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Certo: Frequently Asked Questions
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Certo: Frequently Asked Questions

What is pectin? Why do we need/use pectin?
Pectin is a natural jelling substance found in all fruits. Certo Pectin is extracted from citrus fruits. By adding pectin, you shorten the cooking time, resulting in a fresher fruit flavour and colour.

Can you interchange liquid pectin with crystals?
Different types of Certo Pectin products are not interchangeable. Each Certo Pectin product has its own unique recipes, using different proportions of ingredients, designed to give consistent results.

Insert recipes, remake directions and tips are available for the following Certo products :

How do you know which pectin to use?
Use the pectin product specified in your recipe. There are other jam making products on the market. Some contain pectin; others use gum to make their jams. Some have one standard recipe for all fruits that may not deliver consistent results with all types of fruit. Certo recipes cannot be used with any of these other products or vice versa.

Isn't jam making complicated, time consuming?
It's really easier than you may think, especially no-cook jams that can be made in less than 30 minutes and with no sterilizing required.

I remember my grandmother melting paraffin wax and pouring it on the jam - do you still have to do this?
This is no longer recommended since mould can grow underneath the wax. It is difficult to ensure an airtight seal.

Is sterilizing still recommended?
It's important to sterilize jars, lids and filling utensils for cooked jams to prevent mould. For no-cook jams, simply wash jars and lids or plastic containers with hot soapy water, rinse and fill. The freezer storage prevents mould spoilage.

How do you sterilize the jars?
Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water and rinse well; set bands aside. Sterilize jars by placing on a rack in a hot water canner; cover jars with at least 1-inch of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer at least 1 minute. Keep warm until filling time. Meanwhile, heat lids in hot (not boiling) water for 5 min. Remove jars from water and fill as directed. 

Do you need to process/boil the jars in a hot water bath once the jam is finished?
Yes. All jams and jellies stored at room temperature should be processed for 5 minutes in a hot water canner to prevent the growth of mould.

How do I process jams and jellies foods in a hot water canner?
Prepare recipe as directed, skimming off any foam. Using non-metallic ladle, transfer hot mixture into a sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Stir to remove any air bubbles, adjusting headspace, if necessary. Wipe rim of jar with clean damp towel. Apply warmed lids and screw on bands just until fingertip tight. Place jars on rack in canner. Cover with at least 1 inch water. Cover and bring to full rolling boil. Boil 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Uncover. Once water is still, let jars stand in canner for 5 min. Lift up rack. Using canning tongs, transfer to cooling rack. Let stand, undisturbed for 24 hours. At altitudes above 1000 ft., increase processing time to 10 min. At altitudes above 6000 ft., increase to 15 min.

How do I ensure I have the jar sealed properly?
After the jam or jelly has cooled, a jar is properly sealed if the lid is curved down and remains so when pressed. This may take up to 24 hours.

What is the difference between jam and jelly?
Jellies are made from the fruit juice squeezed from the fruit. Jams are made from crushed or cut-up fruit, which break up during cooking. Jams are thick but not as firm as jellies.

If I don't want to make my jam now, can I freeze my fruit and make it later?
Yes. No need to add sugar, but ascorbic acid is required before freezing for peaches and apricots to prevent browning. To individually freeze, place washed, peeled, and sectioned fruit on a tray and place in freezer until frozen (4 to 6 hours), then package. To use for jam, thaw, (do not drain) and measure as for fresh fruit.

What is the best way to measure my ingredients?
For the best results in jam making, measuring accurately is essential. It's very important that prepared fruit be measured in a liquid glass-measuring cup and checked at eye level to ensure accuracy. Sugar, however, must be measured in a dry measuring cup. Spoon sugar into cup, and then level off with a knife.

Can I reduce the sugar in my jams?
No. Sugar does a lot more than just sweeten your jams. Its main function is to work with the pectin and fruit acids to form the gel structure we call jam. Sugar acts as a preservative that helps maintain the beautiful colour of the fruit and inhibits mould growth. If you prefer a less sweet jam, try using Certo Light Pectin Crystals - for jams with less sugar and more fruit. Fruit mixtures without sugar are called "spreads". Certo Light Pectin Crystals offers no sugar added recipes as well as the low sugar recipes. No sugar recipes are included in packages of Certo Light Pectin Crystals.

For our Certo Light Insert recipes, remake directions and tips click here. alt

Can I use honey to replace sugar in my jam recipe?
Yes, you can substitute honey for part of the sugar in a jam recipe. Replace no more than 1/4 of the sugar with honey because it can overpower the delicate fruit flavour and too much will produce a very soft set.

Can I double a recipe?
No, we don't recommend this for several reasons. It's easy to make a mistake in measurement and also difficult to get a full rolling boil with large batches of jam. Your pot must be only half full.

Why does my jam have floating fruit at the top?
Floating fruit may occur for a number of reasons but it usually indicates the recipe is out of balance. This results in a slow set time that allows the fruit to separate from the jelly part of the mixture. An imbalance may be caused by:

  • Low sugar, i.e. full amount was not used, so solids level in the gel is low.
  • Low acid. This could be from fruit that was too ripe or bottled lemon juice might be old or a measuring mistake was made.
  • Using Certo Pectin, which is passed or close to expiry date.
  • Improper crushing or chopping of fruit. If the fruit pieces are too large or the fruit is puréed, it will float. If you want whole or large fruit pieces, make "preserves" instead of jam. Preserves have a slightly different method & contain whole or sliced fruit. There is no remedy if fruit has been puréed.
  • Cooked jam is not held at a rolling boil for the full minute. Re-cooking the jam for another short boil may help. This could happen if the saucepan was too small for the amount of jam and in danger of boiling over or if the burner was not hot enough to maintain the boil.

Our Certo Hotline number is still the same 1-800-268-6038, but the hours have been extended for better service across Canada. From June to September you can call for more recipes or helpful information Monday - Friday, 9am to 9pm and Saturday, 9am-2pm Eastern Standard Time.


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