Salvaging jellied products: Is it too late?

Posted: Sunday, September 02, 2001

The honor of being the most frequently asked question last week goes to: "My jelly didn't gel, is there a way to save it?"

The short answer is, yes, jams and jellies that don't gel can be salvaged. The long answer is as follows:

If you have the Alaska Cooperative Extension's publication, "Collecting and Using Alaska's Wild Berries," you will note that those remake recipes start with four cups of jelly or jam. In "So Easy to Preserve," the University of Georgia recommends recooking a trial batch of 1 cup of jelly or jam. Once you see this remake will work, they suggest you work with no more than 8 cups of jam or jelly at a time. Be sure to multiply the amount of sugar, water, acid and pectin according to the number of cups you are remaking.

To remake cooked jelly or jam with powdered pectin: For each 1 cup of jelly or jam mix 1 tablespoon water and 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered pectin in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add the one cup of jelly or jam and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir thoroughly. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil mixture hard for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam and fill hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process in a boiling water bath for the length of time given in original recipe.

To remake cooked jelly or jam with liquid pectin: For each 1 cup of jelly or jam, measure and set aside: 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid pectin. In a saucepan bring only jelly or jam to boil over high heat, while stirring. At once, add the sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and proceed as above with skimming, filling and processing.

To remake cooked jelly or jam without added pectin: For each 1 cup of jelly or jam, into a saucepan measure jam or jelly and 1 1/2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice. Heat to boiling and boil until the jellying point is reached. Use the spoon test or refrigerator test to determine doneness. (See below). Remove from heat, skim off foam and fill hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process in a boiling water bath for the length of time given in the original recipe.

The spoon or sheet test for jellies involves dipping a cool metal spoon in the boiling jelly mixture. Raise the spoon at least a foot above the kettle, out of the steam, and turn the spoon so the syrup runs off the side. If the syrup forms two drops that flow together and fall off the spoon as one sheet, the jelly should be done.

The refrigerator test for jams is done by pouring a small amount of boiling jam on a cold plate and put it in the freezer for a few minutes. If the mixture gels, it should be done. During this test, the jam mixture should be removed from the heat.

To remake uncooked jelly or jam with liquid pectin: In a bowl mix jelly or jam and for each cup add 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Stir well until sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes). Add 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid pectin per cup of jelly or jam and stir until well blended (about 3 minutes). Pour into clean containers. Cover with tight lids. Let stand in refrigerator until set. Then store in refrigerator or freezer.

To remake uncooked jelly or jam with powdered pectin: In a bowl mix jelly or jam and 2 tablespoons sugar for each cup of jelly or jam. Stir well until well dissolved (about 3 minutes). Measure 1 tablespoon water and 1 1/2 powdered pectin for each cup of jelly or jam. Place in small saucepan and place over low heat, stirring until the powdered pectin is dissolved. Add to the sugar and fruit mixture and stir until thoroughly blended (about 2 to 3 minutes). Pour into clean containers. Cover with tight lids. Let stand in refrigerator until set. Then store in refrigerator or freezer.

(From "So Easy to Preserve," Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Georgia.)

Linda Athons is an agent at the Alaska Cooperative Extension office on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. She is a home economist and involved in the 4-H/Youth Development programs.



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