for a minute after adding the sugar.

    In years past I always have trouble with my crabapple jelly. I tried different combinations of sugar, pectin and juice, but it always is either runny or pasty.

    what can cause this type of gooey set in fruit jelly?

    1. I’ve not made that particular recipe and I’ve not encountered that gooey consistency before in making jelly, so I just have no idea.

      1. Thanks,
        Here are two more questions, just to eliminate some variables.

        How closely do I have to watch the pH? should I buy a pH meter?
        I have read that pH can affect the pectin, which is why some recipes call for lemon juice.

        Once I add the sugar I don’t need to cook it to the gel temperature do I? I think you are not supposed to do that when using added pectin.

    2. here is a follow up:
      I made a second batch of the crabapple jelly from the same juice. This time I added about half a box of no-sugar pectin along with the box of regular pectin. I wanted to add pectin, but I did not want to add more sugar.
      This seems to have worked. The jelly from this batch is firm after setting overnight.
      I guess since I was using very ripe fruit the amount of natural pectin was lower than what the recipe was made for.

  • I made wonderful guava…. glaze. It was supposed to be a jelly, but it didn’t set. I followed your fix above, to the letter, and it still didn’t set. It’s thicker, but it didn’t set.

    So, now it’s a glaze. On the label it say’s “glaze.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I lost a jar of whatever in the boiling process of my fix, so I’m not going to try again. I will suggest brushing the glaze on porky bits or on fruit instead of melted apricot jam.

    Right now I’m listening to the wonderful “ping” or “pop” of the seal of jelly jars fresh out of the canner. I had a few bottles of left over wine. I measured them and then reduced them to the 3.5 cups called for in my recipe (from Ball). In the reducing wine I added some rosemary and bay leaf. Once I was down to 3.5 cups, I proceeded.

    Gosh, there was half a jar left over. I just took a taste of warm jam. It will be fabulous with cheese or as part of a glaze on meaty bits.

    Have a great holiday.

  • How long can I wait before trying to fix my jam? I made a batch before Christmas and it never set up right, but it was processed and all jars sealed. I was going to fix it the next day but both kids got sick, then my 4 year old broke his arm, and just with holiday craziness I didn’t get a chance. Is it too late now to open them all up and cook again and add more pectin?

  • Made jalapeño jelly that did not set up-ideas? It’s a funny jelly that sets up one year and not the next-Add pouch of pectin? Tablespoon of powdered pectin? Thanks

  • My mother is trying to make pear preserves and they’re too runny. She doesn’t use pectin. Is it possible for her to get them to thicken without it?

    1. She could try cooking them longer. Unfortunately, pears are naturally low in pectin, so it’s hard to get them to set up firmly without additional pectin.

  • I am a novice jam maker. I’ve made several batches over the years, some have set, some have not, and I cannot seem to perfect the science of the process.

    One of my points of confusion arises from how long to boil the jam. The sure-gel instructions say to bring the fruit and sugar to a boil for exactly one minute, then add the pectin, and bring to a boil again for exactly one minute. It seems that boiling too long can cause the pectin to break down. yet, many websites recommend boiling for longer to produce a thickened jam. Which part of the process do you boil longer – the first boil or the second boil? Both? Am I going to break down the pectin, or cause it to thicken?

    Where am I going wrong?


    1. Two minutes of boiling isn’t nearly enough to get jam to set up. Boiling too long can break down pectin, but it takes upwards of an hour of active boiling for that to happen.

  • Made a batch of strawberry jam added 1cup of lemon juice instead of 1/4 cup!! Tried adding 2pkgs of liquid certo instead of ¹. And more sugar. Is noteworthy. Can I rebook and add powdered certo?

  • I have eight half pint jars of strawberry jam that didn’t set up thick enough…my question is can I redo that whole batch in one pot ? And if so how much pectin should I add?

    1. Yes. Open up the jars and empty them back into the pot. As far as the pectin goes, there is no one perfect amount. Start with one tablespoon and work up, as needed.

