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Jam, certo or bernardin pectin? and liquid or powder?

Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

I have been making jam for the last 2 days and the last couple or 3 batches have been with bernardin liquid pectin and they are runnier (so far) than the rest which was made with Certo liquid pectin. I am not sure yet because the jams are not exactly the same but tomorrow may settle it. I will make grape jam and substitute certo for bernardin and same weight of grapes and of sugar. I know bernardin is the canadian company so I hope it does well in my tests. Having said that, their whole jam making process is a royal pain in the arse.  I started making jam with my mum about 30 years ago and gradually got better at it. We didn't have pectin when I started so it was sometimes really tough to get a set.  Bernardin have the whole boiling the jam in a water bath gimmick and it is so much bullshit.   I heat the jamjars in the oven to about 220 or 230 farenheit (boiling point for water or a bit hotter), pour the hot jam in, and pop on a lid. Before I put the lid on, I drop it into potasium metasulphite solution. (Stuff for steralizing wine bottles and winemaking equipment). There is NEVER a problem with jam spoilage.   There is nothing alive on the lid and the boiling jam (at 130 ofr 140 c) kills everthing else.

The bernardin way of making jam is a big energy waste.  We used ordinary commercial jam jars with the ordinary commercial lids ( washed with the potasium meta sulphite for years) and never got any mould or spoilage. Before the metasulphate, we used to get mould ocasionally.

Anyway, of course the water bath and pressure canning methods  are necessary for low acid foods and low sugar foods.  but not for jam. You will save a ton of time jand energy just doing the one minute hard boil, then add the liquid pectin (Probably certo), pour into jars pop on the steralized lids, tighten the ring and DONE.

Your thoughts please

Brian

 

 


Comments

remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

I used both this year when making jam, and found liquid Certo to be better than Bernardin liquid pectin for setting up. First year I have used bernardin, and won't use it again.

Never use anything chemical in my jams and never have had an issue with spoilage. I too heat the jars in the oven and put the lids in a boiling water bath until they go on. I also sterilize the tongs and laddle in boiling water.


skeiseid
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Joined: Jun 6 2007

Jam!

My mom has made strawberry jam with Certo for decades -- as long as I can remember. When I got old enough to help I usually tried to "help" her make raspberry and blueberry jams instead. They're my favourites.

We pretty much just follow the recipes that come with the box of Certo. Reevently I've been processing the berries as opposed to crushing them which is faster and easier. I most often put the jars and lids in the dishwasher and pull them out "hot" during jam making. We've always used hot parafin to seal the jars in addition to the lids. This method has always worked well for us.


Snert
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Joined: Nov 4 2008

The one time I made jam (almost 20 years ago, from wild blackberries I'd picked) I used only sugar.  This meant lots and lots of testing for set (a dollop of jam on a cold ceramic plate should 'skin' over and resist running) but in the end the jam was great.  I didn't have a pressure cooker at the time, so I just kept the jars and lids in a big pot of boiling salted water until needed.  I do understand that not all fruits have enough natural pectin to do this, however.  And actually, I seem recall vowing to use pectin the next time!


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

If you use paraffin, there is no need to use sealing lids.

Blackberry jam is my favorite but, did not get to the coast to get any this year.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

I keep checking my PMs and my faxes, remind, but none of your plum jam has shown up yet!!


skeiseid
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Joined: Jun 6 2007

Belts and suspenders. The jars came with lids and we used 'em. You're right.

I envy west coasters their plentitude of blackberries. In the bush behind my grandmother's house in Vancouver these grew like weeds. Neither the house nor the bush remain but I understand that blackberry bushes still grow like weeds in places.

They cost a fortune back east.


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

Sorry unionist, must have got stuck in the ghost in the machine, maybe they like plum jam too. :D

Out in Sooke, blackberries grow wild everywhere, am going to try digging up some canes next time I go down there and see if they grow up here, as they do grow up north further too. There is also some that grow wild out in Saanich too along Island View beach.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

And, if you see the yellow plums, go for it.

Lots of them in saanich. Probably decendents of fruit trees on farms when we fed ourselves.

