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How to tell when Jam is set

The key to a perfect jam is getting a perfect set, meaning the fruit, pectin and sugar reacted together to gel. The trick is how to tell when your jam has set.

There are a few things that can affect your jam setting – not enough pectin, an imbalance between the pectin level and acid level or over boiling your mix which breaks down its thickening ability.

Once you think it the jam should be set – remove from the heat.  You can always return the pot if it is not set but over boiling can ruin your hard work.   Then do one of the following to test for the jam set:

1)  Wooden Spoon Method

Dip a wooden spoon in the mix and remove, hold it horizontally to cool.

Tilt the spoon so jam falls off – If small drops join larger ones and then fall off cleanly from the spoon its ready.  If not, return to the boil for 2 minute intervals and repeat the test

2) Freezer method
Before you start boiling your jam place a saucer or a small plate in the freezer

When you think jam has set place a small amount of hot jam on the cold plate and place back in the freezer for 1 minute.

Remove from freezer and gently drag a finger from the outside of sample towards the centre, if the surface wrinkles, the setting point has been reached. If this does not happen, return to boil and retest at 2 minute intervals.

I’m sure there are plenty of other methods that have been created and updated – what’s your sure fire set test?

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