  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! I’m so glad I found this! I love making jam and never had issues until this year. I didn’t know what went wrong but all but 1 of my batches didn’t set up. I later realized that it was because all but 1 of my batches were made with previously frozen fruit and I did not account for the extra liquid content. I had never made jam from frozen fruit before so I didn’t realize this would be a problem. I tried your method because all of the other methods I found wanted me to add extra water and/or sugar. I didn’t want to do that so I tried yours. It worked beautifully! Now instead of jars and jars of syrup I have lovely jars of jam! Oh and I mistakenly used powdered pectin to remake a batch that had used liquid pectin and it worked just fine.

  • My husband decided to be super helpful last night after I made several batches of strawberry freezer jam and placed them in the freezer after I went to bed. They probably only sat out 3-4 hours before he did this, are they ruined?

  • I Could use some answers/help please. Is it possible to fix a jam that didn’t require pectin with adding liquid pectin and recooking? Can one made a jelly bag and a spice bag at home, and what kind of material should be used for each, since I cannot locate a store that sells them?

    1. Fixing jam that didn’t set is always chancy. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. You can certainly try it, though.

      And the best material to make spice bags and jelly bags from is butter muslin. It’s stronger than cheese cloth and can be reused more.

  • I have 32 1/2 half pint jars of apple pie jam or should i say apple pie syrup plan to reprocess it and ad more pectin

  • I made prickly pear jelly but it didn’t set up – I now have 56 pints of syrup ?
    How do I re make it so it will jell?
    I’m just sick about this as I sell a lot of jelly normally but now just have this syrup?

  • I haven’t seen an answer on here since July 2017 so not sure if this will be answered or not but here goes. I made orange marmalade that is syrupy and no pectin was used. I cooked the meat, the peels and juice up to the 220°F stage. As soon as it reached the 220 I jarred it. I’m thinking I might need to reboil and do that freezer test, any advice? Should I try using Pomona’s Universal Pectin the low sugar kind not that Surejell as I’ve never in my life used a Pectin but I’m not wanting any of that kind for sure. Thanks

    1. Pomona’s Pectin will not work with a preserve with a traditional amount of sugar. Your best bet is to reboil that marmalade until it passes multiple set tests (try the plate test).

  • Used guava for the first time for strawberry-guava jam. It’s beautiful but the set is too soft. I’ve not tried recooking wwith more pectin before. This is a lazy woman’s question – do I have to re-wash and re-sterilize the jars? I know to use new lids.

  • 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?

    1. 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.

    1. try putting a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in an boil for a few minutes sometimes this works

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

      1. I made blackcurrant and jostaberry jam yesterday (16 jars) as the fruit had been frozen but had started to defrost as the freezer setting had been accidentally changed. Plenty of lemon juice was added but I never use pectin as it is naturally occurring in blackcurrants. Not sure if the freezing altered the pectin level but after boiling the 3kgs of fruit with the sugar and lemon juice for at least 90 min, the resultant ‘jam’ is a couple of steps up from a syrup. Tried it on icecream as a topping and it was delicious, but too runny for toast as a jam. I don’t want to reprocess the contents of the jars. All the jars ‘popped’ so have good seals. Will this ‘sauce’ keep well in these jars on a pantry shelf indefinitely, like jam would, or will it form mould eventually due to its runny consistency? Thanks.

        1. They jars are perfectly fine and will keep just as the jam would have. Consistency doesn’t play any role in shelf life.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Question – I made marmalade, it’s my first time, and it sooooo did not set. I haven’t waited 48 hours yet. I will. Here’s my two part question:

    1. I had processed the jars in a water bath canner before I realized I had a problem. I don’t have room in the fridge for my 13 jars of runny syrup – can I leave it out on the counter?

    2. Can I wait a full week to reprocess?? It’s kind of a big project and I don’t really have time to do it now. 🙁 I don’t want to get botulism, but in theory if the jars are sealed it might be ok?? I should add the caveat that I think one problem is that I may not have enough sugar. So it’s really watery. I boiled it a good 10-15 min and it wouldn’t go above 213.