They are usually not sweet. a couple of days ago, I grabbed some from a little tree near condos  when I was going to buy sugar and popped them in my mouth and a lady asked what they were. "They are yellow plums"  "Really, I make jam". "these ones make jam that some people mistake for apricot!".  She was impressed.  "I lived here 12 years and did not know this was a plum tree"  "Nobody ever picks them". So she will get at least 5 pots of jam off that tree. I told her to tarp the ground and just shake them off.   (Many had already fallen).

My bernardin grape jam has set up a bit more overnight.

Worked late so no comparison today.

remind wrote:

Sorry unionist, must have got stuck in the ghost in the machine, maybe they like plum jam too. :D

Out in Sooke, blackberries grow wild everywhere, am going to try digging up some canes next time I go down there and see if they grow up here, as they do grow up north further too. There is also some that grow wild out in Saanich too along Island View beach.


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

Those yellow plums on the Island make fantastic wine. If I had enough, would make wine with them not jam. :D

Though used for plum sauce they are good too.

We saved some seeds from the plums from Vernon, going to see if we can get them to grow here. Winteres just do not get that cold anymore, and we can always build houses for them to winter them over, if they do start.

 

 


dunsdale1
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Joined: Sep 18 2009

Brian,

I'm the Executive Chef with Bernardin and have been a Chef for over 20 years.  The 2 main reasons why we heat process is:

1- to eliminate any potential bacteria/mould  that may have entered into the jams/jellies prior to processing.

2- in order to create a vacum seal, this jars must be processed in a hot water bath in boiling water.  This is the only safe method to can all items.  Oven canning is extremely dangerous as the heat from a dry oven may not dirstribute the heat evently, and the jars can explode.  This is called themal shoc, please check your facts.   Certo manufactures pectin and not jars, we are the leaders in the making of jars for over 100 years  and we have the experience and knowledge behind us. 

 

Regards,

Emerie

Executive Chef Bernardin Ltd

 


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

Interesting thread!  Thanks for dropping in, Emerie.

remind, I'll take a jar of plum jam too, please.  I'll send you my address by PM. ;) ;)


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

Why thank you Emerie, for taking the time to stop by, and give us your reasoning.


skeiseid
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Joined: Jun 6 2007

Snert
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Joined: Nov 4 2008

So Bernardin's canning guru is named Emerie Brine?  That rocks!


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

I agree with your analysis on most canning, Emerie.  But not on Jam.   Jam is different.  You are bringing sugary water to the boill, all life is destroyed,  it is over autoclave temperature, isn.t it?  then you pour it into hot jars, and pop on a lid. My lids are dropped into sulphite solution to kill mold spores.  Nothing else can live on the jam.  Back in ireland, we used commercial jamjars with the same process and "sureset" jam sugar (pectin added into the sugar itself) for years with no issues. Never a problem, no mold or anything. Before I used sulphite, we occasionally got mould on the top.

Of course you need the waterbath canning process for low sugar recipees and low acid and meaty and tomato recipees but not for full sugar jam!

I can runner and climbing french beans with your jars in a pressure cooker and it works wonderfully. 

But jam is jam, the super high sugar content makes it antibacterial anyway.   You will not get e coli, salmonella, clostridia  or any of the bad ones in the extremely unlikely chance that you do get bacterial infection of your jam. If anything goes wrong it will be mold and mold is pretty easy to spot.

  I think your exaustive process is necessary in most other situations but it iis losing you business in the jam making community AND it is putting people off the actual making of jam.  And that is a great shame because fruit is rotting on the ground everywhere.

I do not do oven canning. I preheat the jars to about 240 f in an oven so I do not get thermal shock when I pour the hot jam into them.  In Ireland, I think we got thermal shock, about twice ever,  (and that was with commercial jamjars from store bought jam that we reused).  2 jars in a couple of thousand cracking is not an issue.

Anyway good to have you on. I just looked at the star link. I boil my jam in the pot, and just pour straight into the preheated jars.  It saves all that time in the waterbath, and also the lifting into and out of the waterbath.  What is the increased risk of burning yourself or of dropping a jar with the extended process?

Brian

 

dunsdale1 wrote:

Brian,

I'm the Executive Chef with Bernardin and have been a Chef for over 20 years.  The 2 main reasons why we heat process is:

1- to eliminate any potential bacteria/mould  that may have entered into the jams/jellies prior to processing.

