August 12, 2012

Lessons in Jam Making: The Gel Test

Last week I made this Blueberry Raspberry Jam with a friend. It was her first time making jam so I was showing her the ropes. Unfortunately I'm not that experienced myself, and the jam ended up being a bit on the runny side. Thankfully, it's not gross-run-off-your-toast-syrup-"jam", but it's definitely not on par with grandma's good old preserves.

This was the first recipe I'd used that called for liquid pectin. The recipe doesn't specify that we should do a gel test (either a sheet test or freezer test). I followed the recipe by boiling hard for one minute after pectin addition, and trusted that it would set. Which it didn't...yet! Bernadin's website states that:

"Unique circumstances regarding the growing season, the fruit variety or the fruit itself occasionally necessitate more than 24 hours for a gel to form. Therefore, wait two weeks to see if the product will gel. Do not disturb or shake the product during this time."

So maybe it will set in the next two weeks. Either way, I think I will always perform a gel test from now on, just to make sure before I process jams and jellies.

Apparently you can also remake jam that is already cooked in order to attempt a better set.

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