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Home => Cooking and Recipes => Food Preservation => What to do if Your Jelly Does Not Set
Related Articles: How to Sterilize Canning Jars | Strawberry Jam Failure - Fix-it

What to do if Your Jelly Does Not Set

Measure jelly to be recooked. Work with no more than 4 to 6 cups at a time.

To Remake With Powdered Pectin

For each quart of jelly, mix ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin. Bring to a boil while stirring. Add jelly and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil hard ½ minute. Remove from heat, quickly skim foam off jelly, and fill sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process as recommended in Table 1.

To Remake With Liquid Pectin

For each quart of jelly, measure ¾ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons liquid pectin. Bring jelly only to boil over high heat, while stirring. Remove from heat and quickly add the sugar, lemon juice, and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute. Quickly skim off foam and fill sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process as recommended in Table 1.

To Remake Without Added Pectin

For each quart of jelly, add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice. Heat to boiling and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. To determine if the jelly is done, take the temperature of the jelly with a candy or jelly thermometer. When done, the temperature of the jelly should be 220F, 8F above the boiling point of water, if you are at sea level. NOTE: For each 1000 feet of altitude above sea level, subtract 2 degrees F. For instance, at 1,000 feet of altitude, the jelly is done at 218F; at 2,000 feet, 216F, etc. Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam, and fill sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process as recommended in Table 1.

Table 1
Recommended Process Time for Remade Soft Jellies in a Boiling-Water Canner
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Half-pints or pints 5 min 10 15

This document incorporates information from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA (Revised 2009) and information available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


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