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If I'm making Homemade Jams/Preserves, how long will they last?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Use within a year" is a good guideline. There are exceptions. Lingonberry jam done right is easily good for a couple of years.

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All home-canned food should be used within a year. This assumes you follow the strict sterilization regimen required by jarring/canning at home. You should also store them in a cool, dark, dry place between 50-70°F.

Over time changes in color, flavor, and texture is inevitable. This will result in a degradation of quality in the product, but as long as the seal is in tact and there are no visible signs of mold or yeast the jam should be safe to eat.

Another thing to note is that lighter colored jams tend to darken faster than others and thus may not look appealing over the course of a full year. They are still "safe" though.


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I just wanted to clarify that the year is the expected shelf life. As you said- if the seal is intact then the food is safe regardless of the age. I've had home bottled (high acid) jellies stay good for 3-4 years. They might have gone longer but they were finally eaten. – Sobachatina Aug 24 '10 at 15:04

The Good Eats jam episode suggests 2-3 weeks if you don't actually preserve the jam in a home-canning kind of way and about a year if you do.

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Yes good point for the non-canned shelf life. I assumed they would be canned. – hobodave Jul 28 '10 at 17:31
That episode also recommended that after canning, to remove the ring on the jar, so you'd have a more obvious sign if something had gone wrong with the canning process. – Joe Jul 28 '10 at 17:55
@Joe So that's why to remove the ring. I've really wondered what that was all about. Tx. – JustRightMenus Aug 16 '10 at 19:08

There's also freezer jams, which can easily last a few years in a deep-freeze without losing much quality. They're well sealed, so there's little moisture loss / freezer burn, there's little loss of quality aside from the initial freezing, and you don't have to worry about mold or other organism growing in the freezer.

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