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.)

Related Categories

food, repair this

Search for other related items



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


  1. Javier says:

    Keeping half-a-dozen running chainsaws airborne is certainly a feat of
    considerable skill, but that hardly makes it a sport.
    This differentiates darts from javelins (another kind of thrown weapon), in that the latter do not have this component.

    Professor Momoh has correspondence tools and teaching techniques which enable him to work with anyone, anywhere in the world.

  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?

  5. Chris Crothers says:

    Help?I am making Seville marmalade but have simmered the liquid on too high a heat and all the liquid has boiled away so I am just left with rind. I have not added sugar yet. What can I do to salvage it? Can I just add more water and simmer again?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes just make up to the amount you should have left. 3 pints boil then add the suger. Did the same thing myself it seems to have worked

  6. Bevvy says:

    My fig jam has crystalized and would like some ideas how to fix. I have 6 jars already bottled.

  7. Valeria1 says:

    Turn tough jam into marmalade.

  8. Jillian says:

    my mom made some guava jelly but it turned out to be hard but it did taste good I hope that either me or my mom get through into fixing it

  9. libby mangosi says:

    My strawberry jam is too runny. I made it this morning and followed instructions (saucer in freezer for the test etc). I have 5 300ml jars waiting to fixed! Can you help me?

    • Jet Black says:

      Hi Libby

      That one is easy. Pour them all back in the pan and boil up again until it gets thicker and the colour will go darker too. Then re-bottle them. I’ve done that myself before, especially with strawberries. Good luck!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I made Muhlberry jelly with strawberry jello and added pectin as the recipe called for. I reheated it and added more pectin, still runny. What else can I do to thicken the jelly. I made another batch without the jello and it turned out fine.

  11. Thanks for every other wonderful post. Where else could anyone get that type of information in such a perfect means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  12. Gill GAFFNEY says:

    how do. I fix Runney jam. Please

  13. GenieJen says:

    If jam fails to ‘set’, you can rescue it. You need gelatin. So reheating in your maslin/jam pan. I had 4 litres of blackcurrant that hadn’t set, I used ‘Dr Oetker’ dry gelatin. You get three sachets per package, each sachet sets one pint of jelly/jello. I used all three, by dissolving dried gelatin into one ladle of heated jam in a pyrex jug. Mixing well into the whole heated unset batch. I washed and re-sterilized jars and lids. I had only one package of dried gelatin, meant to set three pints of liquid. As my jam was already syrupy my thought was it should at least firm it up. It did, not solid like a wobbly jelly but enough to look like I hadn’t messed up big time ! (At my own expense) So yey ! Good luck all x

  14. Iris Gardner says:

    I had a batch of Crabapple Jelly that didn’t set. i put it back in the pot with 1/ 1/2 cups more of juice just to use up the leftover juice I had & an extra cup of sugar & some lemon jiuce. After it boiled, I added another pouch of pectin. Well, this one was starting to set last night, but this afternoon I’m right back where I started from with runny jelly. I was thinking of giving the jars of jelly another hot water bath for 15 to 30 minutes to see if that would do the trick. Would that work? I really don’t want to start over again & it already has 2 pouches of pectin in it already. Adding more pectin doesn’t seem a good idea to me. Is there anything that can be done or do I have 8 jars of syrup?

  15. Ann says:

    My damson jam is still not set how do I get it to reset, after its put in jars

  16. Beverley says:

    Help my strawberry jam has very strong lemon taste.
    Recipe used 400 gms strawberries had to use zest and juice of one large lemon.

  17. Anonymous says:

    my Loganberry jam has set solid in the jars, is there any way of softening it again?

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t get any other suggestions so I reheated it (quite a struggle to get it out of the jars!) & added some hot water then as soon as it was boiling I put it back into clean jars. It seems to have worked as its now a much softer consistency.



Leave a Reply

Your name
Your email (it will not be published. If you want people to contact you, leave your email address in the message too.)
Your website (if you've got one)