Storing Home-Canned Jams and Jellies
How long can I keep my homemade jams and jellies on the shelf?
For best quality, it is recommended that all home-canned foods be used within a year. Most homemade jams and jellies that use a tested recipe, and have been processed in a canner for the recommended time, should retain the best quality and flavor for up to that one year recommended time.
All home-canned foods should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, between 50-70°F. Overextended periods of time, however, changes in color, flavor, texture and nutrient content of home-canned jams and jellies are inevitable.
A typical full-sugar fruit jam or jelly should be safe to eat if the jar seal remains intact and the product shows no visible signs of spoilage from molds or yeasts.
It is always a good practice to carefully examine all home-canned jars of food for signs of spoilage prior to opening and eating. If there is any mold on a jar of jam or jelly or signs of other spoilage, discard the entire contents of the jar or container.
How long can I keep my homemade jams and jellies once I open them?
Opened home-canned jams and jellies should be kept in the refrigerator at 40°F or lower. “Regular” – or pectin-added, full-sugar – cooked jams and jellies are best stored for 1 month in the refrigerator after opening. They may last longer depending on the specific product and how it is used.
The expected shelf life will be shortened by keeping the container frequently open and/or out at room temperature for long periods of time during use. At each use, you can spoon out the quantity of jam or jelly that you may require into a bowl, and replace the jar in the refrigerator quickly – this would ensure minimum exposure to sources of microbial contamination during use.
Do examine the container regularly during storage for any signs of spoilage like molds, yeasts and off-odors (including a fermented, “yeasty’,” or “alcohol” odor), once it is opened. Discard the entire contents of the container if these are detected.
Making Jams and Jellies
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