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Cherry Jam fails again aaaargh
Thu 2-Aug-12
10:17 am
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mauramac
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OK - I know it must be my fault because I do seem to have a problem getting jams/jellys to set sometimes.

I have no idea why because some days they set fine and I don't do anything differently - well I don't think I do ponder

Had to cook 4lbs cherries in one go which is more than I like to do as have often found that large amounts don't set very well, so it could have been that but have added quite a lot of pectin and still the result is sloppy and wont set.

Cherry Jam is the one I get asked for all the time so I was keen to get this one to set and I'm sure I read somewhere that if you add red currants to the cherries it helps with the set due to high pectin in currants.

So burning question of the day.........Can I reboil the jam and add red currants at this stage or is it best to cook currants and then add or just give up confused

I don't want to boil jam too much because it has alreadybeen boiled twice (1st time 15 mins and then for another 5 mins) and it goes horrid colour if overboiled) as I found out last year.

Have told hubby I'm never making cherry jam again steam

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Thu 2-Aug-12
10:56 am
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Aly
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When my cherry jam failed to set I put it in jars and labelled it as cherry sauce. It is now a firm favourite with ice cream or a type of Eton mess. Good to add to plain yogurt too.

Trying to enjoy life as it is

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Thu 2-Aug-12
12:04 pm
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mauramac
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Aly said:

When my cherry jam failed to set I put it in jars and labelled it as cherry sauce. It is now a firm favourite with ice cream or a type of Eton mess. Good to add to plain yogurt too.

 

Normally I would do this Aly but have so many people asking for Cherry Jam and although I only give it away or exchange it for other things (my window cleaner will do all the insides of my windows for a couple of jars of jam) I really did want this batch to set. Plus for most of the people I give it to they consider jam as a little treat and don't really eat puddings. My lovely daughter has just lost over 2 stone in weight and has a little bit of jam on toast as a treat but wont touch puddings.

I'm doing the ironing to take my mind off it - huh, who am I kidding, I can see it sitting in the jars refusing to set aargh

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Thu 2-Aug-12
8:45 pm
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shelley
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I find more and more a huge dose of lemon juice works a treat... raises the acidity, which I like ...cherry is often difficult to get to set

Fri 3-Aug-12
9:20 am
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Terrier
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I had the same problem yesterday Maura with my Rhubarb and ginger jelly, so annoying, I tipped half the jars out (smaller quantity), added juice of half a lemon and another 100g sugar, and brought it to the full rolling boil, didn't even need to get it to setting point, you could just sort of tell it was going to set, the consistency changed.

I'd try the redcurrants, but yes, I'd cook them first and then do smaller batches of the mixed up unset jam with cooked redcurrants and more sugar and lemon....but there's a point you just say no more - don't drive yourself mad with it.

Fri 3-Aug-12
10:22 am
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mauramac
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Thanks so much – I feel better after reading your post Janet and yes you are right I do over worry myself when I should just accept defeat sometimes.

Can I just ask then did you reboil your jam in 2 separate batches? I will definitely have a go at that.

I Should have done that in the first place but as hubby had prepped all of the cherries I didn't like to leave half as thought they might start to go mouldy even if left overnight. My problem is I have a dodgy back which only allows me to spend so much time in the kitchen on my feet. As a consequence I can't do 2 batches in one day – you have no idea how frustrating that is, especially at this time of year when I have so much fruit to process. I do freeze some of it but prefer to use it fresh when I can.

Just a little niggle of doubt also is creeping into my head about the method of layering the fruit with sugar to extract juice. I did this with a batch of rhubarb jam and also with the cherries and both batches produced a lot of liquid and both failed to set ponderMaybe I wont bother doing this in future, not all recipes suggest it.

Shelley – thanks for suggestion – I will add some more lemon juice as well as cherry jam can be a little too sweet and I know they are low in acid as well as pectin. Maybe I just didn't think this lot through very well right from the start. You think you are doing everything correctly but often it is just down to rushing.

Thanks ladies – onwards and upwards kiss

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Fri 3-Aug-12
9:04 pm
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Terrier
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Maura, the layering of the fruit and sugar is, as you say, to extract the water/juice, which then keeps the fruit more 'whole' during the cooking...I'd say forget it, and see if it makes a difference.

