The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

No permission to create posts
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Help - my jelly wont set :(
Thu 27-Oct-11
12:52 pm
Avatar
mauramac
Kent

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 692
Member Since:
Fri 9-Sep-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Can anyone tell me what I have done wrong or suggest a solution please. I made some Apple and Lemon Thyme Jelly last week and it didn't set. I wasn't able to reboil straight away but thought would be OK to do it today.

When I poured the jelly back into the maslin pan it was really runny but in a sort of bobbly jelly mixture if you get me. It tastes lovely but doesn't look very smooth. I added juice of a small lemon and reboiled for about 6 minutes. Did a saucer test but I'm not convinced it has set any better this time. The test jelly does form wrinkles when pushed but it still looks a bit on the loose side.

 

I have sachets of powdered pectin I keep for emergencies and also I have some jam sugar but I'm reluctant to use either unless I have to - preferably the pectin as it is sweet enough. What should I do?

I'm guessing the crab apples I used to produce the juice din't have enough pectin but it is the first failed jelly so far and I haven't knowingly done anything different.

 

Help please cry

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

Thu 27-Oct-11
1:25 pm
Avatar
Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 6920
Member Since:
Mon 21-Sep-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Maybe you initially overheated the jelly, pectin breaks down above a certain heat. I have a vague memory from years ago that it is 220degrees F.  I think above that the texture changes. I maybe wrong though. On the second boil one lemon's worth of juice might not have overcome this. I would risk the powdered pectin or maybe try it on half the amount of jam to see if it works.

 

Good luck.

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Thu 27-Oct-11
1:48 pm
Avatar
Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 6920
Member Since:
Mon 21-Sep-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I have just had an idea Maura. After writing the above I went on to read another post of yours about a burnt butter taste in your preserve. It struck a bell with me as I wonder are you using a thermometer to get your setting point? If the answer is no but you are relying only on the rolling boil & the cold plate method I am pretty sure the temperature is getting too high (hence the burnt butter taste & the change of texture).

The answer might be a candy thermometer; a small investment considering the amount of preserving you are doing.  smile

wave

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Thu 27-Oct-11
3:21 pm
Avatar
ep
Bulgaria

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 3967
Member Since:
Mon 7-Jun-10
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

mauramac said:

 but it still looks a bit on the loose side.

Help please cry

 

You could always slip it an Imodium........whistlewhistle

Who lives long sees much : The diary of my life in Bulgaria

Thu 27-Oct-11
8:56 pm
Avatar
Terrier
York

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 4518
Member Since:
Tue 22-Sep-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

can't help Maura

Never had a problem with crab apples not setting, it could be as Hattie says, I never have a overheating problem, my cooker is a ceramic hob and I have problems getting things to boil rapidly enough.

Fri 28-Oct-11
9:11 am
Avatar
mauramac
Kent

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 692
Member Since:
Fri 9-Sep-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks Ladies for replying - I am grateful. I had no idea you could overheat the jam/jelly. I do have a thermometer and use it all the time but maybe I have tried too hard to get the mix up to a certain point on the thermometer. The one I use is made by KitchenCraft and is made of stainless steel. It is fairly new (I bought it a few months ago) but I'm not sure if I have bug*ered it up as apparently you have to 'calibrate' (is that correct term?) them before using them - and I didn't know that! The settings are all clearly marked out in F & C and say Jam should be 102C or 220F.

Well I have never yet managed to achieve that - I can only ever get my boiling point up to 100 or 101. I'm not sure why this is but I have a gas hob and have often thought it was slightly underpowered. I thought this might be to blame for problem with setting but I also use the cold saucer test. Can you tell me how you avoid overheating but still get mix to boiling point as I find that a bit confusing.

The jelly appears fine on the saucer, I dont want it rock hard, but then when I bottled this last batch it went really runny. My mint jelly and rose hip jelly have a lovely set, much the same as shop bought jelly but this latest one is not the same at all. The texture is lumpy (bit like cellulite!) and its quite soft.

After another boil yesterday I decided to pot it up anyway as I didn't want to ruin the taste (which is lovely). It's colour has now changed to quite a deep tawny orange and you can't see the thyme leaves so clearly but it's OK, I'll just have to use it up for marinades etc.

I'm keeping a notebook of all the jams, jellies and chutney I make with notes on disasters and successes so I would love to know what went wrong with this batch but sadly I was so busy at the time that I havent jotted down type of apple etc.

Thanks again

Maura

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

Fri 28-Oct-11
9:34 am
Avatar
Xahha
Suffolk

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 4231
Member Since:
Mon 3-Oct-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

E and I once did a "survey" in one cookshop , of the cooking thermometers on display- guess what, they all read a different temperature- by more than a few degrees as well.

I was lucky in that I could borrow a calibrated thermometer from work at the time, and after checking the one we did buy, we discovered it was innaccurate and took it back .

You can do a calibration at 100 centigrade by dipping your thermometer in water that is boiling ( unless you are at great altitude e.g. up the Matterhorn) it should be pretty accurate, and that should at least tell you if it reads the correct temperature then.

 

If your jelly is lumpy and watery, sounds as if the gel has broken down, possibly not enough pectin ? or as may be, the temperature is wrong?

 Are we having fun yet? I am!

Fri 28-Oct-11
10:10 am
Avatar
mauramac
Kent

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 692
Member Since:
Fri 9-Sep-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi and thanks for info which is very useful.

