Making Homemade Jam

Open jar of blackberry jam with fresh berries on a plate.
The abundance of fresh fruit either from your own trees or the market almost demands making jam. Homemade jam is easy and delicious and allows you to create your own flavors and combinations. It also makes a wonderful gift. This is a page about making homemade jam.

23 Solutions

This page contains the following solutions.

October 7, 2011

Start with enough strawberries to make 3-4 cups mashed berries and 3 cups sugar. Place these ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well to dissolve sugar, cover, and let sit overnight or at least 8 hours.

In a stockpot, bring berries and sugar mixture to a rolling boil, boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1 small package of strawberry jello, bring to boil again. Boil 2-3 minutes, remove from heat, let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Put into containers for the freezer, let cool about an hour, then seal containers and freeze. Makes about 4 pints.

I use this recipe a lot, and always at least double it. It can be used with other fruit. I've had success with peaches/peach jello, sweet cherries/cherry jello, and raspberries/raspberry jello.


Source: From the "More with Less" Mennonite Cookbook.

By Kim from Crawford, CO

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 216 Posts
October 19, 2011
I don't make jelly, mainly because I can't stand to throw away the fruit leftover after draining the juice. Well, this uses the pulp that is leftover, and doubles the yield of your fruit, thus leftover jam! Then you have jelly and jam from the same batch of fruit. How thrifty is that?


  • 4 cups fruit pulp*
  • 1 packet pectin for low or no sugar
  • 1 - 2 cups sugar, to taste

*When you make the jelly, prepare the fruit so that it will be suitable for eating as jam, no peels or seeds, and chopped small.



Process according to the directions for jam that came with your pectin.

If the fruit pulp is too thick or dry, add water or mild flavored juice, 1/2 cup at a time, until it's the consistency and flavor you want. Adjust the sugar to your taste also. Don't add too much, or the flavor of the fruit will be too diluted or covered up.

A lovely alternative is to add a sweet wine instead of water. This makes it into something quite special.

By Free2B from North Royalton, OH

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June 17, 2012
Since my name is Barb, I really like the name of this recipe. I really love the end product - a combination of blueberries and rhubarb. It is really delicious.


  • 3 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/4 cup chopped blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 box powdered pectin
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  • 5 1/2 cups sugar


Mix the rhubarb and water in a heavy dutch oven or other large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the blueberries, lemon, and pectin and mix well.

Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When it has reached a hard boil (cannot be stirred down), add the sugar all at once. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Return to a hard boil, and boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat. Ladle into sterilized 1/2 pint jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Stir to remove bubbles. Wipe rim thoroughly. Put sterilized lid and ring on, turning until just barely tightened.

Place in canning kettle, and put lid on. When the water returns to a boil, process for 10 minutes.

Remove from kettle and set on clean kitchen towel. Don't disturb for 24 hours. Check for seal.


Source: "Small Batch Preserving" by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.

By Free2B from North Royalton, OH

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 231 Posts
September 23, 2008

This practice is not considered safe anymore. ThriftyFun recommends using modern canning techniques instead.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 216 Posts
June 17, 2012

This is a recipe my sister used to make. I liked it so much, I asked for the recipe. It is very delicious, and beautiful too!


October 7, 2011

Today I did not have enough crab apple juice to make the jelly I wanted, so I took blackberries, squeezed them with my hands to get the juice and combined the two to get the proper amount required.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 216 Posts
October 21, 2011

Apples are very high in pectin, used to thicken jellies and jams. Pectin is very good for you, and is even added to supplements and touted as being good for your heart.


I can't vouch for their health benefits, but you know what they say about apples and doctors!


January 4, 2004

Jams, jellies and preserves are foods with many textures, flavors, and colors. They all consist of fruits preserved mostly by means of sugar and they are thickened or jellied to some extent.


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 5,887 Posts
December 28, 2011

Very different jam recipe! Very good!


August 9, 2010

If you have a stainless steel or ceramic pitcher (anything not aluminum), you can use it to pour the jam into the jars, even small ones, without spilling! Works great and a real time-saver.


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 5,887 Posts
February 24, 2009

Cook prunes and remove seeds, pour 2 cups water over seeds and let stand 1 hour. Strain. Combine this liquid with that in which prunes were cooked. Add prunes, raisins, sugar and oranges (which have been cut in thin slices).



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

August 29, 2008

I recently made several batches of peach jam. In one batch all the jars had a peachy color liquid layer at the bottom of about 1/2 inch. Also the jam is a slightly liquidy. Is the jam edible and what happened?

E.E. from Ames, IA


By Estella (Guest Post)
August 29, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Is it actually canned? Or wax on top? If canned, I would stir it up and use it on pancakes, waffles, or ice cream. If waxed, I would put it back in a pan and boil it until it thickens. Or, boil for several minutes to thicken it somewhat and kill any germs, then use it as a topping.

