My jam or jelly is grainy. What happened?

If you stir the pectin powder into an amount of sweetener that is beyond the range shown in our recipes, or have too much sweetener already added to the fruit, the pectin powder will be inhibited from dissolving and may go grainy. Pomona’s Pectin can only properly dissolve in a low-sugar environment, so it is necessary to keep the sweetener low (within our range) while you are dissolving the pectin in the boiling fruit mixture. Additional sweetener can be added after the pectin is fully dissolved.

When the pectin becomes grainy from being stirred into a higher-sweetener mixture, you can’t get rid of the graininess by more cooking. The fix is to add enough more mashed fruit or unsweetened juice to bring the sugar or honey level down to within the original recipe’s sweetener range. This allows the grainy pectin to dissolve and do its job of jelling the original amount of mashed fruit or juice.

You will also add pectin, calcium water, and lemon or lime juice (if called for in the recipe) for the additional mashed fruit or juice. You will add the pectin by making liquid pectin using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. You can make the liquid pectin with boiling water or boiling unsweetened fruit juice.

First determine:

  1. How much additional mashed fruit for jam or juice for jelly do you need to add to bring the sugar or honey level down to within the original recipe’s sweetener range? See example below.
  2. Using the original recipe, how much pectin will you need to jell this additional fruit or juice?
  3. Using the original recipe, how much calcium water will you need for the additional fruit or juice?
  4. Using the original recipe, how much lemon (or lime) juice will you need for the additional fruit or juice?

Example: If you made jelly with 4 cups of blackberry juice and stirred the pectin into 3 cups of sugar (2 cups is the sugar limit for 4 cups of juice), then you will have to add 2 cups of unsweetened juice to bring the sugar level to within the low-sugar range (3 cups of sugar is the limit for 6 cups of juice). You will also add 2 teaspoons calcium water and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice for the additional 2 cups of blackberry juice. Then you will make liquid pectin with ½ cup boiling liquid and 2 teaspoons pectin.

Use the table below to figure out how much water or unsweetened juice is required to dissolve the additional pectin.

Pectin to Add  :  Amount of Boiling Liquid
Up to 3 teaspoons  :  ½ cup liquid
4 to 4 ¾ teaspoons  :  ¾ cup liquid
5 to 6 teaspoons  :  1 cup liquid
7 teaspoons  :  1 ¼ cups liquid
8 teaspoons  :  1 1/3 cups liquid

Make liquid pectin by measuring the correct amount of water or unsweetened fruit juice into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Put boiling liquid in cup for immersion blender, or in food processor, or in blender. Add pectin. It is very important to vent the lid (if there is one) to let steam out. Don’t use an enclosed blender that can’t be vented. Blend for 10 seconds, then stop and scrape down the sides so all pectin clumps are in or on the liquid. Blend for a full minute until all powder is totally dissolved.

Fix Your Jam/Jelly: Empty jars into sauce pan. Add additional fruit for jam or juice for jelly. Add additional calcium water. Add additional lemon juice (if called for in the recipe). Stir well. Bring mixture to a full boil. Add liquid pectin and stir well. If you want to add more sweetener, do that now and stir well to dissolve. When mixture returns to a full boil, remove from the heat. Jar and process according to the recipe sheet that comes with Pomona’s Pectin.

Category: Troubleshooting Questions

4 Responses

  1. Jessie
    | Reply

    I used the amount of sugar called for in the recipe but my passion fruit jelly still turned out grainy. I used Trader Joe’s organic cane sugar, I noticed that the grains of sugar seem to be thicker than regular c&h sugar; could that be the problem?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Jessie,

      Yes, that would be the problem, we would recommend pulsing your larger granules in a food processor/blender to break them up.

  2. Nita Louthan
    | Reply

    I used frozen berries, in my freezer which I have never done before. All the sugar did not dissolve. It set up but is very grainy!!! What can I do to resolve this issue???

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Nita,

      You will want to use Fix F, HERE, from our troubleshooting page. Happy jamming!

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