2- in order to create a vacum seal, this jars must be processed in a hot water bath in boiling water.  This is the only safe method to can all items.  Oven canning is extremely dangerous as the heat from a dry oven may not dirstribute the heat evently, and the jars can explode.  This is called themal shoc, please check your facts.   Certo manufactures pectin and not jars, we are the leaders in the making of jars for over 100 years  and we have the experience and knowledge behind us. 

 

Regards,

Emerie

Executive Chef Bernardin Ltd

 


triciamarie
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Joined: Jul 28 2006

I am such a lousy canner, I get some spoilage even WITH pre-sterilizing brand new jars and rings AND a ten-minute boiling water bath -- and I'm only making full-sugar jam. Needless to say I won't be expanding into low-acid foods anytime soon, or even borderline ones like salsa and chile sauce (boo, I love that stuff). Not to mention all the funky home canning experiments people get into like infusing garlic and herbs in oil and storing it at room temperature -- and giving it to their friends! Surprised

I do take heart though in the relative infrequency of serious food poisoning. A friend of mine's mom for 30 years has cooked her stuffed Thanksgiving turkey PARTWAY, then she puts it on the BACK PORCH for the night and finishes cooking it the next day. Believe it or not no one has died yet.

Here it says that there were only 160 confirmed deaths from food poisoning over 10 years in the US, excluding over a hundred cases in Alaska involving uncooked fermented fish and seal oil:

http://www.eatallaboutit.com/2009/07/17/how-safe-is-home-canning/


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

Wow!

Are you sterilizing all your instruments  as well? Are you making sure your fruit is clean?

Using a sterilized canning funnel to pour hot jam into jars, is more sanitary than wiping spillage off of the rim, even if your cloth is as sterile as it can get.

Before I can, I sanitize every surface that I may touch, throughout the course of preparation. This is beyond just normal cleaning of surfaces.


triciamarie
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Joined: Jul 28 2006

I do use a funnel, I sterilize all equipment and wash the fruit -- maybe not well enough I guess? How are you supposed to do it? It might just come down to a really remarkable lack of manual dexterity on my part. My sealers never really pop hard no matter what I do. I think the jar might already be too cold by the time I get the jam in, even though I'm doing one at a time. Or maybe with all the spillage, my rims aren't clean enough or something. Anyway, I just add lemon to the jam, keep it in the cold room and try to use it up fast. I still end up tossing about one in five jars though for not looking just quite right.


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

Hmmm, weird, I wash my fruit twice, if I am keeping the skins on, or in. All equipment should be sterlized for at least 3 minutes in hard boiling water. We are just finishing off our jam from last summer, and it looks like it was just processed.


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

It's really neat to have Emerie come in like that.

If I was doing jam, particularly since I've never done it, I'd follow instructions to the letter.

One thing I'm curious about though, is whether using hydrogen peroxide is perhaps a better way of sterilizing jars and stuff.  I note that on the show "How It's Made" one company uses hydrogen Peroxide to sterilize jars.  However, they didn't mention if it's the same percentage solution one finds at the drug store.

I  will confess to using Hydrogen Peroxide for jars, but it's for food stuffs that are stored for a short time in the fridge.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

First of all do not be offended by what is below. It is meant to be constructive.

You are just doing something really wrong if you have problems with jam and spoilage. All you need is a friend to give you a few basic pointers.

The Jam is generally so hot when you pour it that it kills almost anything. I wash out and then preheat my jars up to about 230f in the oven. After the jars come out of the oven, the jam goes straight in before they cool down.  And how can you get the rims messy if you use a funnel? I use a pot with a little curved rim so there is no ladle involved. If you use a metal funnel you can pop that in the oven at 230 too. Oven mits are your friend. Cleaning cloth is full of germs, if you use it, you are likely transferring bugs to your rims.

You add lemon AFTER you pour it!  If so there is the problem. You are adding lemon and spoilage bugs at the same time. 

Putting jam in a boiling waterbath is totaly unnecessary.  I have been a decade in Canada and I have not got a single issue with spoilage on jam and I make a lot of jam. (Full sugar jam).