If it has simply been refrigerated, either of the above would work.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
August 29, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Did you use pectin? Did you make any changes in the recipe -- like use less sugar? I don't think there is anything wrong with your jam. It just sounds as if there was not enough pectin in the last batch. I always use Certo -- either liquid or crystals, but any brand will do I think, and my jam is always fine. You could do as the last poster suggested and use it as a peach syrup, or you could re-do it using pectin. There are recipes for fixing jam that did not set included with the pectin. Another thought I have is that this particular batch was juicier for some reason, and therefore required more cooking if you did not use pectin, or perhaps was so juicy that it required more pectin than ordinary. Whatever, the jam is edible. It will taste the same -- just isn't quite as solid.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 153 Feedbacks
August 30, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

How long ago did you make the jam? It sometimes takes 2-3 weeks to set up. Since it is still liquid and slightly separated, if it is properly sealed (boiling water bath) just invert the jars for a week or so and see what happens. I had some corn cob jelly once that took a month to set up. If it flops, it will still be heavenly on pancakes and ice cream. Have fun!

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December 7, 2009

Is it true that jelly and jam will not set when it is raining? I will be using commercial pectin.

By amy from Los Angeles


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December 8, 20090 found this helpful

I don't think it does. I use to make it anytime I needed to, good luck.

December 8, 20092 found this helpful

I have never had a problem but you may need to cook the juice longer. Also I don't follow the directions on the pectin which says boil for one minute. I do mine the old fashion way; I cook it until it sheets off a cool metal spoon. This makes a stiff jelly, but intensifies the flavor.

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April 13, 2011

I have been given a lot of rhubarb and thought I would make some jam. What I would like to know is can you use powdered gelatin instead of pectin? Many thanks. Helen xxx

By helen from U.K


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 107 Feedbacks
April 13, 20110 found this helpful

I wouldn't. Gelatin contains protein which can grow bacteria quite nicely and make you very sick. In canning proteins are canned with pressure and I think it would ruin the gelatin. But you could probably just boil the rhubarb with lots of sugar and make a preserve. Read up on preserves.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 270 Feedbacks
April 14, 20110 found this helpful

I did some research, check below. I knew NO was the answer for interchangeable but went for the reason why.
Here is what says about pectin

pectin Equivalents: 2 tablespoons liquid pectin = 4 teaspoons powdered pectin Pronunciation: PECK-tin Notes: In order to make preserves like jams and jellies, you normally cook together fruit, acid, sugar, and pectin, a substance found in certain fruits that gels when heated. Some fruits, like quinces, gooseberries, tart apples, and sour plums, contain enough natural pectin that they'll thicken all by themselves into preserves. Others, like cherries and some berries, need an extra boost to firm up. Jam recipes for pectin-deficient fruit normally call for liquid or powdered pectin, which you can find among the baking supplies in most supermarkets. The recipes usually specify what brand of pectin to use, and it's not a good idea to substitute one brand for another, since they have different formulas. Some brands (like Sure Jell and Certo) need acid and sugar to set, some (like Sure Jell for Low Sugar Recipes) need acid and just a little sugar to set, some (like Pomona's Universal Pectin or Mrs. Wages Lite Home Jell Fruit Pectin) don't need any sugar to set. Liquid pectin contains sulfite, which can cause an allergic reaction in people with sulfite sensitivites, but powdered pectin does not.

and here is what they say about gelatin

gelatin = animal jelly = gelatine = unflavored gelatin = unflavored gelatine Pronunciation: JELL-uh-tin Equivalents: One envelope of plain granulated gelatin = 1/4 ounce = 1 tablespoon, enough to gel two cups liquid. 4 sheets leaf gelatin = 1 envelope granulated gelatin = 1 tablespoon granulated gelatin Notes: Gelatin is flavorless and colorless, and if you dissolve it in a hot liquid, the liquid will gel as it cools. When reheated, say in your mouth, the gel melts. Most of us know gelatin as the key ingredient in the quivering dessert we call Jell-O, but cooks also use it to make cheesecakes, mousses, marshmallows, meringues, chiffon pies, ice cream, nougats, aspics, and many other things. Gelatin will break down if exposed to the enzymes of certain raw fruits, like kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangos, guavas, and figs. Cooking these fruits, though, destroys the enzymes. If you plan to add these fruits to a gelatin salad, it's often easiest to buy them in cans, for all canned fruit is pre-cooked. Gelatin is made from the bones, skins, hooves, and connective tissue of animals, including pigs, so it's objectionable to vegetarians and members of certain religions. Kosher gelatins are available, and some of these are also vegetarian. Substitutes: agar (A good choice for vegetarians.) OR guar gum OR carrageen OR arrowroot

My guess after reading this, is no they aren't interchangeable.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 270 Feedbacks
April 14, 20110 found this helpful

Posting again. There are many recipes out there that you use strawberry jello in making jams. They are not processed jams but the kind kept in the fridge and eaten shortly. Check for those recipes.


