Even with the best will in the world mistakes can happen and the best of kitchens can be visited by the dreaded Mr Cock-up from time to time. Here are a few things that can go wrong in the preserve making business and your how-to on those sticky situations and trouble-shooting preserves
Not you, the jam or jelly! Sometimes you think you are all ready for potting up and in reality the jam/jelly is not. If your jam or jelly is too runny then simply tip it all back into the preserving pan and boil it again. Test for set and repot.
Do be careful with reboiling as it can reach the setting point incredibly quickly and you end up with something rock solid.
Not the sort of jewels you want in preserve making, crystalisation is when there is too much sugar in the fruit mixture or it has not dissolved completely.
When the fruit or other inclusions float up to the top of your jam and leave you with a jelly/jam combo look. You have either not cooked the fruit for long enough, or, the most common reason, you have been too hasty in potting up the jam/jelly straight after bioiling and not let it rest for a few minutes first.
The fruit will stop cooking once the sugar has been added, so it is important to let the fruit cook till tender before adding the sugar. Hard chunks of fruit do not a good jam make!
Yuck, not what you want at all. Mould can grow when air gets in and causes bacteria to form. Make sure that your preserves are covered properly while still hot. Always store in a cool environment as heat is bacterias best buddy. Once opened store your preserves in the fridge.
Cloudiness in jelly
Jellies will go cloudy and lose their delightful clarity if you squeeze the jelly bag whilst the fruit is dripping through. Leave it alone!
While many foods are actually preserved by fermentation it is something you want to avoid in your jamming! It is usually caused by using fruit that was already past its best to start with and had a bit of mould on it, or you didn’t use enough sugar in the recipe