How to Remake Jelly that Didn’t Set
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There is almost nothing more frustrating during canning than when your jelly will not set. When you’re jelly doesn’t set you may be tempted to just throw it out, but don’t, you can fix it.
Yes, you can re-cook it! Measure jelly to be recooked. Work with no more than 4 to 6 cups at a time. Here is how to fix your jelly that didn’t set.
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How to Remake Jelly With Powdered Pectin
For each quart of jelly, mix ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin. Bring to a boil while stirring.
Add jelly and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil hard ½ minute. Remove from heat, quickly skim foam off jelly, and fill sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process as recommended in Table 1.
How to Remake Jelly With Liquid Pectin
For each quart of jelly, measure ¾ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons liquid pectin. Bring jelly only to boil over high heat, while stirring.
Remove from heat and quickly add the sugar, lemon juice, and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute. Quickly skim off foam and fill sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process as recommended in Table 1.
How to Remake Jelly Without Added Pectin
For each quart of jelly, add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice. Heat to boiling and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. To determine if the jelly is done, take the temperature of the jelly with a candy or jelly thermometer.
When done, the temperature of the jelly should be 220°F, 8°F above the boiling point of water, if you are at sea level. NOTE: For each 1000 feet of altitude above sea level, subtract 2 degrees F. For instance, at 1,000 feet of altitude, the jelly is done at 218°F; at 2,000 feet, 216°F, etc.
Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam, and fill sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process as recommended in following table.
Process Time for Remade Soft Jellies in a Boiling-Water
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 – 1,000 ft||1,001 – 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|Hot||Half-pints or pints||5 min||10||15|
This document incorporates information from the “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA (Revised 2009) and information available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Related Jelly Recipes
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- Blackberry Jelly
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- Chokecherry Jelly
- Rootbeer Jelly
- Mountain Dew Jelly
- Pear Jelly
- Mint Jelly
- Dandelion Jelly
48 Comments on "What to do if Your Jelly Does Not Set"
I made plum/peach jam that did not call for any pectin in the recipe. The information I had was to heat it to 211 degrees. I am at about 5 1/2 thousand feet. It did not begin to jell so I did add a half bag of liquid pectin. That still did not do the trick. I probably did not heat it high enough to get to the jelling point. I redid the batch it following the directions using powdered pectin, lemon juice, sugar and water. It turned out perfect. Thank you for this information.
I made some peach pepper jam and didn’t put the full amount of sugar in that it called for (it said 5 and i did 3). It didn’t set right and it’s too much pepper flavor, not enough peach flavor. Could I remake it and add the extra 2 cups of sugar that I left out or would that not work? Thanks!
Totally helped my apple jelly set that I made just by pressing the apples (core &all) but apparently didn’t get enough of the natural pectin. It was my dad’s recipe (he couldn’t physically show me since he’s in France) and had saffron… I recooked the liquidy jelly twice to avoid wasting the money and time that went into this project with my bruised gravenstein apples. I used lemon juice and followed the steps exactly. Most useful was how long to cook once reached the boiling point. Couldn’t find that in other recipes.
Thank you, that truly was time and money saver advice.
Hi I glad you hve this website, I made jalepino jelly with liquid pectin and it did not set. Your directions is to add more sugar with lemon juice and pectin. Will that make my jelly sweeter or change the taste.
I read a lot of the comments an I hope it helps me with my setting problem thx
When making peach jam instead of 7 tablespoons of pectin I used 7 teaspoons. Can I remake using the difference of the pectin that should have been used? Do you have to use more lemon juice with the pectin?
Hmmm…I’m not totally sure, but I don’t know if that would work. You could definitely try, but you might have to use this batch as peach syrup.
my strawberry jam did not set I think I didn”t add enough sugar can I just add more sugar and recook or do I have to add more surejell
I made two batches of cherry jam this summer using liquid pectin. Neither batch thickened and I was so disappointed. I didn’t want to use it for just an ice cream topping so I opened a 6 oz. jar, took out a little of the juice to whisk with 1 1/2 teaspoons of thermflo. Then I heated the remaining jam contents in the microwave almost to boiling, stirred in the thermflo mix and put in the fridge. It thickened just like regular jam. I served it at the Thanksgiving table and it was a hit. I even got a call two days later asking for the recipe. I was concerned that the cornstarch taste might be evident and told those who were complimenting about what I did. Neither I nor them could tell. It’s a much quicker and easier way to thicken a jam that didn’t set. (It took me a few days to realize my jam didn’t set because the recipe called for two envelopes of liquid pectin per batch rather than just one.)
Also, I have made strawberry rhubarb jam for years with jello as the pectin very successfully. I started out freezing the jam but have also canned hundreds of jars and always with success. Is there a safety factor?
Hi! I’m glad you found a fix for your runny cherry jam! I’ve never used gelatin for making jam. I know a lot of people do it, but according to the Illinois Extension Office it is not safe. It says if you use Jello as a thickener in your jam to put it in the refrigerator and that it is not safe for canning. I will have to do some more research on that and write something up about it because I know a lot of other people have the same question.
Add more surgery to already made jelly? Wouldn’t that make it to sweet?
It would make it a little sweeter, but it is necessary to combine the sugar with the pectin in order for the jelly to set properly. The only other option would be to use the un-set jelly for syrup, which is what a lot of people do.
What would I do if this happened to jalapeño pepper jelly?
