question about keeping jam fresh - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-13-2010, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't know if this is the right place for this, but thought someone could help me. So I made a lot of strawberry and marionberry jam last summer, and I have two issues I was hoping that someone could help me with, so I could improve for next year:

first, my strawberry jam (which I boiled in sterilized jars, not freezer jam) tastes fine but the color is totally faded to a pinkish brown. Is it still safe to eat and anything I can do to help the color keep next year?

second, my jam appeared to be sealed and was fine when opened but started molding after it was opened even though it was kept in the refrigerator. This was when I first made it so I think I had 3 jars open so I could taste them all, and so it was probably sitting there for a month, but still, it seems like it should be able to keep in the fridge for longer than that. Anyone?
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#2 of 8 Old 01-13-2010, 03:45 PM
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How are you storing your sealed jars? they should be kept in a dark place. I they are exposed to the light a lot of the pigments (and vitamins) will be destroyed. It's still safe to eat but won't have as much nutrition in it as it might have. The taste can be affected to.

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#3 of 8 Old 01-14-2010, 03:00 PM
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The discoloration should be OK, and I think is common particularly with Strawberries, as long as you followed a good recipe and your jars are sealed properly and pop when you open them. I had some browning at the top of my strawberry jam made using Pomona's natural pectin, and was worried, but reassured by some more experienced canners. Since then we have eaten that jam it with no issues. I think low-sugar recipes might also have issues with browning in general.

A month is about how long my jams last (open/in fridge) except those that are super high acid, like blueberry which seems to last longer. Low sugar/natural pectin will also mold sooner once opened than jams made with sure-jell or similar. I've just transitioned to using more, smaller jars so we go through it and it doesn't sit around too long. It's better to use more lids than throw away my fruit and all that work.
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#4 of 8 Old 01-14-2010, 05:31 PM
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this is a good way to prepare jam i tried it and it's wonderful

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#5 of 8 Old 01-15-2010, 11:34 PM
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First. Color can fade, unless you added something like citric acid or lemon juice to the jar to preserve the color. Sugar and pectin can only do so much, you know? If it's still sealed and all that, you should be good.
And. Canned jam just doesn't have the pretty, bright color that freezer jam has since you're basically cooking it for much longer. Just the way it is.

Second. You aren't using the preservatives companies are, so your jam won't last a decade in the fridge. I have found that jams made with lower sugar and/or Pomona Pectin can't hang out long in the fridge, as compared to jams made with Sure-Jell (and lots more sugar!) and such.

One thing I started doing was just making jam in half-pints. Sometimes we really go through a bunch of jam (like 4-5 of those in a week), sometimes one a month. With smaller containers, less [if any] goes to waste. I rarely can jam in pints, at least until the kids are bigger and I basically need an entire jar at lunch for them all.

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#6 of 8 Old 01-17-2010, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I keep the jars in the back of my pantry, so there isn't much light that gets in there, but it was the low sugar pectin that I used, which probably explains the color and going bad issues.

I did accidentally buy pint-sized jars which sometimes do take us a while to go through, but I think next year i may just fill them half way so I don't end up throwing half of it away.

Thanks for the advice everyone! It just occurred to me that we are half way to berry season and I can start my peas soon, that's enough to get me through a cold and rainy Sunday in Oregon
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#7 of 8 Old 06-09-2010, 12:22 AM
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subbing to come back later and read - thanks!

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#8 of 8 Old 06-09-2010, 11:14 AM
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A big "yeahthat" to everything lmonter wrote. Ball makes both a 1/2 pint and an even smaller 4 oz jar that work great for jelly, and are sure to be used up before they go bad. If you have freezer space for freezer jam, it is so beautiful and keeps the fresh strawberry taste even after months in the freezer. It is my favorite way to do strawberry jam, but since I don't have enough freezer space, I usually do shelf-stable jam, too.
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