    1. You don’t need to refrigerate the jars. As long as the seals on the jars are good, they are shelf stable. And at this point, you can wait as long as you need to remake it. It will hold until you’re ready to reboil it. Sometimes, I need to boil marmalade 45 minutes to an hour to achieve the temperature elevation necessary to get it to set. But if you feel like you didn’t add enough sugar, that’s probably the issue. Have you read my posts about making marmalade? These two might be of help.

      1. I’ve made a lot of jelly over the years. I use paraffin in hot jars, seal with hot lids and bands. As long as the jars vacuum seal, I have kept them for a year or more w/o bad results. I have never used a water bath. The same has been true of bread and butter pickles.

  • My jalapeno jelly did not set I’m going to redo it. do I need to rewash the jars and resterilize them.

  • I made some jelly and it didn’t jell overnight and I was wondering if 1 1/2 boxes of surejell wasn’t enough for my 10cups of juice and 11cups of sugar. Can u tell me how to fix my jelly please

  • It sounds like you just didn’t boil it long enough to reach a temperature needed to allow it to set. You can rework it to get it to the correct consistency.

  • I made two batches of dandelion jelly and one did not set, even after giving it a week. Looked all over for help on getting it to set and found your post and immediately tried it. I think the second batch didn’t set because I used a tall, narrower pot. Your fix worked like magic. Thanks so much!

  • This is my third batch of strawberry jame and the only one that didn’t set. I used 6 cups of strawberry purée instead of 5 cups (I didn’t want to waste them) is this why it didn’t set? Can I do the thing where I add it all back in and add more pectin?

      1. Is there any way to fix it if mine is done but runny because I used too many strawberries?

        1. If you used more strawberries than the recipe suggested, you can open up all the jars and cook it down some more. Or you can embrace it as it is and call it strawberry sauce.

  • Okay, I made a lot (about 40 8oz jars) of strawberry jam using liquid pectin (Certo). I doubled the first batch, but the rest of the batches were about 6 cups each (of fruit). None of the jam set properly. I set some aside to use as syrup, and reprocessed following the directions on another website. I did not add more sugar, as I was using liquid pectin, but I did add lemon juice. After about 72 hours, it still did not set. Can I reprocess a third time, and use powdered pectin? Do I have to add more sugar? Or can I just pour the jars into the pot and boil the jam longer? Please help!!

  • On May 31 I made strawberry jam and used liquid pectin (Certo). I wasn’t careful and realized that I had twice the amount of fruit and sugar than the recipe for 1 package of liquid Certo called for. To save the jam … After I dump all the fluid back into a pot — Do I add 1 teaspoon at a time until it thickens or do I add the 2 packages of liquid pectin that the recipe called for?
    After 24 hours the jam has not set and the test product in the fridge is firmer, but still not set.

    1. If you used double the fruit, you need to use double the pectin. I’d just add in the total amount needed and boil until you see signs of thickening.

  • When I made Apple jelly, it gelled on the spoon and the pan, but it did not set in the jars, I had a smidge left over and put in fridge, still syrup.

    1. No. The increased thickness comes from evaporating water out of the jam. If you boil the closed jars, no evaporation is occurring.

  • Please help!!

    I picked 5.5lbs of strawberries on Saturday (06/23/2018), cut them up, crushed them and used them in a jam recipe (7 C sugar, .5 Tbl lemon juice, 5 C crushed strawberries, 1 packet liquid pectin). They aren’t setting. They aren’t like WATER, but they definitely move easily in the jars when tilted. I called CERTO (Kraft, really), and the guy told me to add 3 Tbl sugar per C of jam plus 1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice and 1.5 tsp pectin. That is a LOT of sugar.

    First: can I just put all the jam back into a pot and re-boil, adding powdered pectin until it starts firming up?

    Second: can I re-use the lids, or must I buy all new ones?