I’ve had issues this year with jelly (elderberry) not setting up. The first batch it happened with I recooked according to instructions on package of pectin. The second time I made jelly with the elderberries it happened AGAIN…then it dawned on me! I had so many berries…juice..that I had doubled the recipe both times. Big no-no. So if any of your readers are doing this it could be a source of trouble. Also I read several places that jello is NOT a substitute for pectin in canned jelly but it great for freezer jams. I use it all the time in a rhubarb/strawberry jam recipe. And I’ve never heard of surejel for jellies and jams but most usually for pie fillings. Just a note from a 60 yr old canner, farm gal. But by no means perfect country gal.
Hi! I think you are right about doubling the jelly recipe. Sometimes it does work but often it does not. I think you might be confusing surejel with clear jel. Surejel is a brand of pectin that is used for making jams and jellies. Clear Jel is a cornstarch substitute used for thickening canned pie fillings. Thanks for your tips! 🙂
If all else fails, use it for cocktails!
Is there a max time to attempt remaking jam/jelly? I tried to make blackberry jelly and it didn’t set, but it’s been more than the recommended 2 week wait (probably more like 4 or 5 weeks) and I’m wondering if it’s still safe to try again, or if I waited too long?
Hi! As long as your jars are sealed, I think it would still be okay to open them and re-cook them.
My jelly still hasn’t set after doing it a 2nd time. Canning do it again or is it a lost cause? I used surejel both times and I’ve never had any problems using it until now.
Hi! I’m not sure if it’s worth doing it again, although I don’t think it would hurt it. You might have to use this batch as syrup for pancakes or ice cream!
I am so sorry for Amy: I too am processing the second time and its not fun for me. I cook a considerable amount but this jelly thing has me perplexed. Being the second time around with crabapples(which supposedly have a high content of pectin) and after using san entire box of powdered pectin and sugar boiled into a mixture I still have just red canned juice. Im disheartened and a first time jellier’ Yes I attempted the re-boil with lemon juice. Help Thanx Joe
How long after you make the jam can you go back and try to set. I did my green pepper jelly 10 days ago.
Hi! If it’s been 10 days it will probably not set. I’ve never had jelly take that long to set so if I were you I would go ahead and try again.
My left over jelly set right away but my half pints over night did not. Will they after a longer period of time?
Have you experienced the two week wait?
Hi! I’ve never actually waited the whole two weeks. In my experience if it hasn’t made noticeable progress in 3 days it probably won’t set. Overnight isn’t long enough sometimes, it can take a couple days for sure.
Hi…two days ago I made a batch of raspberry/strawberry jam. I cooked the juice with sugar the full 15 minutes then added one box of raspberry jello. It still hasn’t set. Can I recook it even though I really don’t want to add more sugar? Would bringing the jam to boiling then add another box of raspberry jello help?
Hi! I’ve never made jam with jello before, so I don’t really know the answer to that. I do know, however, that you need to add the extra sugar with the pectin to get the jam to set.
My jelly did not set could I just add instant pectin to each jar, if so do I still need to add more sugar
Hi! No, I don’t think that would work. To get your jelly to set properly it needs to be cooked again with the added pectin and sugar.
My jelly did not set this time but I believe the pectin I used was too old. My jelly is already perfectly sweetened so why do I need to add more sugar to re-cook the jelly with more pectin? Does it help it set?
Hi! Yes, the sugar mixed with the pectin helps the jelly set 🙂
What could you substitute for the bottle lemon juice
Hi! You could use fresh lemon juice if you like, but I don’t think there’s another substitute you can use (that I know of).
I had to re-make my plum jelly and followed the directions given on the Liquid Pectin instructions it also said that it may take up to 2weeks to set up at room temperature, would it be faster in the refrigerator, why so long?
Hi! It doesn’t normally take that long, but it is possible that it can take that long, that’s why they want you to wait before trying to cook it again. Mine usually sets within a day, but I don’t use liquid pectin very often. I think liquid pectin may take longer to set than powdered pectin. Putting it in the refrigerator will make it gel faster, but I’m pretty sure it won’t stay that way when you take it back out of the refrigerator. I’m not sure it’s good to put it in the refrigerator and then take it back out again.
Call it Ice cream topping!
You can also keep it and use it as syrup. I find friends and family don’t know I messed up.
Hi Ruth, you can definitely do that. I have, it’s still delicious! 🙂
I tried remaking my jelly using the “no added pectin” method. It is still not set. Is there anything else I can try? I am wondering if I should remake it again using more surejel?
Hi! Yes, if you didn’t try re-making it with more pectin, I would definitely try that.
Could you use unflavored gelatin? And how much?
Hi! I’m not sure on the unflavored gelatin. It would probably help the jelly to set, but I don’t know if it’s safe for canning.
Hi I use any flavor of Jello and I mix it with crab apple juice and Bernardins original pectin and white sugar and it turns out the flavor of the Jello. It is awesome.
What kind of sweetner can be substituted for sugar that you know will taste as good?
Hi! I know that honey can be used as a substitute for sugar in jelly, but I have not tried it myself. I don’t know if you would use the same amount or not.
Be sure to use cane sugar. Sugar beet sugar does not set as well.
water boils at 212 at sea level unless in a radiator or pressure cooker..dang get u info straight…or if u got antifreeze in it.
Please re-read the article. It says that the temperature of the jelly needs to be 220 degrees F, 8 degrees above the boiling point of water. The information in the article is correct.