I tried making raspberry jam and packed it in jars, hot and canned. when I opened it for use, the top layer has a good jam-like consistency and texture but when further layers are scooped out they have a more spreadable consistency. it's been long since I used other home made and store bought jams. Could anyone let me know whether this is normal or am I doing something wrong?

The same was the case when I packed the cooled down jam and used it at a later point of time (both refrigerated version and non-refrigerated version).

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    When you say "good jam-like" and "spreadable" what's the difference? What do you expect your jam to be like?
    – Chris H
    Oct 17, 2018 at 6:59
  • By Jam like consistency i meant a bit thicker or stiff when taken in a spoon out of the jar. By spreadable consistency I meant a bit looser but not very syrupy. Oct 17, 2018 at 14:24
  • That's interesting because it's almost the opposite of what I thought you meant. Do you use a jam thermometer or a saucer test? How much do you stir when filling the jars (ladle? pour directly?)
    – Chris H
    Oct 17, 2018 at 14:35
  • Am new to this and still learning. So my terms mayb different :). I use a candy thermometer to check the temp (once sugar is dissolved I keep the flame at mod to high and wait for it to reach 104.5 deg Celsius. Usually this takes 20-30 mins for me). I stir it slightly before filling. Yesterday I did 3 jars. 1 of which I poured directly the other 2 I used ladle - 2 jars I canned and the 3rd I waited for it to cool down before lidding. All three had the same consistency (i opened all 3 today more than 24hrs from canning/ packing. The top layer was thick and the mid and bottom a bit less thicker) Oct 18, 2018 at 15:22

2 Answers 2


I've found when hot-packing jam into jars that have just come out of the oven at 160°C, the jam that is in contact with the glass keeps cooking and thickens. You can tell because it sizzles as it goes in, despite being over 100°C when poured (I use a jam thermometer so can be fairly sure). Letting it cool then packing for rapid consumption always leads to thick jam for me, as it carries on cooking while the rest is packed. But this tends to be the last bits that aren't worth packing properly, so gives me an early taste test portion, if a poor indication of texture.

Letting the jars cool a little would reduce this, in fact if I take several jars out of the oven in one go then fill them the sizzling is reduced by the last jar.

After hot packing into sterilised jars you don't (according to the UK food standards agency) need to carry out a further step, so I don't. Even pressure canning would have a limited effect on the water content of the jam overall, but bay cause some further cooking against the glass. Simply boiling the jars (as advised in old books for preserves with lower sugar content) should have no effect, as the jam was already hotter than that.


You may have a variant of 'fruit float' which is usually caused by pouring the jam into jars when it is too hot, and not yet viscous enough to prevent less-dense ingredients from rising. Let the jam rest, off the heat, for 5-10 minutes, and fold gently so as not to introduce too many bubbles, before pouring. You can see when the fruit/pulp/rind is reluctant to rise.

One other thing, in case you haven't reached a setting point - the wrinkle-test is more reliable than a thermometer - temperature is not the only factor. I used to put old saucers in the freezer ready to come out for that purpose. If, while you do that, you note what the drips from a favorite wooden spoon look like when the wrinkle is achieved, in the end, experience will let you rely on that look alone. The drips start to coalesce, and take on a squarish profile before releasing.

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    Thanks will try in today's batches. As for the setting point - At times even when the temperature reaches 105°C, my jams fail wrinkle test (especially in less sugar and honey versions) - so I worry about crystallization and remove from heat. They set almost similar to the ones that pass wrinkle test. Does the jam really crystallize if it goes beyond 105°C (I am reluctant to experiment that since one of my marmalade crystallized though it was just removed at the right temperature) Oct 19, 2018 at 3:57

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