    Third: thanks much in advance, hopefully someone can let me know ASAP.

    1. Barbara, you will need to put all the jam back in the pot and bring it back to a boil. I would use more pectin and some additional sugar to prevent the pectin from clumping.

      You do need to use new lids.

      1. Thank you Marisa! Must I re-boil the jars, or just the new lids? I’ve already got the jam in a big pot, will add a bit more sugar (probably 1/4 C) but the glass jars haven’t been re-boiled. I hope that’s okay!

  • I made a double batch of strawberry jam last night and only after processing realized I did not double my sugar. The jam is predictably runny. I DID double the pectin appropriately. When I redo, do I add the full amount of sugar that was missing? Do I add even more pectin even though the amount already included was technically right?

  • I made cherry jam according to recipe in the Ball Blue Book. I added my sugar to the cherries and got that boiling and then realized I had powdered pectin, not liquid. Looked online to see if I could substitute and got the conversion raster, but it said powered had to be added to sugar from the beginning. Now my jam is mostly liquid with cherries floating on top and not gelling at all. It’s only been about 10 hours so I know I need to let it set but I’ve got a feeling nothing is going to happen. Can I start all over again? I have no need for cherry syrup!

  • I have the same problem as Trudy Hoffman, comment #167. I made mustang grape jam and it jelled on the plate and spoon. After the water bath, the jars sealed perfectly but the jam is now very liquidy. I plan on redoing it, but why would it turn back to liquid from the water bath?

  • Hi Marie! I just wanted to Thank You for all the answers you provided everyone! Must take up a tonne of time, you are appreciated!

  • I made some peach jam and let it set over night and it did not set right, still a little runny. I want to pour it back in the pot and redo it, how much more pectin should I add and should I add any more sugar or lemon juice to get it to set right? Also when I reset the lids and rings back on how long should I boil the jars ?

    1. Audra, I just rewrote the instructions in that post to be more clear. It now tells you exactly how much pectin to use for every 4 cups of jam that needs to be remade. Once the jam is remade, you proceed as if it is a new batch. New lids and the same water bath process that you did the first time.

  • My apricot jam didn’t set. I want to make more can I add more pectin when making a new batch. I use sure jell less sugar. When I remake my jam do I measure using a liquid measuring cup or dry cup

  • Please help. SOS. I’ve been trying to make apricot jam for 4 years from my tree. Every time I try (Every year) it comes out the same. I try everybody’s suggestions on getting the jam thicker, nothing seems to work. I’m at my whitts end. Does anybody have any idea’s? Please.

    1. Are you using a recipe? Pectin? What’s the ratio of sugar to fruit? I need more detail to be helpful.

  • I made watermelon jelly that has not set up. Its been 24 hrs and still runny. I will give it another 24 hrs but just in case it doesn’t…I used 6 cups of watermelon juice, 1 cup of lemon juice and 10 cups sugar. I used 2 boxes (4 pouches) of certo. If it doesn’t set how much more certo to I need to add? Also actually i had one box of certo left and 1 box of liquid ball pectin. Could it fail if i used 2 different brands of pectin? and if I have to reboil can I use a box of powdered fruit pectin or do I have to stick to liquid pectin?

  • I have made two lots of strawberry jam . One is too stiff the other too runny. It has been suggested that I put them both together back in the pan and heat it to even them up.What do you suggest?

  • I attempted to make jalapeño jelly that hasn’t set. It’s my first time in a long while to make the jelly and I used a different recipe. I also substituted 3/4c agave for each 1c sugar that the recipe called for and used liquid pectin. Could the agave be the issue? Thanks for your help!

    1. I am sure that the agave is the issue. It’s a liquid sweetener, which means you altered the liquid to pectin ratio in the recipe.

  • Found your site- love it ! A lot of great information! And I love ur sense of humor!

    My daughter and I just made our first batch of red/green/yellow jalapeño jelly- last night- 4 cans set, 8 kinda loose- we will give it another 48-72 hrs. And then as you mention reconsider if it’s preserves or syrup! Hahahha!

