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Jams and Jellies

Tips for Making Successful Homemade Jams and Jellies

Carol Ann Burtness

Making jellied products is not difficult, but it is important to follow reliable, tested recipes as well as the following guidelines.

Choose ripe fruit that is free of bruises or mold

Do not reduce the amount of sugar

USDA and the University of Minnesota Extension recommend boiling water canning process for all cooked jam and jelly products to prevent mold growth*

Boiling Water Process: 11 minutes in washed, but un-sterilized jars OR process 6 minutes in pre-sterilized jars. (Sterilize by standing clean empty jars upright on a rack in a boiling water canner. Fill the jars and canner with clean water to one inch above the tops of the jars. Heat jars to 180 degrees F for 10 minutes. Keep jars in the water until ready to fill.)

Store uncooked freezer jams in clean (washed in hot, soapy water and rinsed) jars or plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids to prevent loss of quality

Freezing fruit to make jam or jelly later:

Homemade jams and jellies should keep their quality and flavor for up to one year if stored in a cool, dark, dry place. If the jar seal remains unbroken and the product shows no visible signs of spoilage from molds or yeast, the jellied product should be safe to eat

*Some sealing methods recommend turning the closed jars of hot jam or jelly upside down (inverting the jars) for 30 seconds to one hour. The vacuum seal of jars filled using his method tends to be weaker than those produced by the boiling water canning process. A weak seal is likely to fail during storage and allow for mold growth.


Processing Jams & Jellies, Cooperative Extension, The University of Georgia

Complete Guide to Home Canning, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA (Revised 2009)

Revised 2014

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