It’s time for a Tip of the Week! This is where I share random stuff I know to help make your life easier. Today’s tip is handy for anyone who is interested in canning or making jams, jellies, preserves, etc. Have you ever tried to make a jam and wound up with hard sugar clumps in the jar later? I have fortunately never had this happen, but I know several people who have. So, today I am sharing “How to Prevent Jam or Jelly From Crystallizing!”
It all has to do with temperature and timing. If you have ever wound up with undesirable sugar crystals in your jams or jellies, you probably added the sugar when your mixture was too hot. The process of adding sugar to hot fruit on the stove, is similar to other things you do in the kitchen (such as knowing when and how to add flour or cornstarch to a gravy so it doesn’t get lumpy, or how to add eggs for a custard without them forming a scrambled egg looking mess…which by the way, I will be sharing these tips some time!).
I just made a big batch of Concord grape jam and I have a certain way I add the sugar so I get a nice, smooth, crystal free end result. So far every jam I have made requires you to bring the fruit to a boil so that it breaks down and basically turns to mush. With the concord grape jam, I strain the seeds and pulp out before adding the sugar and turning the heat back up to bring it to a rolling boil so it will thicken.
The secret to preventing sugar crystals in your jam is to add the sugar slowly (while stirring) to a warm and NOT too hot and especially NOT boiling mixture. So turn that burner down, and let your mixture cool off a bit before adding sugar! You don’t want to dump a bunch of sugar into a boiling pot.
ALSO *** You want to incorporate the sugar by stirring well, until you can tell that all sugar granules have dissolved. You can tell it’s dissolved when you no longer can feel any sugar at the bottom of the pan while stirring. Once the sugar has been dissolved into the warm mixture, I return the pan to boiling so I can go about my business and get the jam to set. ***
Some people warm their sugar in the oven so it is a similar temp. to the fruit mixture, but I have never done that.
So there you go! I hope this tip helps. I have never had a jam crystallize by doing it this way.
What are your favorite jams, jellies or preserves to make? Leave a comment- I’d love to hear! My favorites are currently gooseberry and wild grape/concord grape jams that I make with the organic fruits we have in our cottage garden.
Be blessed and stay inspired,
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