Brian.

triciamarie wrote:

I do use a funnel, I sterilize all equipment and wash the fruit -- maybe not well enough I guess? How are you supposed to do it? It might just come down to a really remarkable lack of manual dexterity on my part. My sealers never really pop hard no matter what I do. I think the jar might already be too cold by the time I get the jam in, even though I'm doing one at a time. Or maybe with all the spillage, my rims aren't clean enough or something. Anyway, I just add lemon to the jam, keep it in the cold room and try to use it up fast. I still end up tossing about one in five jars though for not looking just quite right.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

It is neat that he came along. But remember that they are in the business of selling jars and lids. Thats why they try to hook you on the waterbath bs for making jam.  You can make perfectly good jam in reused bought jam jars.  I did it for years.  The water bath and pressure canning are awesome for canning meat, fish, and veg. Bernardin do a great job there with great instructions

But its all a a waste of time and energy for jam.

By the way, the bernardin pectin just seems to set up a bit slower than the certo. It seems to have about the same set after 2 days.

brian

Tommy_Paine wrote:

It's really neat to have Emerie come in like that.

If I was doing jam, particularly since I've never done it, I'd follow instructions to the letter.

One thing I'm curious about though, is whether using hydrogen peroxide is perhaps a better way of sterilizing jars and stuff.  I note that on the show "How It's Made" one company uses hydrogen Peroxide to sterilize jars.  However, they didn't mention if it's the same percentage solution one finds at the drug store.

I  will confess to using Hydrogen Peroxide for jars, but it's for food stuffs that are stored for a short time in the fridge.


triciamarie
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Joined: Jul 28 2006

No offence taken whatsoever, Brian, I know it's bizarre. I add lemon with the berries so it gets boiled too. As for spillage, well, it's a remarkable accomplishment that I do regularly manage to do it even using a funnel. Laughing

BTW It's not only Bernardin that suggests water-bath processing for fruit products. All of the university extension services as well as the US Centre for Disease Control make this recommendation. Typically with these paternalistic public health advisories though, they don't give you the underlying science to allow for a truly informed assessment of the relative risk. From a lay perspective the acid should make fruit products inhospitable for botulism, and mould is less likely with the sugar, more easily identified when it does occur, and shouldn't cause acute illness in any event. So what really is the risk, for high-acid high-sugar products?

I found this article that suggests that an adequate seal can be formed without heat-processing (ie inverting the full jars, usually) but not as reliably, and the seal is not as good as when you water-process. Mould can still occur in jams, for example from spores in the air in the head space. Some of these moulds may not be as harmless as previously thought; they might be carcinogenic. Foods with a looser vacuum seal are also not as shelf-stable long term, and might change colour, flavour or texture sooner. This is the problem I am having with my jam and I don't know if it means it is unsafe, I'm throwing it out just to be sure.

http://www.fcs.uga.edu/ext/pubs/fdns/FDNS-E-37-1.pdf

I read elsewhere that oven air doesn't heat foods through as uniformly as by boiling. Surely though it should still be more than adequate for jam. If the only real risk is the potential of a possible carcinogen, and that only in contaminated jars, you'd have to be eating an awful lot of spoiled jam for it to have any effect.


skeiseid
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Joined: Jun 6 2007

A parafin wax seal eliminates the air space. We've always used wax for jam.


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

"Oven canning is extremely dangerous as the heat from a dry oven may not dirstribute the heat evently, and the jars can explode.  This is called themal shoc, please check your facts.   Certo manufactures pectin and not jars, we are the leaders in the making of jars for over 100 years  and we have the experience and knowledge behind us. "

But doesn't this jive with what we know about glass?  The kind of stresses that can be built into a piece of glass can't allways be seen with the naked eye, and tempering (are run of the mill jars even tempered?)  may not allways relieve all the stresses from the manufacturing process. 

I'm as suspicious as they come; and I do note that packaging and product instructions of many things-- shampoo, laundry soap, the list can go on and on, is purposefully designed to encourage the user to use more than what's really needed.

However, I relate to the fact that I participate in making a product that if used or installed incorrectly can not just hurt people, but kill.  And when it comes to safety, the idea of using safety as an excuse to sell a couple extra parts, and create a few minutes of work for myself just doesn't enter into it.

I'd be inclined to take Emrie's advice at face value.

 


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

Before I started winemaking, about 30 years ago,  my mum used sometimes to get mold on jam (in reused jars from bought jam). After I started winemaking that ended because we used camden tablets (wine steralizer)  in water to steralize the lids. Before that, When she got mold, she skinned it off and the jam underneath was just fine.  The mold only grows until it uses up the air.    But that is irrelevent now because it has not happened in many years. 

