- I have never made my own jams. What equipment do I need to get started?
- I would like to make my own jam - how do I select the best fruit for jam making, i.e. should it be over-ripe, under-ripe, colour etc?
- What is the best way to sterilise jars prior to bottling?
- What is the difference between jams, marmalades, jellies and preserves?
- Why should homemade jams, jellies and marmalades be cooked in small batches?
- I have noticed in the recipes on pack that a "knob of butter" is required to make jams and marmalades - what is the benefit of this?
- How much is a knob of butter?
- In your recipes you refer to a "full boil"? What is this?
- How do I test that my jam / marmalade has set? What do I do, if I have tested my batch and it has not set?
- I have been told that homemade jams and marmalades continue to set for some time after they are made. Is this true? If so, when can I start using my jam / marmalade?
- Why does the peel in my marmalade float to the top of the jar once it has set?
- I like my jam, runny. How do I adjust the recipe to achieve this?
- How is the Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar made? What is it about them that allows me to make jam quickly with a perfect set every time?
- Why is sunflower oil included in the products' formulation?
- Can I use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar for the current recipes I have at home?
- What is pectin? How does it work in jam and marmalade making?
- Can I use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar to make jams / marmalades using fruit combinations, i.e. apple & raspberry?
- Can I use Jam Setting Sugar to make fruit jellies and pastes?
- I have tried making peach jam using Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar, and chopped 1kg of peaches into small cubes before boiling. Whilst the jam has set, much of the fruit has floated to the top. What can I do about this?
- I would like to use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar to make a non-berry based jam. Do I need to change the process or recipe at all to ensure my jam sets?
- Some of my current jam recipes (i.e. apricot jam) require me to soak the fruit before making the jam. Is this required for making jams with Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar?
- Will making jams and marmalades with frozen fruit work as well as with fresh fruit?
- What is the best way to store the jams / marmalades I have made?
- Can I freeze my jams, marmalades and jellies?
- I have made my batch of jam, and I have a partly filled jar left. Will mould develop?
- What do I do if mould develops on my homemade jam or marmalade?
- Can I use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar in place of Chelsea White Sugar in my own recipe?
- How do you measure Golden Syrup?
- Can I use use artificial sweetener instead of sugar when making jam?
1. I have never made my own jams. What equipment do I need to get started?
Jam making is easier and simpler than you think. All you need to make your very own batch is:
• Heavy based 6 Litre pot (provides ample room for jam to bubble)
• Wooden spoon for mixing (plastic spoon may melt, and metal spoon will get too hot)
• Empty glass jars and metal caps (to store jam). Ensure these are all properly cleaned and sterilised
• Metal ladle, for bottling ready jams and marmalades
• Metal funnel (or plastic if metal unavailable) to minimise any mess or waste when bottling jam into a jar
• Oven mitt (or tea towel) to hold pot and jars whilst bottling jam
• Chilled teacup saucer, small plate, or a clean and cool bench-top (for jam set test )
• Clean sterile jars (to keep jam free from mould)
2. I would like to make my own jam - how do I select the best fruit for jam making, i.e. should it be over-ripe, under-ripe, colour etc?
High quality fruit is the most important ingredient in making fresh jams and marmalades. Look out for fruit which is sufficiently ripe, has an even consistency and is free of blemishes (no spots, or bruises) - if you wouldn't eat the fruit yourself, then don't use it.
Using fresh fruit which is in peak season is also important for a fresh, fruity taste and a beautiful jam colour and texture. Please ensure that fruit is not over-ripe however, as the lack of pectin in the fruit may make it harder for the jam to set. If your favourite fruit is not in season, frozen fruit is a great alternative (particularly for berries).
3. What is the best way to sterilise jars prior to bottling?
Proper sterilisation of jars and lids is a must to keep your fresh homemade jams free from mould. Traditional methods can be quite laborious and time consuming, however see our Jam Making Tool Kit section for a quick, easy and effective method.
4. What is the difference between jams, marmalades, jellies and preserves?
Jam is made from crushed or chopped fruit. Jam holds its shape, but is less firm than jelly. When jams are made from a mixture of fruits they are usually called conserves, especially when they contain citrus fruits, nuts, raisins or coconut.
Marmalades (the English term for citrus jams) are soft, transparent fruit jams that contain small pieces of fruit or citrus peel.
Jelly is a mixture of fruit juice and sugar that is clear and firm enough to hold its shape.
Preserves are made of small, whole fruits or pieces of fruits in a clear, thick, slightly gelled syrup.
5. Why should homemade jams, jellies and marmalades be cooked in small batches?
When making jams, jellies and marmalades at home, heating and mixing large quantities of fruit and sugar can be problematic. Sugar may burn, fruit may not cook evenly etc. This will ultimately affect the quality of your homemade jams, preserves, marmalades or jellies.
Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar has been formulated specifically for small batches made at home - 1kg of setting sugar = 1 batch (approx. 4-5 medium sized jars).
6. I have noticed in the recipes on pack that a "knob of butter" is required to make jams and marmalades - what is the benefit of this?
Most fruits contain a natural soap like substance which froths when fruit is boiled during the jam making process. Butter interacts with this substance to lower the amount of froth that can develop, whilst controlling the level of boil. Less froth means that more jam is produced, minimising wastage.
7. How much is a knob of butter?
A "knob of butter" for the purpose of jam making using Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar is approximately 10g. See our step by step guide to jam making for a visual guide.
8. In your recipes you refer to a "full boil"? What is this?
A full boil is simply a level of maximum boiling where the bubbles (or boil) are vigorous, rise in the pot and cannot be stirred down. It is the maximum boil (heat) at which jams / marmalades are cooked. See our
9. How do I test that my jam / marmalade has set? What do I do, if I have tested my batch and it has not set?
There are a number of methods which can be used to test the level of jam or marmalade set. However this method is by far the easiest.
To test for a set : Remove the pot from the heat, put a small amount of jam on a chilled plate or saucer and allow to cool. 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.
Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar has been specifically formulated to produce a perfect set every time. However, if you feel that you would like your jam / marmalade to be even firmer, you can try the following:
For jams: Bring jam mixture back to a full boil (no longer than 5 minutes) and remove from heat. Retest for set. Do not re-boil jam for any longer than this time.
For marmalades: Add 1 cup orange pulp water (if you have any left), and bring marmalade mixture back to a rolling boil for no longer than 5-10 minutes. Retest for set. Do not re-boil marmalade for any longer than this time.
Note: Jams and Marmalades can set differently. This is due to the differing levels of pectin in the fruit used. Also, the purity of fruit lends itself to variation in pectin levels, meaning that two batches of the same fruit (i.e. strawberry jam) can have a slightly different set.
Overcooking jam can break down pectin and prevent proper gelling.
10. I have been told that homemade jams and marmalades continue to set for some time after they are made. Is this true? If so, when can I start using my jam / marmalade?
Yes, this is true. Jams and marmalades (or jellies and pastes) do continue to set after they have been made and bottled into jars. Depending on the type of fruit used, a batch can reach its final set anywhere between 2 - 12 hours from the time it has been made. It is therefore best to consume your freshly made jams and marmalades any time from the day after making them.
11. Why does the peel in my marmalade float to the top of the jar once it has set?
The white pith between the flesh and the peel of citrus fruits (i.e. oranges, limes) is very light and will make the peel float in the finished marmalade. To avoid this from occurring, it is important that when you take the peel off the fruit, you remove the peel only, not the pith.
Whilst we recommend peeling the fruit with a potato peeler so that the peel can be cut to a regular size, this can sometimes remove excessive pith from the fruit flesh. If this happens, try using a fine grater or zester.
12. I like my jam, runny. How do I adjust the recipe to achieve this?
Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar has been developed to achieve a firm gel like texture, typical of the types of jams / marmalades purchased in supermarkets, at gourmet delis and markets, as well as those made at home using traditional methods.
However if you prefer a slightly runnier jam, try adding up to 50g of extra cleaned fruit and 50g of regular Chelsea White Sugar per batch of jam made. Make jams using the recipe provided on the Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar pack. The additional fruit should result in a softer, runnier jam set.
13. How is the Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar made? What is it about them that allows me to make jam quickly with a perfect set every time?
Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar is made from a blend of natural Australian cane sugar (98%), apple pectin (0.7%), citric acid and sunflower oil.
All the above ingredients are used in the traditional jam / marmalade making process. However, a lot of trial and error is involved in finding the right levels and combination of these ingredients required to achieve a perfect set. By using Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar, there is no need for such guesswork - all the necessary ingredients in the right ratio have been blended for you. All you need to do is add fruit, and off you go!
14. Why is sunflower oil included in the products' formulation?
Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar contains a tiny amount of sunflower oil. The oil works as a binder in the manufacturing process to hold the product's ingredients together. It has no function in the jam making process.
15. Can I use Chelsea Jam setting sugar for the current recipes I have at home?
The recipes available on the packets of Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar have been formulated to reduce cooking times (versus traditional methods) using this sugar blend, and have been thoroughly tested to ensure they work every time.
By all means you can use your own fruit combinations and recipes. However if you are looking to adapt your own recipe/s, and are using Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar, make sure you remember not to add any pectin, citric acid (or lemon juice), or sugar separately, as these key jam making ingredients are already included in the Chelsea product.
To make your own jam and marmalade at home all you need is 1kg cleaned low pectin fruit (of your choice) and 1kg Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar to make delicious jams in no time.
16. What is pectin? How does it work in jam and marmalade making?
Found naturally in fruits and vegetables, pectin is used as a thickener in jams, marmalades and jellies, providing a gel-like set (similar to gelatine). It is available in powdered and liquid forms. Pectin provides fruit with structure, and firmness, much like collagen keeps our skin firm. For example a ripe, firm and crunchy apple is high in pectin, whereas a softer fruit (i.e. strawberries) has less pectin.
All fruits contain some level of pectin, however some more than others.
- High pectin fruits include: apples and most citrus fruits, i.e. oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and cumquats.
- Low pectin fruits include: strawberries, raspberries, plums, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, figs and rhubarb.
When making jams and marmalades, pectin only works properly when combined with exactly the right amount of sugar and fruit. Sugar absorbs water from the fruit, which when combined with citric acid, stimulate the activity of the pectin, so that a gel (or jam) forms. In finished jams and marmalades, those made with high pectin fruits tend to set a little firmer than softer fruits which contain less pectin.
17. Can I use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar to make jams / marmalades using fruit combinations, i.e. apple & raspberry?
Absolutely! You can use any combinations of fruit - so long as for each batch of jam or marmalade made, you use the equivalent of 1kg of cleaned fruit: no more, no less, i.e. for a mixed berry jam, you could try 300g strawberries, 300g raspberries, and 400g blackberries: total = 1kg fruit.
To combine a harder fruit with a softer fruit (i.e. apple and raspberry), process the harder fruit (apple) using a food processor until a smooth paste forms, then add softer fruit (raspberry) to this. Again ensure that you use no more than 1kg total fruit per batch to be made.
So, not only can you make your traditional favourites, you can experiment with a variety of fruits in season to create your very own special jam / marmalade blend.
18. Can I use Jam Setting Sugar to make fruit jellies and pastes?
Yes, of course. Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar can be used to create your own fruit jellies and pastes. To find out how, visit the "Jellies and Fruit Pastes with Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar" section on the jam making page on the Chelsea website.
19. I have tried making peach jam using Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar, and chopped 1kg of peaches into small cubes before boiling. Whilst the jam has set, much of the fruit has floated to the top. What can I do about this?
Using Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar, the fruit is boiling for a much shorter time than when making jams using traditional methods. This shorter boil time helps to maintain fresh fruit colour and texture for a more vibrant looking jam. However, the shorter boil time also means that the fruit cannot be broken down as much during the cooking process.
Consequently, it is important to ensure that fruit is mashed rather than chopped when being used to make jams with Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar. This will ensure that your jam has an even consistency, and that cubes or large chunks of fruit will not float to the top of your fresh batch of jam.
See our step by step guide to jam making for a visual indication of mashed fruit. This applies to all types of fruit used to make jams using Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar.
20. I would like to use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar to make a non-berry based jam. Do I need to change the process or recipe at all to ensure my jam sets?
Chelsea Jam Setting sugar is not limited to the creation of berry jams. It can be used for a number of other low pectin fruits i.e. apricots, cherries, plums and peaches. If using these types of fruits to make jam, ensure the fruit is sufficiently ripe (not over or under ripe). As these fruits are generally firmer than berries, it is important to break down the fruit with a potato masher or blender until a soft, mushy consistency is achieved (you can leave some chunkier fruit bits if you wish) prior to boiling. This will ensure the jam sets within the 4 minute boil time.
21. Some of my current jam recipes (i.e. apricot jam) require me to soak the fruit before making the jam. Is this required for making jams with Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar?
There is no need to soak any fruit for jam making using this product. For firmer fruits, simply blend, mash or process the fruit down to a pulp-like consistency before boiling as per the instructions on pack.
22. Will making jams and marmalades with frozen fruit work as well as with fresh fruit?
Yes. Frozen fruit can be substituted for fresh fruit - particularly handy for making your favourite berry jam all year round. Fresh fruit is always best, but frozen fruit is a fantastic substitute.
Frozen fruit is snap frozen, meaning that all the fresh fruit colour, taste, texture and vitamins are maintained. Simply defrost frozen fruit prior to making jam / marmalade.
23. What is the best way to store the jams / marmalades I have made? How long will they keep?
For best results, store freshly made jams / marmalades in a cool, dry place i.e. pantry after you have sealed and labelled them. This applies only to jars which are filled to the rim; half filled jars must be stored in the fridge once cool.
Unopened jams and marmalades made with Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar will keep for up to 12 months from day of making, in the pantry.
All jams / marmalades must be stored in the fridge upon opening (keeps for approximately 3 months). Once opened, jams and marmalades have been exposed to air, and are subject to mould, oxidisation (change in colour), as with any other natural fruit.
24. Can I freeze my jams, marmalades and jellies?
No. There are a few reasons for this:
- Glass jar holding jams / marmalades may shatter or crack due to extreme temperature.
- The jam will thicken, but not necessarily freeze, which may affect freshness.
- There is a strong likelihood that the jam set will be ruined, as water seeps out, therefore affecting the jam's structure.
25. I have made my batch of jam, and I have a partly filled jar left. Will mould develop?
There is no need to worry. You can still enjoy the partly filled jar of jam / marmalade. However, as a partly filled jar is more susceptible to mould, it is important to store this in the fridge (not pantry) once the jam cools, even if it has not been opened. Storing these jars in the fridge (as opposed to the pantry) will keep the jam cool, reducing the potential for mould to develop.
26. What do I do if mould develops on my homemade jam or marmalade?
Should you find mould on your homemade jams and marmalades, you will need to dispose of the complete jar (i.e. do not remove mould and eat the rest) immediately.
Homemade jams and marmalades are made from natural ingredients (free from artificial preservatives or colours). As such, they are susceptible to mould and bacteria, particularly after opening.
The major causes of mould include:
• Mould in unopened jars
- Poor sterilisation of jars / lids prior to bottling. See our Getting Started on the Chelsea website for some simple, failsafe tips.
• Mould in opened jars
- Concentration of sugar not high enough in jam (called syneresis), meaning that it has not been preserved properly. Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar contains the required amount of sugar to prevent this from occurring, and as such this is not likely for jams and marmalades made using this product.
- Condensation (excess water falling onto jam towards top of jar) provides the perfect
conditions for mould / bacteria to develop. Again, proper sterilisation of jars and caps, as well as storage before and after opening can prevent mould from forming.
• Always use a clean serving spoon/knife, this will help eliminate cross-contamination from other food and prevent bacteria build-up.
27. Can I use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar in place of Chelsea White Sugar in my own recipe?
Jam making requires the right balance of fruit, sugar, acid and pectin. We strongly recommend that you use Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar only for the recipes we have tested in our kitchen. These are available on back of pack and on our website
If you try and replace Chelsea White Sugar with Chelsea Jam Setting Sugar in your own recipe the balance of jam, sugar, acid and pectin could be inaccurate and you may be disappointed with the result. Instead we recommend you use Chelsea White or Caster Sugar.
29. Can I use use artificial sweetener instead of sugar when making jam?
Sugar acts as both a preservative and a setting agent when making jams. Artificial sweeteners don't perform these functions. You will also need to be aware that without sugar your jam won't keep for longer than a few weeks and will need to be stored in the fridge even before opening.