  • I made jalapeno jam and after I put it in my jars the amount that didn’t fit in the jars set but my water bath was not boiling so I waited till it boiled then put my jars in for 10 minutes and it has been 17 hours and it is still runny. What do you suggest I do I would like it thicker.

  • Can i add more pectin after i boil the pectin water ratio and redo it to make it thicken or if i put it in the freezer will it thicken?

  • WOW this is like magic. All I had on hands was light certo pectin powder and it did a wonderful job. Thank you thank you. Before everything was floating on top of the jar. Now it’s all mixed in and darker color. I love it. Thanks.

  • I just made 8 jars of grape jam. I hope they will set by tomorrow morning but it was encouraging to hear they should be given 24-48hrs.

  • What if it’s been longer than 24-48 hours. Is there a time limit on how long it can be to reprocess the Jam or jellies?
    Thsnk you for responding to me.
    Elsie from Ohio

    1. As long as they are properly processed, you can remake a jam or jelly even a month or more after it was made.

  • Thank you so much for the advise about Sure Jell’s artifical sweetner! That makes sense why my Jams were runny!
    I didn’t want a real sweet jam so I wasn’t putting in enough sugar.
    I did order Pomona’s Universal Pectin from Amazon, Just ordered 3 pks to try!
    Thank you for your great advice to a first time canner!
    I will WB my jams in my new Nesco for the first time too,
    Margie Davis

  • I made jalapeño jelly for the first time yesterday. The jelly congealed and is thick and sticky like honey. What did I do wrong?

    1. It sounds like you overcooked it. You can always heat it with a little water before serving to help thin it out.

  • I made apple Jelly with unflavored gelatin and processed in water bath. after they were done I realized that the process was for the recipe on the previous page. Is it safe to consume?
    It said do not process or freeze. I did not realize until after I had all ready done it.
    If it is unsafe to consume I will through away but want to know for sure.

    1. If it’s been 24 hours or less since you processed it, it should be fine. Otherwise, I would probably discard.

  • Made. no cook freezer jam, not thick after setting. Can I fix it by adding pectin or do I have to cook it?? Or will cooking rui it?

    1. Did you use freezer jam? Or just conventional pectin? If you used freezer pectin, cooking it might make it weird. But if you used conventional pectin, cooking it should be fine.

  • Thank you. I just remade a batch of strawberry jam that didn’t set, (even though I am an experienced jam maker!) and this time, using your directions, it came out perfect. I really didn’t want to waste it all as I picked the berries myself. Thanks again.

    1. I like the powdered fruit pectin. I typically buy the Ball brand because the canister makes it easy to use just what is needed.

  • What kind of pectin do you use when you make jam and how do you know how much to use for each recipe? I’ve never used any other pectin but sure jell and I was thinking that it was my fault for the jam not turning out right. Thanks for telling me about the changed formula!

    1. For these steps, I use conventional fruit pectin (I like the Ball brand one in the canister).

  • Can a grape juice concentrate be added , plus the sugar and more pectin to help it set. My grapes weren’t totally ripe as much as I would have liked.

    1. It sounds almost like you’re making an entirely new product. You can try, but I can’t guarantee your outcome.

  • Concord Grape Jam without Pectin: So first time in trying to make old fashioned grape jam. I used grapes from my own vines. Recipe I found online was to use Grapes, Sugar and Lemon juice. I did a batch of 30 cups of grapes juice, 15 cups sugar and just over a cup of Lemon juice. I boiled to 220 temp for about 2mins, using a thermometer that is used to check meats. I used mason jars, made 10 pints and let sit for 48hrs. Did not see any jar setting up. I tried putting in the frig, still no setting. Did some more reading online and looks like I took to long to bring up to temp as I was not sure what setting the oven top needed to be. So took a while to get to temp.
    I next bought new lid seals, a new candy thermometer and re-boiled with temp set much higher, only took about 20mins to reach temp the second time around and the pints decreased from 10 to 9.5. I let sit over night on counter to cool off and then back into frig. It has now been 3 days and still not setting. Not sure what to do at this point. Any suggestion? thank you

  • Thank you!!! This is great information! My first attempt at a jam was with Autumn Olive and I tried to do the ‘Apple for pectin’ method, but only had 1 instead of the required 2. Big mistake.
    And then I was going to ask how long after canning you can wait, but saw your previous comment.
    Thank you!!!

