How can I “repair” too runny/too solid homemade jam/jelly?

It’s very definitely jam season at the moment (in the UK at least) and I thought it might be fun to hear people’s favourite fixes for sticky situations (ho ho!) when the preserves don’t come out quite as you’d hoped.

How do you test for the set point? The most common method seems to be the “when it wrinkles on a cold plate” test but anyone use any other methods?

What do you do if it’s too runny once in jars? Or too solid?

And, not quite in the question but related, do you use/reuse anything interesting instead of commercial-bought pectin?

And any tips for reusing old jars? Reusable alternatives for waxed discs?

Finally, what do you do with jam that can’t be saved – stuff that burnt in the pan for example?

(“Why is this on Recycle This?” I hear you ask because it is a little tenuous as a “repair”. Well, one, because with the giant piles of fruit in our kitchen at the moment, I’ve got jam on my mind. And two, because jam failures may lead to food waste – and if we can save some rescueable jam from going in the bin, that’s a good thing.)

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74 Responses to “How can I “repair” too runny/too solid homemade jam/jelly?”


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  2. Shirley JOHNSON says:

    i made blackberry jelly and after the jars cooled, I tilted the jars and saw that it was too runny. So I followed instructions to thicken it and reprocessed it. However I added too much pectin and now the jelly is too thick. I would like to know if I could add juice to the jelly and reprocess again?

  3. Lynne Pattison says:

    Over boiled marmalade and it was close to toffee. Emptied all the jars back into the jam pan (placed them in a pan of hot water to loosen first) and added 200ml boiling water. Slowly dissolved and did the setting test with the plate in the freezer. Still a bit sticky so added another 100ml and stirred thoroughly. Marmalade saved :)

  4. Andy Paton says:

    I have just tried to make marmalade with 3 Kg’s of oranges, a very large grapefruit and a lemon. Interpreted instructions, did not find any pips etc, 5kg of sugar but still very runny. What can I do now please?



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