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Dec 30, 2013 10:14 AM

Jam safety

I've read what I could find in the archives, but I still want to try a jar of blackberry jam that is unsealed. I got this as a gift a couple years ago. When I took it out of the pantry today, I found it wasn't sealed. It smells good, looks good, there is no sign of mold. I live in a high humidity climate and from what I read, that causes seals to break. On the USDA website, they said to smell and check for mold. And, they say that sugar is a preservative, and it seems that there is no chance of botulism in my jam. What do you think? Maybe I could recook it? Or would you use it as is?

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  1. Unsealed jam, for unknown amount of time, unrefrigerated, whether commercial or homemade = toss.

    If sugar was enough of a preservative, then why would we ever bother canning? I wouldn't risk my NYE champagne toast. :)

    1. Take $5.00 and go buy a really fancy jar of jam to eat.

      No risk of getting sick: priceless.

      1. There have been extended threads here about the olden days (mid last century) where very few bothered canning jams. They stuck some wax and a little piece of gingham on top and called it a day. When I get a minute I'll try to look it up.

        1 Reply
        1. re: coll

          Most of the time that was great. I used to seal jam with paraffin, myself. But those old folks got sick sometimes, too; they just couldn't use a better method because one was not available. If we had showed up in a time machine and said "hey, try this safer method," they would have been all over it. My grandmother, the master canner, who started housekeeping in 1914, was up to date on the Extension Services recommendations for canning every year. She wanted to know ways to make storage safer and better.

        2. If it's 'real' jam made with lots of sugar, it's not going to go bad EVER... if it's a modern 'low-sugar' fake jam, toss it out. Mama always sealed her homemade jam with the cellophane covers and rubber bands (she didn't like paraffin wax because she said it spoiled the taste) and sometimes they'd break... no biggy - properly made jam lasts forever.

          1. And my Grandmother in SW Michigan would add homemade blackberry and strawberry jam to the pots on the table all summer long. If they were ever washed, it sure wasn't while I was drying.

            Take a taste. What is the worst that could happen?

            1 Reply
            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              Thank you Kajikit and Indianriver! I just needed a little encouragement. This is real blackberry jam, made the old fashioned way by my friend. It smells great, has not one bit of mold, and I'm going to try it. I wouldn't eat an unsealed jar of tomatoes or something, but the jam has enough acid and sugar that I don't think it would ever spoil. Thanks again.