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Ok it is that time of year again that these are in season.  I have recently found an Amish bulk food store that sells "Dutch Gel" 

 

I made a batch of jam yesterday with Dutch Gel but it has yet to really set up.  I am wondering what I did wrong of if there is something special you should do. 

 

The reason I am trying this product is because a friend of mine has a little girl that is allergic to citric acid and Sure gel has a lot of that in it.  She can eat fresh fruits in limited amounts but can't eat jams and jellies do to the added extra citric acid.

 

Can I reboil this batch to get it to set up?  I am looking for any answers to this problem right now I am sitting with 22 jars of strawberry syrup.

 

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Replies to This Discussion

I've heard that jams can take up to a week to set up sometimes...  although I think that's separate from how much citric acid is in the food? Not sure. I thought the citric acid is what helps preserve the food though (hence using lemon juice or vinegar in canning) so I'm not sure if you can lower the amount.

Well I just tried a second batch this time using the tried true product of sure jell.  It is not setting stiff either.  Wondering if this is just the way jam is>

 

The lemon juice, citric acid or vinegar is only used if there isn't sufficient acid to begin with. Most recipes will reflect if its needed or not. I'm with Aliza on not lowering the amount recomeded in the recipe. Did you use the low/no sugar Sure-Jel Christene? If you used the regular Sure-Jel you must have enough sugar in it to make it gel (that's why I don't use the regular stuff). Here's a good Extension website that has a short explanation of both issues.

Pat what do you use to have a perfect set.  I will say I did strawberry rhubarb today with sure-jel and it set perfectly but there was much less strawberries.  I was wondering if it was my fruit.

Sorry, don't know anything about Dutch Gel.  Each one of these products has a different "science".  Some let you reheat and some don't.  Can't say.  But throwing it all in a bit wide pan and reducing the liquid till it thickens couldn't hurt.  Maybe you should go over to the food preservation discussion and review my long, long post on making jam.  I don't use pectin and don't need citric acid.  Which won't help you now but might in the future if you want to make jam for your friend's daughter.
A perfect set is usually referring to a high sugar jell where the jam or jelly is very dense. That jell can't be achieved without the real sugar or cooking the jam or jelly down to a very dense consistancy. I usually try to get a jell that will not run when the jar is held on horizontal but it's still thinner/lighter than the REAL jam or jelly. I normally use Pamona's Universal Pectin and have good results (they have a recipe pamphlet in the box. You can freely alter the recipes pretty radically and still get a good set as long as you don't leave out any of the ingredients altogether. Pamona's pectin can be reheated and set again where others can not. It could be the dutch jell can't be reheated. I don't think the issue is your strawberries. Unless you describe the entire process(s) and ingredients you used I don't think anyone will be able to point out specifically what went wrong.

 

If I said it once I will say it again - you don't need boxed pectin UNLESS you want to avoid sugar all together.   Yes, if you're using a pot instead of a wide and shallow pan it will take a lot of sugar and a lot of time for the jam to set without added boxed pectin.  But if you want to start with 4-6 cups of berries (and 2-3 cups of sugar) and get a reasonable amount of one variety before moving on to another, you do not need it.  Additionally, the lemon juice you are adding to your strawberries (or blueberries), supplies both the acid and the pectin you need since lemons are high on both.  Honestly, honestly, honestly you do not need it.  

 

Pat - I am hereby offering up a challenge.  Give my process a go and tell me if I am wrong.  Oh gosh, I just remembered, I never sent you the god darn dvd and book.  What a looser.  I will go over my e-mail posts and pick up your address and send it on. So sorry. 

Harriet What Dvd and book???  and how much do you charge trying to get back to basics and make things easier and purer.  Now that I am a stay at home mom the wheels are just turning.  This strawberry jam is just the beginning for me I hope.


Harriet Fasenfest said:

 

If I said it once I will say it again - you don't need boxed pectin UNLESS you want to avoid sugar all together.   Yes, if you're using a pot instead of a wide and shallow pan it will take a lot of sugar and a lot of time for the jam to set without added boxed pectin.  But if you want to start with 4-6 cups of berries (and 2-3 cups of sugar) and get a reasonable amount of one variety before moving on to another, you do not need it.  Additionally, the lemon juice you are adding to your strawberries (or blueberries), supplies both the acid and the pectin you need since lemons are high on both.  Honestly, honestly, honestly you do not need it.  

 

Pat - I am hereby offering up a challenge.  Give my process a go and tell me if I am wrong.  Oh gosh, I just remembered, I never sent you the god darn dvd and book.  What a looser.  I will go over my e-mail posts and pick up your address and send it on. So sorry. 

Oh and I am up for the challenge trying to find the post you mentioned earlier.

Harriet Fasenfest said:

 

If I said it once I will say it again - you don't need boxed pectin UNLESS you want to avoid sugar all together.   Yes, if you're using a pot instead of a wide and shallow pan it will take a lot of sugar and a lot of time for the jam to set without added boxed pectin.  But if you want to start with 4-6 cups of berries (and 2-3 cups of sugar) and get a reasonable amount of one variety before moving on to another, you do not need it.  Additionally, the lemon juice you are adding to your strawberries (or blueberries), supplies both the acid and the pectin you need since lemons are high on both.  Honestly, honestly, honestly you do not need it.  

 

Pat - I am hereby offering up a challenge.  Give my process a go and tell me if I am wrong.  Oh gosh, I just remembered, I never sent you the god darn dvd and book.  What a looser.  I will go over my e-mail posts and pick up your address and send it on. So sorry. 

OK, I'll take your challenge and try it. I generally was trying to lower the sugar on the jam but you are right, it's just not gonna be good for you so you may as well just make it right and eat less of it. Is it OK to add some saltpeter as a preservative?

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