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Dec 10, 2009 10:16 AM

Jam won't set

I am making a pear and ginger jam and it didn't set in the jars, but the leftovers that sat in the fridge did. ???? Can anyone tell me why this would have happened?

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  1. Do the leftovers stay jelled when warmed to room temperature?

    And did the leftovers spend a little more time in the hot saucepan than the jelly that was poured into the jars? Maybe the extra cooking time made the difference?

    8 Replies
    1. re: BernalKC

      It was all put taken off the stove and put into jars immediately. It had started to set up within minutes. could the time the jars spent in the water to seal make it break down somehow?

      1. re: funkybunny

        I think you didn't cook it long enough but there could be other issues. Here's a link that has some troubleshooting tips:
        Hope it works out.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Thanks for the link. I am wondering if anyone knows if is just takes longer for pear jam to set, or does the water sealing effect the jam itself and change the consistency?

          1. re: funkybunny

            Plunging the jars in water will lower their temp quickly. So if they are piping hot at that point, you would be shortening the cook time ever so slightly. Seems unlikely for that to be the cause here, but...

            1. re: funkybunny

              Water-bath processing shouldn't loosen up the consistency and if it hasn't set up in a day or so, it's not going to. To echo BernalKC's earlier question, do your "leftovers" stay firm once they've warmed up to room temperature? I'm guessing they don't. Assuming the recipe was a good one, it does sound like you didn't cook it long enough. How did you check for "doneness"?

              1. re: MikeG

                It actually did set up at room temp just fine. I am completely baffled. Can I reheat it and try adding more pectin?

                1. re: funkybunny

                  That is weird. Honestly, I don't know about adding pectin. Off the top of my head, I thought there was a specific sequence of ingredients to follow when using pectin, but I don't know much about what to do when jam goes wrong...

                  1. re: funkybunny

                    Did you add an acid to your jam? Pears are low-acid fruit and I was wondering if maybe that was the problem. Also, sometimes it takes a week or two for the jam to really set up and it seems you made it recently. Maybe you should wait a bit before reheating.
                    Anyway, you can re-cook the jam with more pectin, if you feel you need to:
                    This info is from the link I sent you, for using with powdered pectin:
                    "For each quart of jelly, mix ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin. Bring to a boil while stirring. Add jelly and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil hard ½ minute. Remove from heat, quickly skim foam off jelly, and fill sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process as recommended in Table 1."
                    The instructions for re-cooking with liquid pectin are at the link, under remaking soft jellies.
                    Good Luck!