However on back of my thermometer it says not to add it to already hot food/jam but to bring the thermometer up to heat with what you are cooking. I always pop the thermometer into the jam/jelly before it starts heating up so will the calibration work if I put it into cold water and then bring it to boiling point?

Thanks

Maura

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

Fri 28-Oct-11
11:17 am
Avatar
devongarden
Devon, UK

Councillor
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 1294
Member Since:
Thu 7-Jan-10
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

You can calibrate it by bringing it to the boil in water.

I put the thermometer into a pan of water, and bring it to the boil. The thermometer is then hot when I put it into the hot jam. If the jam isn't the right temperature I put the thermometer back into the hot water, which clears the jam off the thermometer and keeps it hot till I try again. Jam can stick to the thermometer and insulate it so the reading is inaccurate even if the thermometer is accurate. doh

Fri 28-Oct-11
1:21 pm
Avatar
Xahha
Suffolk

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 4231
Member Since:
Mon 3-Oct-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I suspect the manufacturers of your thermometer don't want it to be immersed in hot food/liquid in case there is some thermal shock to the glass and it fractures.

We have always dipped the thermometer in and out of the jam/jelly and it has not suffrred, but the choice is yours.

Yes you can start from cold and bring the water to boil for the calibration with the thermometer immersed all the time- the important thing is that it is boiling, and not just off the boil, so you get a good reading to check the accuracy of the thermometer.

 

You only need to do this once so you know if it is any where near accurate- if it reads lower then 100 centigrade, then just bear in mind that you need to boil your jam/jelly to a temperature lower than the stated temperature in your recipe, and vice versa if it shows a reading higher than 100.

 Are we having fun yet? I am!

Fri 28-Oct-11
1:40 pm
Avatar
mauramac
Kent

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 692
Member Since:
Fri 9-Sep-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks - I'll give that a go and see what happens. It sounds as though I have been overheating it since using the thermometer as the texture is weird. Amazing what you learn - and many thanks for everyones help. I really am very grateful ok

 

I have recently bought an oven thermometer and was pleased to see the readings were accurate. I use gas and very few recipes these days mention the oven setting for gas so it is really useful to use it to make sure I have correct temp.

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

Fri 28-Oct-11
2:31 pm
Avatar
Aly
Normandy France

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 9421
Member Since:
Sun 2-Oct-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I have a woodburning Esse and the choice of temperatures is cool, moderate, hot and very hot!confused It has been fun getting used to itbig_laugh

Trying to enjoy life as it is

http://www.letertregites.com

Sun 30-Oct-11
3:14 pm
Avatar
JoannaS
Latvia

Supreme Being
Members
Forum Posts: 4800
Member Since:
Mon 21-Sep-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I had a coal/wood burning stove and by the end of it could tell what I could cook in it by the feel of the air on my hand or face, not sure if that makes sense but it worked for me cheers

Sun 30-Oct-11
3:31 pm
Avatar
Aly
Normandy France

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 9421
Member Since:
Sun 2-Oct-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yes a good idea.ok I am getting used to it now, how to get it hotter or cooler and my sponge cakes are now good.smug I invested in an aga cook book which was helpful with where to position various things and when to use the cool tray. Think I would find it hard using a conventional oven nowconfused

Trying to enjoy life as it is

http://www.letertregites.com

Mon 31-Oct-11
10:38 am
Avatar
mauramac
Kent

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 692
Member Since:
Fri 9-Sep-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Quick update:

Calibrated the thermometer and it has a low reading when placed in boiling water - not a lot but probably around 98F.

The markings on the thermometer state 'JAM' at 105F/220C so I have been trying to reach that point without success but obviously overheating and probably boiling for too long aargh

At the weekend I made strawberry jam using 2.5 lbs strawberries (a good proportion of which were under ripe) I used same amount of sugar but it was half and half jam sugar and granulated plus juice of 2 large lemons. Guess what? It didn't set after 8 mins of boiling and again after a further 4 mins. I did one last saucer test and decided I had to pot it up or it would be ruined by any further boiling. I have no idea what I am doing wrong but my confidence is at rock bottom.

I have recently had to re-boil several batches and I just can't understand what is happening. My jelly recipes seem to be the hardest to set but now the last batch of strawbs as well.

We are having renovation work to the house and the kitchen is being totally gutted so I started clearing out my pantry and boxed up all the jams etc at the weekend. To my disappointment I found a pot of bramble jelly which is almost liquid. I have no idea how that one escaped my attention. I boxed up over 50 pots of various jams, jellies and chutney with another 20 or so still to do so overall I would say I don't normally have a problem but when you suddenly get a 'run' of runny ones it is so disheartening.

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

No permission to create posts
Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 262

Currently Online:
32 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

brightspark: 10485

danast: 10232

Aly: 9421

Sooliz: 7980

Hattie: 6920

Ambersparkle: 6665

JoannaS: 4800

Terrier: 4518

eileen54: 4396

Xahha: 4231

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 9

Members: 15375

Moderators: 2

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 6

Forums: 25

Topics: 2244

Posts: 122511

Newest Members:

Danielnonge, Chrisbiony, ShannonGug, Michael68, gbalychik, nesrupulbingfa

Moderators: Toffeeapple: 16217, AdminTA: 10

Administrators: fn: 321, Danny: 5514


Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder