Hi food52ers- AJ and I have been chatting about fixing a way-too-stiff jam (see exchange below). Has anyone thinned jam with water before? If so,...

... what do you think about the measurements here? Or, would anyone suggest thinning with something other than water?
Thank you!!!

Oh my gosh, AntoniaJames- this gives me some hope of not dumping all this beautiful food. Do you mean that I might be able to open the sealed jars, dump everything back into a pot, thin and reseal? What would you suggest adding to this particular recipe? And yes, the spoon test came out perfectly so I was quite surprised by this. Thank you so much!
em-i-lis, yes, it's worth a try! An old trick of jammers everywhere is to test the set/flavor correction by doing whatever you think will fix the problem to a single jar. So easy! (You can do it in an ordinary saucepan that's deep enough to cover one jar . . . just set the jar on a folded dishcloth in the bottom of the pan.) What I would do is add a tablespoon or two of boiling water to the contents of one jar. Heat it to boiling, fill a sterilized jar, then process. Wait for a full 24 hours before opening. Actually, I'd wait a week, as often the set really doesn't make itself fully known until several days later.Then, open it and see what you think. If it works, add the same amount of water per jar and re-can. I recommend you take this question over to foodpickle, to see what other experienced jam makers recommend! I've never thinned with water, so I don't know what ratio would typically be best in this case. ;o) em-i-lis
This looks and sounds so beautiful, but mine did not turn out. :( I used fresh Italian plums and another black-skinned, light-fleshed sweeter one, both from the farmers market. Everything just smelled to heaven but when I opened a jar this morning to taste, it was a pasty log that was so stiff, it was almost like a candle. I used exactly the amount of pectin called for: used Pomona's Universal. Does anyone have any guesses what happened? AJ mentioned something about different plums having different pectin levels. Is that it?
I cannot imagine any other explanation. I made two batches of this last year and both of them, as it happened, were actually looser than usual. Last summer, the stone fruit here was crazy. I had a batch of peach jam that was also loose, and a batch of pluot jam that was quite stiff, so I opened the jars and dumped all of their contents into my jamming kettle to combine both batches just until they started to boil, stirring all the while. Then I re-processed, to create a jam with the most amazing texture and flavor. It was everyone's favorite! I've had a lot of challenges with plums over the years, including with deceptive "cold spoon" tests -- the set seems perfect on the spoon, but a week later, after opening a jar, the jam was much too stiff -- and have found that it may even depend on the tree, and not the orchard or variety, as to the pectin level of the plum. There was an interesting foodpickle thread about this a few weeks ago. I believe that the person who asked the question simply thinned the stiff jam with a bit of hot water. I don't know if that would work when re-canning .. . . ;o

  • Posted by: em-i-lis
  • September 6, 2011
  • 1 Comment
Spiced Plum and Port Jam
Recipe question for: Spiced Plum and Port Jam

1 Comment

AntoniaJames September 6, 2011
By the way, if this did not have Port in it, I'd use Slivovitz (plum brandy) to thin this down. In fact, I'd use Slivovitz with most other fruits. Plum provides a beautiful, supporting background flavor. ;o)
Recommended by Food52