We give you different fixes for different problems, but first...
Are your jars completely cool?
Has it been 12 to 24 hours since you took the jars out of the water bath? Jam or jelly made with Pomona’s Pectin has to be completely cool to reach its full jell. Give it the time it needs and you may get a pleasant surprise!
If your jam/jelly is completely cool and still has not jelled, do this test: Put one jar in the refrigerator until it is well chilled.
When well chilled, remove the jar from the refrigerator and look to see if it has jelled. Sometimes refrigeration can bring on the jell.
If yes, leave the jar on the counter until it comes back to room temperature to see if it retains the jell.
If it retained the jell, refrigerate the rest of your jars until well chilled. Jars can be stored at room temperature once jelled.
If your jam/jelly jelled in the refrigerator but lost some or all of its jell when returned to room temperature; or if refrigeration did nothing for your jam/jelly, you may be able to fix it, but first...
Diagnose the problem
Knowing why your jam/jelly didn’t jell puts you on the path to fixing it. Please review all of the questions and potential problems before jumping to a fix. Sometimes there is more than one problem, and that may change the fix that will work for you.
Did you measure the mashed fruit or juice correctly? If you used more mashed fruit or juice than the recipe called for, you can add more pectin.
Did you measure the pectin correctly? It’s always a good idea to double check your measurements. If you know you put in too little pectin.
Did you measure whole berries or pieces of fruit instead of mashed fruit? When recipes call for cups of mashed fruit, you need to mash the fruit before measuring. If you measure whole berries or pieces of fruit, you do not have the full amount of fruit that the recipe requires. Therefore, the honey and sugar ranges on the Pomona’s recipe sheet become too high for the pectin to fully dissolve. This will result in a poor jell and may also cause graininess or grittiness.
Have you stored your pectin cool and dry? Pomona’s Pectin should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or colder. If you store Pomona’s under high heat conditions, it will degrade and lose its potency. Storing in an airtight container prevents exposure to moisture. Stored properly, Pomona’s will last for many years.
Fruit or Juice Related Problems
Did you puree the fruit instead of mashing it or did you remove the seeds from berry or currant jam? Because the pectin has less pulp to work with when you puree or remove seeds, you may need more pectin than called for in the recipe.
Did you add too much water when making your own juice for jelly? This can result in a thinner juice that needs more pectin to jell well.
Did you use pre-sweetened juice for your jelly? When you use pre-sweetened juice, the sweetener that is already in the juice makes the honey and sugar ranges on the Pomona’s recipe sheet too high for the pectin to fully dissolve. This will result in a poor jell and may cause graininess or grittiness.
Did your juice have preservatives in it? Preservatives in the juice can affect the jell.
Unfortunately, there is no Fix for this
Calcium Water Problem
Did you forget to add the calcium water? Pomona’s Pectin jells in the presence of calcium. Fruit may have natural calcium in it, but if it doesn’t you need to add the calcium water to bring on the jell.
Did you stir the pectin into more sweetener than the recipe’s sweetener range calls for? Pomona’s Pectin only dissolves fully in a low-sweetener mixture. Staying within the sweetener range of a Pomona’s recipe or using the amount of sweetener specified in a Pomona’s recipe will assure a low-sweetener mixture. Dissolving Pomona's Pectin in a higher-sweetener mixture will result in a poor jell and may cause graininess or grittiness. For sweeter jam/jelly, additional sweetener can always be added after the pectin is dissolved.
Does your jam or jelly have chewy clumps in it? There are several scenarios that can cause the pectin to form chewy clumps when it is added to the fruit mixture.
1. The pectin was stirred directly into the fruit mixture.
2. The pectin was stirred into an amount of sweetener below the low end of the sweetener range.
3. The pectin was not well mixed throughout the sweetener.
4. The pectin was stirred into a sugar with larger crystals, like turbinado sugar. The pectin may not mix well with these larger crystals.
Cooking and Processing Problems
Did you cook your fruit or juice mixture for more than 15 minutes after adding the pectin? Too much heat exposure will break down the pectin. With Pomona’s, once you’ve added the pectin-sweetener to the boiling fruit or juice mixture, stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin. When the mixture returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat. It is not necessary to cook the mixture any longer than that. You do not need to reach a specific temperature beyond a “full boil” (a boil you can’t stir down). Jam/jelly will be runny when you put it in the jars, and will jell when completely cool.
Did you water bath for more than 10 minutes at sea level? The water in the canner should be at or near a full boil when you put the filled jars in for processing. You want the jars to be in the boiling water for 10 minutes, but if it takes 10 or more minutes just to get the water back to a boil after you put the jars in, you may break down the pectin from overexposure to heat.
Did the jars sit in the water bath for more than 5 minutes after processing? Again, overexposure to heat will break down the pectin.