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Is my crystallized jam unsavable???

ostapiej Apr 28, 2012 02:06 PM

I've been making jam for over 35 years and have never had this problem. Last weekend i made 85 jars of fresh strawberry jam and everyone of them looks like they have crystallized. These are year end gifts for volunteers and i cannot hand them out. Help! Is there a way this can be saved???

  1. o
    ostapiej Jun 8, 2012 05:41 AM

    I ended up remaking all 85 jars. I did try the lemon juice trick and while it looked like it might have worked, some of the cystals just wouldn't melt and I did not want to burn the jam - so it was just easier to re do it all.

    1. todao Apr 28, 2012 02:17 PM

      That's a lot of jam ... do you think perhaps you over-cooked it?
      Not that an answer to that question would do any good now.
      I have had some limited success reconstituting crystallized jams by heating them to a low temperature and adding heated water and lemon juice before letting the cool at room temperature, but it's not a guarantee. Just be sure you avoid adding cold water to the heated jam in the pot. That simply aggravates the problem.

      5 Replies
      1. re: todao
        wyogal Apr 28, 2012 02:22 PM

        Why add water at all? I've not heard of that. I would think it would dilute the pectin and come out too runny.

        1. re: wyogal
          todao Apr 28, 2012 02:31 PM

          Yes, I agree that it would dilute the pectin.
          But water can hold only so much sugar in solution before becoming saturated. The hotter the water, the more sugar it will hold in solution, while it's hot. When it cools, the sugar that isn't held in solution crystallizes. When I work at solving the problem I just want to get rid of the crystals and because sugar is hygroscopic I figure bringing it to a syrup consistency and, perhaps, suffering a less jelled product is better than crystallized jam. At least it spreads better without the crystals, even if it isn't solidly jelled. But if lemon juice alone will work (what's the ratio you'd recommend?) then by all means ostapiej might be happier with that approach.

          1. re: todao
            wyogal Apr 28, 2012 03:45 PM

            Makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

        2. re: todao
          ostapiej Apr 28, 2012 02:32 PM

          I doubt that I overcooked. I made them in batches, no doubling or anything. Clean pot each time etc...And, as I've said, over 35 years of experience and I make jam, several types, several times a year.

          1. re: ostapiej
            wyogal Apr 28, 2012 03:46 PM

            I know, it happens. My grandma would always blame the weather when freakish stuff happened. Lightning, barometric pressure, a storm is a comin'...
            Hope the added acid (and some water) helps!

        3. w
          wyogal Apr 28, 2012 02:15 PM

          Can you open some and warm it, add lemon juice (acid will help prevent the crystallization), and see what happens?

          1 Reply
          1. re: wyogal
            ostapiej Apr 28, 2012 02:30 PM

            Yes, I'm thinking of doing that. Then I'd only need to replace the seals. I took 3 jars and did another water bath in hopes the heat would break down the sugar and will see tomorrow how it turned out. But, I am thinking I need to do the lemon juice.

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