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  • FIRST POST
    super41
    Mouldy jam!
    • #1
    • 5th Nov 06, 10:00 PM
    Mouldy jam! 5th Nov 06 at 10:00 PM
    In September my OH made some blackberry & apple jam (free apples and foraged berries of course!) and it was delicious. It's been stored in our pantry since. He opened a jar today and it had quite a lot of mould growing on it. On checking the other jars they appear to be the same. I am assuming he boiled it for long enough so the jam should be ok. He sterilised the jars and screwtop lids by steeping them in Milton and then drying them out in a hot oven. The jam was covered with a disc of greaseproof paper. I noticed that the jars do not appear to be filled to the top though OH assures me he filled them almost full. Could the jam have 'shrunk' or perhaps he just didn't fill them enough and the gap has caused the problem? Could storage conditions have caused mould?

    He's very disappointed and I don't want this setback to put him off OS!

    Any ideas on what's gone wrong? Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.
Page 1
  • doddsy
    • #2
    • 5th Nov 06, 10:07 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Nov 06, 10:07 PM
    Super, when you put the lids on it should be when either a) straight away while the jam is still boiling hot or b) when completely cold. Done in between the top of the jam can go mouldy. However, it is only mouldy on the top where the oxygen is, so when this happens to mine occasionally I just scoop off the top, underneath is fine - honestly!

    regards
    doddsy
    We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
    – Marian Wright Edelman
  • Pandora123
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 06, 10:38 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 06, 10:38 PM
    Did your OH cut down on the amount of sugar called for in the recipe? If so, that could be the problem, since the sugar acts as a preservative. Jam made with less sugar needs to be stored in the fridge and consumed within a few weeks, or frozen for longer storage.
    I want to move to theory. Everything works in theory.
  • super41
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 06, 10:41 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 06, 10:41 PM
    Did your OH cut down on the amount of sugar called for in the recipe? If so, that could be the problem, since the sugar acts as a preservative. Jam made with less sugar needs to be stored in the fridge and consumed within a few weeks, or frozen for longer storage.
    by Pandora123
    He followed a recipe closely (so he says!) and so I'd need to look at that. He now seems a bit vague about how full he filled the jars and I'm wondering if that's the problem - surely jam can't 'shrink' can it?!
  • Pandora123
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 06, 11:12 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 06, 11:12 PM
    He followed a recipe closely (so he says!) and so I'd need to look at that. He now seems a bit vague about how full he filled the jars and I'm wondering if that's the problem - surely jam can't 'shrink' can it?!
    by super41
    I don't make a lot of jam, but I wouldn't think it could shrink in the jar, at least not to any noticeable extent.

    This is from a preserving book I have by Marguerite Patten:

    Why do jams form mould on top?
    * The fruit was picked on a wet day and was damp.
    * Too little sugar was used when making the preserve.
    * Too short a boiling time, so the completed preserve lacked the right proportion of sugar through too great a yield.
    * The preserve was stored in a damp place.
    * The jars were inadequately covered.
    * Too large an air space was left in the jars at the top of the preserve. The smaller the airspace, the less possibility of mould forming.

    AND:

    Covering the preserves
    Place the wax circles from packs of jam pot covers on the hot preserve immediately after it is spooned into the jars. These form a seal. If you are able to put the final transparent covers or lids over the preserve immediately after putting on the waxed circles then do so. This makes a good seal and the jar will be virtually airtight. If you have to delay this stage because you are filling a number of jars it is better to wait until the preserve has become absolutely cold before adding the transparent covers or the lids. It is wrong to cover half-warm preserves; these are likely to produce a certain amount of condensation in the jar.

    Filling the jars
    Fill to within 3 to 6mm (1/8 to 1/4 inch) from the top of each jar. This is very important for the less air space there is in the jars the better the preserve will keep.

    [Pandora here] If the jam has not formed an airtight seal, then when you press down on the centre of the lid it will "click" and pop back when you let go. If the seal is airtight, on the other hand, when you press down on the lid there will be no "give"; also when you open the jars they will likely emit a satisfying popping sound, which is the airtight seal breaking.

    Also from the same preserving book:

    Can one safely eat preserves that have gone mouldy or fermented?
    * If there is just a thin layer of mould on top of the preserve, remove this completely. Taste the preserve and if there is no unpleasant flavour then it can be eaten. Use as soon as possible.

    * If the mould permeates through the preserve then it is inedible. Fermented preserves taste far too unpleasant to eat.

    super41, if I were you, I'd scrape the mould off all the jam, taste it to make sure it's okay, then freeze the jam in the jars. When you thaw a jar for using, keep it in the fridge. When I made jam this summer, I halved the amount of sugar and then froze all of it. It's fine when frozen and thawed.

    Tell your OH not to get discouraged... it's all a learning curve and he'll be able to correct his mistakes next time!

    I want to move to theory. Everything works in theory.
  • Queenie
    • #6
    • 6th Nov 06, 7:39 AM
    • #6
    • 6th Nov 06, 7:39 AM
    Ditto Pandora's advice, but with one teeny addition ...

