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May 17, 2010 02:14 PM

i think I messed up my strawberry jam...PLEASE HELP!!!

I made strawberry jam for the first time using strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. I followed the receipe for cooking but unfortunatly did not read the part about sterilizing jars and using jars. I just poured into glass bowls i had with no lid.

Did I mess up? Can i use what I made? Can I fix it if I did mess up?

Please help!!!

the kids picked the berries and I would hate to have to throw out the jam. I only made a small batch enough for about a weeks worth.

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  1. Did you put the bowl in the fridge?

    Honestly, with normal amounts of sugar, jam is some of the most shelf-stable stuff around. Sugar and acid are the original preservatives.

    1. You have nothing to worry about. The sterilized jars with lids are for longer term storage. Enjoy your jam! Strawberries aren't in season here for about 6 more weeks, it's my favourite time of year!

      1 Reply
      1. re: cheesymama

        Just to clarify even more, the sterilized jars are for storage at room temperature. It'll be fine in the fridge for longer than it will take you to eat it up. It's not going to "spoil" in the sense of growing bacteria; it might eventually grow mold, which is generally harmless but tastes yucky.

      2. I made a few jars on Saturday too, one of my little jars that was perfect size for the leftover bit, sort of happened the same way. I put the seal on the jar, then when I went to grab the ring I couldn't find it anywhere. I had accidentally knocked it into the linen drawer. I found it later, but the jam had cooled so the jar was not properly seales as the others were.
        The information that I have is that you can make jam, not seal it and it's good for a week. I however have pushed that limit and gone a few weeks past. I'd be on the lookout for anything remotely fuzzy, and if spotted, toss it.

        1. Just use plastic wrap to seal the bowl. Or put it in a Tupperware container. As long as you're only keeping it for a week, it should be fine.

          Don't throw it out! That would be so sad!

          2 Replies
          1. re: hughes227

            Does this mean that once you open a sealed jar of strawberry jam that you should use that within a week, also??

            1. re: KathyG

              No, jam lasts for a considerally longer time than a week. As LauaGrace states, sugar and acid are the original preservatives. It'll most likely be gone before anything remotely off, like a little mold growing on the top, happens, and to be truthful, I've never seen that happen with refrigerated jams. Here's a link with some info, and note that these are conservative storage period recommendations:


              Scroll down to "How long can I keep my homemade jams and jellies once I open them?"

              You can fix runny or thin jam if you reheat it to boiling, and re-can according to your recipe instructions, but if your jam is a good consistency, you run the risk of possibly reducing the jam too much and ending up with something akin to jello. Just keep it refrigerated and enjoy.

          2. If you don't think you'll go through all your bowls of jam fast enough your other alternative is to put it in reasonable size containers, leave a little room for expansion, and freeze it. It'll keep up to a year in the freezer. The consistency may change a little but just give it a good stir when you're ready to use it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: morwen

              What about bringing the jam to the boiling point and then processing it in sterilized jars?

              1. re: MMRuth

                I mentioned that that is an option for the OP. The OP can just bring the jam to no more than 212° and seal it in hot sterilized jars and lids, as you would do with jam or jelly that hadn't sealed properly, and process in a water bath. As long as the jam isn't boiled for any length of time to cook it further past it's gell stage, it will be just fine. Cooked for longer periods wmay result in thick, rubbery jam. Or just keep it refrigerated or freeze.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Thanks - I missed that! I have a batch ready to boil down that's been sitting in my fridge for a week now!