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April 16, 20110 found this helpful

Hi thank you so much for the very helpful info. about using gelatin in Jam I have taken the advice on board & decided against it Once again, thank you Helen xxx

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October 3, 2007

Can I re-cook my jam and add water to make it less thick?

Janet from Evesham, England


October 5, 20070 found this helpful

Just reheat it, then slowly stir in water a teaspoon at a time until it is the right consistency. No need to cook it over again.

By Julia (Guest Post)
October 6, 20070 found this helpful

Hi there.
I once had jam that turned out too I added
a little apple juice (concentrated), reheated it and it
was great.
Hope this helps you.

Julia in Orlando, FL

By Janet (Guest Post)
October 8, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks for your help, I have already thinned one jar and will do the rest soon, it worked a treat.

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October 13, 2011

How do I pickle beans in a stone jar?

By Robina


October 13, 20110 found this helpful

The only pickles that my late mother ever made in a stone jar, were the sweet pickles that take 14 days, with a different process having to be done every day for 14 days, then you put them in jars as stated in the recipe.

April 24, 20160 found this helpful

You use a salt brine and water with cloth over top.a weight to hold down the veggies in liquid.

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August 24, 2013

How can I rescue peach jam that came out too thick?

By Elizabeth R


August 25, 20130 found this helpful

If the jam is too thick, before you put it in the jars, just heat 1 or 2 cups of grape juice (or any other fruit juice of similar or neutral taste, like apple or white grape) to boiling. Then, gradually pour and stir it in until you reach the desired consistency, then continue canning!
If the jars are already sealed / canned, then when you use them, just stir in a little grape juice until you reach the desired thickness.

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February 16, 2012

Can gelatin be used in making strawberry preserves?

By John H


February 16, 20120 found this helpful

Well, not a food expert, but no, I don't think you can exchange gelatin for pectin. The properties of both are different. Wait to hear from someone else though, with more authority. (smile)

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November 6, 2012

I always seem to have a variety assortment of fresh fruit leftover and would love to make jam from it. but am unable to find a recipe that would incorporate such a random mix.

By Rachel A.

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September 5, 2019

This page offers some suggestions for substitutes for pectin in homemade jams and jellies. In fact some fruit is high enough in naturally occurring pectin that they don't require it at all.

Jars of homemade jam.

May 19, 2016

When in season berries are plentiful and reasonably priced, making them an excellent choice for homemade jam. This is a page about making berry jam.

A jelly jar full of red jam with a red and white cloth on top. and fresh raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries beside it.


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 13, 2011

Last year I boiled and boiled black/marionberry juice added Sure Jell pectin in 1 recipe and Certo fruit pectin in another. I got lots of syrup. Can I use Knox unflavored gelatin and how?

P.S. I noticed that my mom's peach freezerves have separated in the freezer ? That's one reason I don't do freezerves, plus I have and was raised with lots of Ball and Kerr jars.

By Stephen from Seattle, WA


June 18, 2010

I recently made a batch of sour cherry jam that didn't set right. I didn't have enough cherries and tried to fiddle with the pectin amounts, oops!. To make the best of my mistake, I've had fun coming up with other ways to make good use of the unset jam and they've all worked well.

Here's what I've tried so far: ice cream topping, pancake topping, drizzled over a homemade cheesecake for a special occasion, layered in with batter of a cinnamon streusel coffee cake (yum!), mixed into oatmeal or cream of wheat hot cereal, and used in homemade granola/breakfast bars. Honestly, I think some of these were better than the jam itself so I'll have to make sure I "mess up" again next year.

Anyone else have any suggestions? I think I may be able to use it as pie filling as well.

By Stephanie from Hillsboro, OR


Using Up Jam That Didn't Set Correctly

Great ideas! I like to use some homemade blackberry or plum jam in my barbecue sauce. I thin it with some apple cider vinegar, add a little of my store bought BBQ sauce, and then add some hot sauce to taste. Great flavor combination of sweet and heat. (05/04/2010)

By Darrell Nolan

Using Up Jam That Didn't Set Correctly

I use jams inside a double layer cake for filling then frost it, delish! (05/04/2010)

By Donna

Using Up Jam That Didn't Set Correctly

You have come up with some great ideas. My neighbor gave me some strawberry jam last year that didn't set properly, and it was so useful that I am going to can 'smashed' strawberries myself this season! (05/04/2010)

By MB Norton

Using Up Jam That Didn't Set Correctly

Thanks for the advice! I bet that cherry jam would be especially tasty as a filling for Black Forest Cake. I'm going to try the barbecue sauce trick too since I made blackberry jam. Followed the recipe on that one so it did set properly :) (05/06/2010)

By Stephanie

Using Up Jam That Didn't Set Correctly

I bet it would be good spread onto meats like chicken, turkey, or pork and either baked or grilled.
sounds delicious! (05/20/2010)

By Frances Adams

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