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How to Fix Non-Setting Jelly or Jam

Updated: Jun 27

There are many reasons why a jam or jelly may not be set properly. Today we are going to teach you fix non-setting jelly or jam. It is commonly a problem with the temperature. Sometimes the product is cooked at too high a temperature, and other times, it is not boiled long enough. Even being in the water bath for too long can destroy the pectin’s ability to jell. The other thing to consider is that it can take up to 24 hours after canning for it to set so you may just have to wait a little bit to see. Sometimes it is a problem with your pectin being bad or the wrong form is used. Always store your pectin in a cool, dry location and use the type of pectin indicated in the recipe.

The other issue that can occur is a problem with measurements. There is a fine ratio of fruit to pectin to sugar that must be achieved to have the best results. In our case, for the jalapeno jelly, I had done a batch that was six times the size. Generally speaking, you can get away with doubling a batch, but anything beyond that can make it difficult to jell.

For the second batch, we were testing recipes for the fairy (apple lilac) jelly and didn’t have the right ratio down yet. The first batch we made ended up being more of a syrup. Many times in the past, if I had a non-setting product I would just use it as syrup, but it is helpful to know how to fix it.

How to fix non-setting jelly or jam.

Fix Non-Setting Jam

Fixing Non-Setting Jelly or Jam

Determine the consistency of your unset jelly.

determine consistency

The first thing you want to do is determine how to properly set your product. In our case, one batch was halfway set, and the other was a complete liquid.

Empty the unset jelly into your pot.

empty jars

If you have canned the jam/jelly already, you will need to empty all the jars back into a pot. Be sure to scrape the sides, so you don’t lose too much of your product.

Fix non-setting jelly and jam - add pectin to your non set jelly and jam.

add pectin

For a completely liquid product, add 1 tablespoon of pectin per cup (half-pint)/. For a semi-formed product add 1/2 a tablespoon of pectin per cup or one per pint. I have heard that some people have better results with sugar-free pectin due to the sugar already being in the mix, but I have had decent results with the basic as well. Follow the recipe for cooking/processing time and headspace.

When you refill your jars, you will find that you lost some of the liquid during processing. This is fine you just use any partial jars right away.

Fill your jars with jelly.

Fill Jars

Hopefully, this was helpful and will help you revive many delightful jams/jellies in your pantry.

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