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Jan 14, 2011 09:19 AM

Spoon Gel Test Video? (Home Canning/Jelly-making)

Does anyone have a link to a decent video online of a spoon-dip gel test?
I tried it while doing some jellied cranberry sauce and the sauce was too stiff.

Last night I did some grapefruit marmelade. I used a thermometer this time, but either my thermometer is inaccurate (it's not a dollar store thermometer, but it's certainly not a precision digital thermometer either) or I got it too close to the bottom of the pan...either way after twice getting it to 220F according to the thermometer, it's still very runny.

Anyway, I think I just need to see the spoon test in action, and there must be videos of it online. I found one video that shows it, but it's not very clear or descriptive.

I guess a good description might be cookbook just suggests that before it's done you see 2 drips, and when it's ready those 2 drips should become one big flake, but when I did the cranberries, I never saw 2 drips or anything that I woul dhave considered a flake.

Also, how cold should the spoon be? Chilled in the refrigerator? Room temperature?

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  1. I usually call that the spoon sheeting test where the cooked jam comes off the spoon in a wide sheet.

    No video, but a couple graphics to show the sheet.

    Another test is to drop a spoonful on a cool plate and refrigerate for a couple minutes. If the the sample set, it's ready.

    1. I agree with dave, the cold plate test is much easier. Put several saucers in the freezer and when you think you're getting close to the set point take your jam pot off the heat, drop a bit of jam/jelly on the cold plate, wait a few seconds and run your finger through it. If your finger leaves a clear path behind and the jam/jelly wrinkles up, it's ready to go. If not, return your pot to the heat and a few minutes later try again. Pulling the pot off the heat while testing is imperative because if the jam/jelly is ready, it can go over the edge in the couple of minutes it takes to run the test. I've been jammin' for decades and never could master the spoon test myself.

      Sometimes jams/jellies take awhile to fully set even after they test done. My straight pepper jelly regularly takes almost 2 weeks to achieve a complete set after it's been canned. OTOH, the cranberry pepper jelly sets up immediately. I think it's due to the higher pectin in the cranberries themselves.

      1. I found one:

        However, if your spoon does this: you've definitely eaten the wrong mushrooms.

        1 Reply
        1. re: morwen

          That first one may have be even more confused!

          Next time I will give the cold plate test a whirl, although that's an interesting tidbit about things taking a long time to set...I will give the marmalade jars some time and see if they firm up.

          Thanks Dave and Morwen.