    ... Filling the jars
    Fill to within 3 to 6mm (1/8 to 1/4 inch) from the top of each jar. This is very important for the less air space there is in the jars the better the preserve will keep.
    ......
    super41, if I were you, I'd scrape the mould off all the jam, taste it to make sure it's okay, then freeze the jam in the jars. When you thaw a jar for using, keep it in the fridge. When I made jam this summer, I halved the amount of sugar and then froze all of it. It's fine when frozen and thawed.
    by Pandora123
    If you go down the freezing route, do make sure you leave enough of a gap at the top to allow for expansion caused by freezing!!

    Give your dh a well earned pat-on-the-back for his endeavours Most of us have learned *through* our mistakes, not by never making any
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PMS Pot: £57.53 Pigsback Pot: £23.00
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • mrs baggins
    • By mrs baggins 6th Nov 06, 7:51 AM
    • 1,262 Posts
    • 640 Thanks
    mrs baggins
    • #7
    • 6th Nov 06, 7:51 AM
    • #7
    • 6th Nov 06, 7:51 AM
    I must admit also to scooping the mouldy bits off and eating the rest! God I am such a house slut!
    • crawley_girl
    • By crawley_girl 6th Nov 06, 8:58 AM
    • 1,996 Posts
    • 3,151 Thanks
    crawley_girl
    • #8
    • 6th Nov 06, 8:58 AM
    • #8
    • 6th Nov 06, 8:58 AM
    I must admit also to scooping the mouldy bits off and eating the rest! God I am such a house slut!
    by mrs baggins
    Ditto that!

    CG
    Ever wonder about those people who spend £2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward.
  • Pandora123
    • #9
    • 6th Nov 06, 11:45 AM
    • #9
    • 6th Nov 06, 11:45 AM
    Ditto Pandora's advice, but with one teeny addition ...

    If you go down the freezing route, do make sure you leave enough of a gap at the top to allow for expansion caused by freezing!!
    by Queenie
    Thanks, Queenie, I forgot to mention that!
    I want to move to theory. Everything works in theory.
  • super41
    Thanks to you all for your replies. I think the gap has been the problem. I'll suggest to OH he tries freezing the rest. Glad to hear you can eat the jam under the mould as he has already done that!
  • MATH
    Bleurggh!!! Never scrape off the mould and use the rest of the jar, although the rest looks ok the invisible mould spores will have contaminated the whole jar - bin it.
    Life's a beach! Take your shoes off and feel the sand between your toes.
  • larfido
    Be Careful
    I must admit also to scooping the mouldy bits off and eating the rest! God I am such a house slut!
    by mrs baggins
    Some moulds are known to be carcinogenic - don't know about the mould(s) that grow in jam but why take the risk?
    • maryb
    • By maryb 6th Nov 06, 10:12 PM
    • 2,882 Posts
    • 33,522 Thanks
    maryb
    I was also going to say the mould spores go deeper than you think. However I just take the top inch off and still eat the rest.

    Half a century or so later I'm still here.

    However the next person to stick a buttery knife into a full jam jar in my house may not live so long
  • doddsy

    However the next person to stick a buttery knife into a full jam jar in my house may not live so long
    by maryb
    Ditto - one of my pet hates, along with toast crumbs in the butter.
    We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
    – Marian Wright Edelman
    • Mamabear
    • By Mamabear 6th Nov 06, 11:32 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 195 Thanks
    Mamabear
    Ditto - one of my pet hates, along with toast crumbs in the butter.
    by doddsy
    Oooh you must know my outlaws... and a granule or 2 of instant coffee in the sugar (grrrr use the sugar spoon for the sugar and the coffee spoon... Oh well, I suppose that would take a little forethought and planning )
    Peek-a-boo
  • chardonnay
    sorry to hear about the jam, i would be devastated if it happened to me after all the effort it seems to take. hope it doesn't put him off
    married to the man of my dreams! 9-08-09
    • needaspirin
    • By needaspirin 7th Nov 06, 12:37 AM
    • 1,124 Posts
    • 1,648 Thanks
    needaspirin
    It takes me forever to use up a jar of jam and was always having to rmove the mould from the top of an almost full jar, so each time I use some I now put the jar (minus the lid) in the microwave and zap it until it just begins to bubble. I take it out with a cloth because its very hot and put the lid straight back on. I have never since had a jar go mouldy even when its almost empty.
    • Chipps
    • By Chipps 7th Nov 06, 8:23 AM
    • 1,543 Posts
    • 4,802 Thanks
    Chipps
    Yes, it does sound like there was air in the jars - "almost full" is not full enough!

    And I confess to being another one who scrapes the mould off & eats the rest! Unless the mould has gone down into the jar, such as when a jar is half empty & then been forgotten. Then it goes! But a fresh jar with just the top layer mouldy is fine.
    Mind you, if it's strawberry jam it doesn't settle long enough in this house for a mould spore to find it!
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