  • I made jalapeño pepper jelly on Saturday and today is Monday. It is runny. I pour all back in potbrought to a boil
    Added 2 tablespoons of corn starch to 4 cups of juice I had. 8 cups of juice or runny jelly so I used 4 tablespoon of cornstarch brought to a boil put in jars and did a water bath it still looks runny. I have another batch to do and I used sure jell in both to start with so should next batch I get some liquid pectin and try.

    1. Cornstarch isn’t heat stable, so it’s not a good tool to use to get jams to set. Even if it does get to your desired consistency, it will soften again over time.

  • Thank you. I made 3 batches of apple juice jelly the batch with the dry pectin set awesome, the 2 with the liquid pectin is runny yet. I will wait the full 48 hours before, I try this. I did follow the directions for the dry vs liquid pectin use.

  • I made muscadine jelly and after I put them in jars I realized I didn’t add pectin to it. What can I do to remake it with pectin? Can you please give instructions. Thanks

    1. Pour the liquid back into the pot, add the pectin and reboil. There’s not much more to it than that.

  • I have never had the problem of “NO SET” in the past, however when I make strawberry jam in AZ at a higher elevation, I have had each batch fail to set. The elavation is about 400′ and 1200′. The 400 ‘ does not have a problem. Is this part of the failure reason? We have a water softener on our house in AZ, does the small amount of salt that might be left on the bottles or in the mix cause the set issue?

    1. The water softener shouldn’t be an issue. I would probably extend the cooking time a bit to compensate for the slight elevation.

  • Is their a quick fix for runny strawberry freezer jam? It is partially set but not enough to my liking. Fixes I have seen call for boiling & adding more sugar & pectin. I made 4 batches & they are in my freezer & I really do not want to go to all that work – 2 of my boxes of sure gel were older so I’m not sure all of my jam is runny until I open them

    1. You could do something like stir in a little cornstarch upon defrosting, and then heat it until it thickens. You could do this for each container just before using, so that it doesn’t feel like a ton of work all at once.

  • I made jelly today and it did not get thick. Can I just put the jars back in a water bath and reheat two seconds or do I have to dump them out and start all over

    1. If you want it to thicken, you need to open up the jars and recook the jelly. Redoing the water bath won’t do it.

    1. Freezer jam is a different beast entirely. Were you sure that you used freezer jam pectin? You can’t swap in regular pectin in freezer jam and expect it to set up.

  • Does this method work if I didn’t use pectin at all the first time. I tried a no pectin recipe and it didn’t turn out.

    1. You’d need to put the jam back in a saucepan, heat it up, and proceed as you normally would when canning any high acid food.

  • As a chef I should be able to make jam I’ve made strawberry/rhubarb with no problem and beet jelly no problem, this darn black raspberry that is given me grief thanks for the help

  • I made blackberry jam for the first time but I don’t like the seeds in it so I used a strainer to remove them leaving just the juice I used liquid pectin and it did not set should I use liquid pectin again during my process to get it to set

    1. You could add a bit more pectin and cook it longer. Did you use the full amount of sugar? If you reduced it at all, that could also impact the set.

  • So how many times can you retry to thicken jam. I made tomato jam and did a trial batch of only one cup of jam and it set up perfectly. Then I tried exactly the same thing but with 8 cups and I’m afraid it’s not working. When I did the one cup trial it immediately started to thicken. The 8 cups aren’t acting the same, I guess I still need to wait 24 hours?

    1. The more you put in the pot, the more you need to cook it. But do give it a little time before remaking it.