All those organizations are just covering their asses. And maybe this is just the wasteful wedge they need to keep home jam making small and keep us buying crappy commercial jam.

  Nobody gets sick from rotten jam.   And people are spending a whole bunch of extra time and wasteing a whole bunch of energy on a totally needless extra step in the jam making process.

It is stupid.


triciamarie
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Joined: Jul 28 2006

Vehicles can seriously hurt or kill people. So can low-acid canned food, because in the right set of circumstances, that airless environment allows for the growth and development of a specific bacterium with lethal toxins: botulism. Personally I want nothing whatsoever to do with botulism, which is truly a nasty exposure causing respiratory failure, and it is for that reason that I will not eat eg. stew and soup, or even vegetables -- low-acid foods -- which may have been improperly canned.

But can jam kill people? Jam is acidic, which prevents the proliferation of botulism. This is the same chemical process we rely on in eating honey, which contains botulism spores. Honey can kill infants under one year old because their little digestive systems are less acidic, allowing the neurotoxins to develop internally. Adults and older children have to eat the toxins to get sick.

Other bacteria do grow in acidic environments but they are not generally harmful in small quantities. We eat lots of bacteria as it is, and for anyone with a reasonably robust immune system, it doesn't cause any problems. As for mould, the sugar in the jam inhibits mould growth but might not entirely prevent it. Mould has been linked to cancer. Again, we eat small quantities of mould all the time. It's probably best to avoid it, but the risk of contracting cancer from a few mould spores in the occasional jar of jam has got to be pretty well zero -- certainly much less than for example, the risks of eating meat cooked over high temperatures.

People in charge of promoting public health naturally want to put out the safest, most idiot-proof recommendations. To me, that detracts from my willingness to automatically defer to them. I want to know what the recommendations are based on, and if those circumstances don't apply to me, or if the risk is negligible, and particularly if there is a downside to following the recommendations (like the "pain in the arse" and deterrence factors noted here), that will influence my decision.

I guess some people might say that's arrogant.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/FOOD_IS_ART_II/food_history_and_facts/jam_... is a way of making jam without a water bath. The advice is to invert the jar of hot jam for a few seconds to steralize the lid.  I have not done it  this way and would not recommend it because the lids nowadays  contains rubber and God knows what. (It is probably just fine but I am a skaredy cat too, it must be designed to withstand the jam temperature)

If you are not well off, and have no steralizing equipment, it is probably a go. Perhaps some babblers could try the 3 different methods and see which jam goes "rotten" and which jam is most cost effective?

Brian


triciamarie
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Joined: Jul 28 2006

It's interesting to me to note that the total incidence of food poisoning has actually gone up over recent years, directly correlated to our increased consumption of raw food -- the most common cause of outbreaks.

That puts the moral campaigners on the horns of a dilemma. Fresh vegetables are more virtuous. But by failing to cook them, we risk exposure to nasty bugs like e.coli.

As for re-washing that already pre-washed bag of spinach, evidently there are two problems. One, the contents of the bag are quite likely more sterile than our kitchens. Two, even if there were some e.coli on the edge of a leaf, washing would not remove it but could distribute it around the rest of the produce, sickening more members of our family than if we had not taken the trouble.

Quote:
Public health experts admit they are uncertain how much warning they should give the public about vegetables since there is often little people can do to protect themselves. Meat usually becomes safe if properly cooked. But systemically contaminated lettuce frequently remains a threat no matter how much it is washed.

"This is a question of educational strategy that hasn't been worked out yet," said Ewen Todd, director of the Food Safety Policy Center at Michigan State University. "Do we want to discourage people from eating fresh fruits and vegetables? Of course not. But we haven't worked out exactly what our message should be."

I do note that the numbers in this article are quite a bit higher than those alluded to in the eatallaboutit blog I linked to above. I guess those numbers were only referring to deaths from canned food. This article shows how much more of a risk we take from other kinds of food -- raw fruits and vegetables in almost equal proportion to improperly cooked or stored meat.

http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-06/12-17-06/01perspective.htm


triciamarie
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Joined: Jul 28 2006

Brian, the lining of metal canning lids does contain BPA, the hormone disrupting chemical that has received so much attention lately particularly for its effects on children.

Commercial jar lids also contain this chemical, including those used on baby food.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/07/is-there-bpa-in-your-home-cannin...


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