My Sloe and apple jam didn't set.

Post recipes and methods here for jams and preserves made with sloes. This section is non-alcoholic.

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Joined: 02 Oct 2009, 14:04

My Sloe and apple jam didn't set.

Post by jafatherheart » 19 Oct 2009, 13:00

i Hope someone can help me on this one, i have a field with lots of sloes all around.

I tried using your recipe on the site for the sloe and apple jam but it did not work for me, just could not get it to set.
I cooked the seperated sloes and apples in two pressure coookers for about ten minutes and then hung them in muslim cloth for 8 hours and put the juice of both in a container.
It made 15 pints in all as i used a lot of sloes and apples. I took out one pint and cooked that as you mentioned and it worked but when i took the other 14 pints and added 14ib sugar it just would not set.
I have to add that i did not use lemon as i forgot and thought that as it looks similiar to a plum then it would have lots of pectin in it already
Was it just down to making it without lemon or concentrated lemon juice or was i trying to do too much at once?
Any ideas as i really want to have another go before the sloe go.

Posts: 48
Joined: 21 Sep 2009, 00:50

Re: My Sloe and apple jam didn't set.

Post by avjones » 17 Nov 2009, 23:11

How odd - mine's always set with great enthusiasm.

Could you add a bit of lemon juice now?


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Joined: 11 Sep 2009, 14:34

Re: My Sloe and apple jam didn't set.

Post by USgorilla » 24 Nov 2009, 00:09

Hi Chris,

I am not sure if I have an answer for you, but I can definitely point you to some places where you may have gone wrong.

First, if you are used to cooking and adapting recipes on the fly, you will need to get out of this mindset for jam/jelly making. These both fall more into the "kitchen chemistry" realm where the "formula" is very important. Changes will effect your gel.

You made quite a few minor changes to the recipe, any of which could have been the culprit.

I'll start with the change you were aware of, the lack of lemon. Jelly needs pectin to gel, and pectin needs acid (among other things) to gel. The recipe called for both lemon juice, likely for the acid, and lemon peel, added flavor, but it is also very high in pectin. Leaving both out definitely changes the liquids ability to gel.

The recipe also called for the lemon juice to be added to the sloes while cooking. The acid at this point will draw out more of the pectin. (and you were correct, sloes are fairly high pectin)

Another change was the use of a pressure cooker instead of simmering. This change may have effected the pectin content of the liquid. Your cooking method was at much higher temperature, and had no water loss. Pectin breaks down at high temperatures, and looses some of its ability to gel. I could not find an exact temperature for this, but a more dilute liquid would definitely have resulted from this pressure cooking.

You also mentioned that your first, single batch, gelled. Most jelly recipes/sites tell you batch size matters. Changing it will effect gelling. (I have not found a really good explanation for why.)

Those seem to be the things most likely to have kept your jelly from setting up. I am adding this last one just to cover all bases, despite the fact that your reference to the plumbs leads me to think you have made jelly before. The sloe/apple recipe rather vaguely states "boil until setting point is reached." Has any recipe you have used explained how to do this? If not, another possibility is that you may not have boiled the jelly long enough.

Sorry to be so long winded, but its just so hard to know. Ripe vs. unripe of the same fruit changes pectin content, so even following the simplest recipe/formula, things can go wrong. Don't let this scare you off. Just remember that long before any of the science was understood families were preserving summers bounty as jam. There are lots of "fixes" for runny jelly. If you kept your sloe/apple syrup, and don't want to use it as such, there are ways to fix it so that it gels.

Give the recipe another go (if you have not already) and see what happens if you follow it closely. That alone may be enough.

Hope this was helpful (and not too late),

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Joined: 30 Aug 2010, 17:20

Re: My Sloe and apple jam didn't set.

Post by arc1886 » 30 Aug 2010, 19:09

My wife and I have recently become Sloe Gin makers. We have also just made Apple and Blackberry Jelly for the first time.

We did some research and found the Apple and Sloe Jelly recipe. I notice it says to simmer the apples and sloes seperately.

We have only 1 straining bag at the moment. So is it possible to simmer both of them together and strain at the same time?

It works fine for the Apples and Blackberries.

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Joined: 12 Sep 2010, 11:20

Re: My Sloe and apple jam didn't set.

Post by gaia » 12 Sep 2010, 13:53

arc1886, yes you definitely can simmer them both together. I did this year and the result was a well-set rose-hued jelly with a delicate flavour.

As for jam/jelly not setting, it's probably just down to trying to do too much at once. It is better to stick to smaller quantities. I reckon on 7lb being my upper limit for jam to set. What size pan do you have that will hold 14pints plus 14lb sugar!?!?!

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