Yes I reboiled in two batches, but without washing the pan in between, I reboiled, tipped into large jug to cool slightly and pot up, while it cooled I poured the rest of the unset jam into the preserving pan, and got it going while I potted up the first batch.

If it's any consolation, yes I've had batch 2 of the nectarine & Amaretto jam staring at me for a week, so I re-did that yesterday, same way...smaller batches, more lomon (didn't bother with more sugar for this one) - same thing. The smaller batches worked much better.

Fri 3-Aug-12
10:19 pm
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mauramac
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Thanks so much - I'm reassured and will have a go tomorrow.

Have a great weekend and thanks for all your help big_hug

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Sat 4-Aug-12
10:25 pm
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shelley
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smaller batches always work better for me!  Whenever I try to cook more, quickly it almost always fails to set, or takes ages to set... I now often cook small amounts in two pans the first slightly ahead of the second... works for me (but my bottle gas cooker has one big flame and a second medium smaller on - though they are supposed to be the same!)

Sun 5-Aug-12
10:56 pm
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Terrier
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I think my problem is often my electric cooker, it just never seems to get pans up to a really good boil, I often resort to the gas burner on our Barbie.

Mon 6-Aug-12
11:57 am
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mauramac
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Great news ladies wave

The jam set perfectly this time - did it in 2 batches and overall probably only lost about half a jar. I added the juice of 2 lemons to each batch and a small amount of powdered pectin to the first batch.

I will keep that batch for ourselves because it didn't really need the added pectin and set quite hard. The 2nd batch set fine with just the lemon juice. I reboiled each batch for 5 mins only.

Next time (and there will be a next time whistle) I will definitely only use 1kg at most and I will cut cherries in half or quarters as I'm not keen on all of the cherries being whole - it makes it quite hard to get the same amount of cherries distributed in the jars evenly if they are whole, but thats just my preference.

I will probably use a small amount of powdered pectin at the beginining of the process (mixed in with sugar) just because they are so low in pectin and lots of lemon juice.

 

Extra good news is the 7 jars of blackberry & Apple jam I also made in afternoon (berries came free when out walking Dylan) Fantastic flavour (but I do hate the pips), and next time I would cut apples smaller and cook them before adding the blackberries as the bits of apple didn't break down in the cooking.

Still learning all the time what_the_heck but on the whole I am really chuffed with most of the jams I make.

Now, I have some apricots, but not enough to make jam with - what to add to them???? Would raspberries work well do you think?

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Mon 6-Aug-12
7:51 pm
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butters

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I make cherry jam using 2.5 kg of cherries at a time. I use the finely grated rind of an orange and orange juice. I add 1.7kg of sugar.

 

Method;

 

Add cherries and 1.4 kg of sugar plus the orange rind and juice. Add a little water and heat gently and then boil hard. You could add some grated apple at this point.

 

Boil hard and finally mix some powdered pectin with the remaining 300 grams of sugar (mix well) and add to pot.

 

Boil again for approx 5 mins and then do the jam set test (plate from freezer) .

 

You need to keep the jam in a fridge.

 

Hope this helps.

Mon 6-Aug-12
7:54 pm
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butters

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Has anyone tried Raspberry & chocolate jam. Just made it more of a spread really.

 

My kids like it

Mon 6-Aug-12
9:10 pm
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Terrier
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Raspberry & Chocolate jam sounds interesting butters, what's the recipe?

Maura, next time try Blackberry & apple jelly - delicious

Mon 6-Aug-12
10:54 pm
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butters

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Recipe:

Ingredients:

1000gm raspberries, 260gm of bitter chocolate, 550gm sugar, juice and grated rind of half a lemon and pectin and a little water.

 

Method:

Put raspberries, 300gm sugar and a little water in pot and boil.

Mix in remainder of sugar and some powdered pectin continue cooking for 5 mins.

Put contents of pot through a strainer to remove raspberry seed.

Add lemon juice and rind and reheat, add chocolate and boil gently.

Turn off heat and leave to stand for at least 1 hr.

Reheat and boil rapidly for 5 mins. and pour into glass jars.

 

Job done

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