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The Pueblo County Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: Agriculture, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Programs.

Tips & Tricks for Jams & Jellies   arrow

Written by: Laura Griffin, Family and Consumer Science Agent, CSU Extension-Pueblo County

  • Select in-season fruit that is perfectly ripe. Ripe fruit has the best flavor and the highest level of pectin. Preserving is intended to lock in the flavors — so take advantage of them while they’re at their peak.  Discard any fruit with signs of bruising or molding.
  • Know your pectin! Pectin is an important ingredient in order to ensure your jam or jelly product sets properly and maintains the correct consistency. There are 2 main types of pectin: liquid and powder.  They are NOT interchangeable and they are added at different steps in the process.  Make sure to pay attention to the recipe and follow all directions exactly.
  • Be smart with sugar. Some recipes may seem like they call for a lot of sugar, but it is important not to lessen the amount of sugar in the recipe.  The ratios of fruit, sugar and pectin have been tested and scientifically proven to create a tasty and safe product that can be stored for up to 1 year.
  • Low or no sugar options! If you want a jam or jelly with less sugar, there are some options.  You can use a low or no sugar pectin.  This will allow you to discard sugar entirely, or add as much or as little as you prefer.
  • Beware of sticky rims. After filling your jars, always wipe off the rim with a damp cloth or paper towel.  This will help to remove any sticky residue before you put the lid on which may otherwise interfere with the sealing process.
  • Didn’t hear that satisfying “pop” of the jars sealing? If your jars don’t seal or your jelly doesn’t set properly, you can reprocess them.  This requires recooking the fruit mixture and adding another recipe’s worth of pectin and sugar.  They must be processed in the water bath canner again for the full amount of time.  This may result in a stiffer end product.
From the Ground Up, Summer 2020