Fixing Jelly That Set Too Hard

July 13, 2012

A photo of homemade jelly.I know that this might not be a big help to some, but to those that do canning it might. I canned some grape jelly and could not get it to jell, so I put in 4 boxes of Sure Jel. That was a big mistake. I didn't realize that Sure Jel had a very sour taste til the damage was already done, but I processed the jelly anyway. Needless to say the end product was very solid and sour.


So to fix it I took two half pints at a time and added 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water and heated the whole thing on the stove in a pan, on low heat to boiling. When it was boiling for about 2 minutes (not any longer than 2 minutes), I took it and put it back into sterilized jars and sealed the lids back on and processed in the hot water bath. So what I have got now is a delicious "grape butter" the consistency of apple butter. I read that once something is cooked too hard it cannot be fixed. By taking a chance, I found out that it could be fixed and I didn't have to throw out my jellies.

By Cassie

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October 2, 2018

I used home grown peppers and followed a recipe exactly. The jelly set up so hard it's barely spreadable! Is there a way to fix? I used 1/2 pint jars and did not process in a water bath.


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October 2, 20180 found this helpful

Powdered pectin gives better results than liquid. What did you use?

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October 2, 20180 found this helpful

This is something that I have never tried so I was curious and went to Google for answers.

  • Well it seems there is a LOT of information on problems with making pepper jelly. This just means you are not alone in getting unsatisfactory results when making pepper jelly.
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  • The only real statement that I found about what to do with too hard jelly was to stir in 1 T. of warm water when you open the jar.
  • There are lots of reasons given as to why this could happen but it would be best for you to read some of these forums yourself as there are just too many "suggestions" to state them here.
  • Most suggestions will have to do with what to try when you make your next batch of jelly.
  • Some are set on powdered pectin but it seems that most recommend the liquid but in different quantities. Seems you can have problems no matter how closely you follow the recipe.
  • You can read some of these comments but not much is said on how to "fix" a bad batch.
  • Maybe someone else will have a better solution as to what to do with your already made jelly.
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October 2, 20180 found this helpful

Years ago we made hot pepper jam with the same issue. We softened each serving in the microwave for 10-15 seconds...added cream cheese and crackers and served it with a nice glass of white wine....yum!


Nuking made it spead able. Never tried green pepper, but assume the nuke concept would work for it also. Mmmmm. Now I am hungry!

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February 22, 2014

My apple jelly came out more like rubber than jelly. What can I do with it? I don't want to throw it out, but can't spread it. It has good flavor.

By Joyce


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December 9, 20172 found this helpful

It sounds like you have too much pectin in it. Try to reprocess it and add in more apple juice and if needed sugar, but no more pectin. You want it to the point that if you dip a spoon into it while cooking it coats the spoon.

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December 10, 20171 found this helpful

Thrifty Fun has a guide about fixing hard jelly. You add more sugar and heat on the stove and end up with a product that has the consistency of apple butter. The guide is


You cab also use hard jelly as a meat glaze or ice cream topping

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