Canning Help, Please! - Stevie's Crazy Kitchen Blog at - 151520

Stevie's Crazy Kitchen

Canning help, PLEASE! 
Jan. 18, 2010 6:30 pm 
Updated: Feb. 17, 2013 5:43 pm
So, last night's batch of marm and a batch of apple/cinnamon jelly I made before the hols, have not set up at all... syrup anyone?

I AM new to canning, and really do need some advice.  Last night's fiasco, I followed a recipe to the letter, even got out the candy thermometer, to double check myself... the product is super runny, and bits of peel have all nestled on the bottom of the jars.  If anyone can help me salvage this batch, I can surely use the same advice to salvage the (yummie) apple stuff!

Now, I don't have a master's degree in anything, but I'm not exactly ignorant, either...  The only thing I can think of that might have messed up these two batches, is last night  for sure, I cooked the final ingredients in a stockpot, WITH THE LID.  Could this have messed things up?  I'm thinking that perhaps in this step of the process, the product needs to "cook down" some.  I simply HATE the idea of serving it ALL over ice cream... nor does putting it down the drain sound too appealing, if there is a way to salvage this stuff.  If re-cooking the marm, and putting up the batch in clean jars, with new lids might help, I'm game.  Too bad the lids can't be re-used, but guess that's why they sell boxes of lids, right?

I may not be a "most popular" blog, but truly am hoping that someone out there, who has been canning for more than a couple months, may be able to help me out here...  I've made such a big deal about the original rec. and the sour oranges, I'm almost embarassed to admit that this batch was a total flop!

Any advice will be welcomed!

Till next time, don't "cook crazy," do the darned dishes!  :-)
Jan. 18, 2010 7:38 pm
What recipe did you use? Marmalade doesn't usually need pectin so I'm not sure why it didn't set unless you used pectin. You have two choices, one use it as syrup.. depending on the amount of jars if I don't have something set I usually leave it as syrup because you can't re use the snap lids and it seems like a waste... Second choice is you can re process it. Generally if you are using pectin bring all of the jam that was once jarred back to a rolling boil add a new box of pectin, stir for 1-2 minutes. Have you ever tried doing a gel test? I do this every time I can during the process to test for consistency, this can prevent runny jams/marmalades : * Gel Stage Test: • Remove jelly from heat while doing test. • Chill two or three small plates in freezer prior to starting jelly • Place 1 tsp (5 mL) hot jelly or jam on plate and freeze for 1 minute. • Remove from freezer. Surface should wrinkle when edge is pushed with finger. • If surface doesn't wrinkle, continue cooking and repeat test every few minutes. Hope that was some help..
Jan. 18, 2010 8:47 pm
My favorite canning website says that it will take 2 weeks for marmalade to set and it will be runny until then.

I've only done jam once, not sure how it compares to marmalade, but learned from my mistakes. With jam I keep a glass of ice water on the counter and spoon up a bit of the jam and hold the spoon so the bottom of it is on the ice water. When it's cool you can see if it's as thick as you want. You can recook it, with more pectin, or just longer to cook off the liquid. You'd probably want to do it with the lid off and you will have to re-sterilize and process everything. Before you do that try this! I found my jam that was extremely thin that I planned to use it as syrup thickened up nicely when refrigerated. I was very very pleased to be able to use it as jam!
Jan. 18, 2010 9:15 pm
Thanks, both, for your prompt responses. I did not use pectin, so doubt that's the issue. May take a jar or two, and recook (lid off the pan) and do the clean jars, new lids, and see what happens. My month old apple jelly, one of which I immediately refrigerated, is still runny! don't remember if that rec called for pectin, may have... Appreciate the assist!
Jan. 19, 2010 6:21 am
I've been around homecanning for more years than I want to admit to. Last year I took a canning class through our local extension office to update my canning knowledge. The info came through Cooperative Extension University of Georgia. Here's 2 websites that might help in your & Just glancing thru the extension cookbook for tips, I got this for you-pectin or acid & sugar makes your product set up depending on the natural pectin or acid content of the fruit. Oranges need either pectin or acid(lemon juice or citric acid)added to set up. "Doubled batches do not always gel properly." "For a firmer product without added pectin lengthen cooking time and cook to a higher temp." Hope that helps.
Jan. 19, 2010 9:53 am
cat, at this point, ALL thoughts/advice are helpful. My rec. did not call for pectin, but as I understand it, the sour oranges are quite high, naturally. Thought I'd open a couple jars, re-cook, re-can... Can't hurt, long as I don't poison myself LOL! Thanks
Jan. 19, 2010 1:30 pm
I know what you mean about all thoughts/advice being helpful! Useful? Well to the best of my knowledge, when you recan "according to the directions" all should be good. Sweet things(jellies jams etc.) will mold if improperly canned and generally you will throw it out before anything toxic will get you. Besides who wants to eat mold unless it's in cheese form? Says the cheese junkie who finally canned her own chicken broth for the first time this last year for fear of botulism. I'm glad I took the class. Good luck!
Feb. 17, 2013 5:43 pm
Steve, I think you got some great pieces of advice. I'd like to add another little one: when you cook down a spread, it's important to leave the lid off the entire time so that the excess water from the fruit has a chance to evaporate. In fact, the more you stir the pot, the faster the mass releases steam, getting your spread to the gel pointer quicker. There are numerous tests for gel point, and my fav is putting a bit of marm on a cool saucer and sticking it in the fridge for a minute. The cooled marm should wrinkle when you push your finger through it. Good luck!
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Stevie crazycook

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About Me
Started cooking many years ago, and learned as I went. First meal may have been "steak & chips" at age 15, in Birmingham England, where I lived for several years. Mostly grew up in MI, transplanted to the desert 30yrs ago, or so. Favorite cookbook is "Better Homes", also enjoy "Great British Cooking, a well kept secret." Hesitate to call myself "expert," but friends do rave...
My favorite things to cook
Italian has been my "specialty" for some time, and my "signature" meal is Lasagne, salad, garlic bread, which I first made 20yrs ago... from SCRATCH, very first time I made it. (Never again, folks...) Now start with a big jar of sauce!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanks to my heritage, I have enjoyed trying foods from different cultures. We still have beer battered fish, and chips of course; ground meat dishes often, chicken occasionally, pork too. I would love to submit a bean dip recipe, however, my ex who gave me the original has passed, and I have no way to verify that it didn't come from another source! I also enjoy British cooking (with a few yankee twists) and once made Plum puddings, also known as Christmas puddings, as far as I know... what an ordeal that was, but well worth the effort. Today, there is mail order!
My cooking triumphs
Greatest triumph was not too long ago, when I held a sit down dinner for 12, Lasagne being the entree. It was a fund raiser I chose to sponsor, and am proud to say that "we" raised over $1000 from that meal alone, minimum donation being $25. All proceeds collected were donated; my partner and I provided the meal and beverages.
My cooking tragedies
MEATLOAF of all things! Went through a stage of "winging" it each time, and I pulled one after another out of the oven that were almost unedible. As yet, not too big on baking... no sweet tooth here! Have dabbled, but find doughs/pastries especially difficult, perhaps as it's 90 degrees in my kitchen much of the year.
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