Foam in Home Jam Making - What It Is and What To Do About It!

This month's notes: July 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples will start in late July. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!

Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!

Bookmark and Share Subscribe to our: Email alerts Follow us on Twitter  Add this page to your favorites! - Email this page to a friend, or to yourself


What To Do About the Foam on Your Jam!

Your are happily making jam, following the direction in a book or box of pectin... until it says "skim the foam, or add 1 teaspoon of butter to prevent foaming".  Foam?  Foaming?  What is it?  Does your jam have rabies?

Nope, the foam is just the result of bubbles from the boiling jam coming up through the viscous jam.  Just like a child blowing bubbles, the boiling jam produces bubbles.

Why remove it?

Well, it just doesn't taste very good.  It doesn't taste bad, but it is not the consistency most people like in jam. It certainly won't hurt you, though. It might somewhat shorten the storage life of the jam. According to Janet Hackert, Nutrition Specialist, Northwest Region at the University of Missouri Extension:

Foam contains a lot of air. In canning, the jars are not filled to the top of the jar. This gap between the lid and the food is called head space and it gives the canned food room to “breathe.” The food can expand during processing and form a vacuum as the jar cools. Foam in a jar of jam increases the head space. According to the Food Safety Information Service, this is not a problem if the jam is stored in a cool place and is eaten relatively soon. The extra head space does increase the chance of the jam molding after prolonged storage though.

What can I do about the foam

Besides making a B-grade horror movies with it, You can either prevent it or remove it.

Prevent it

1 teaspoon of butter, margarine or vegetable oil, added before you heat the mixture will almost eliminate it. On the downside, some food scientists worry that the small amount of butter could cause the batch to spoil sooner. I suspect this particular group of scientists probably still live at home...

Remove it

When I forget to add the butter (about 50% of the time), I just wait till I remove the jam from the heat, let it sit for a minute or two and then skim the foam off with a ladle.

I save the foam in a microwavable container.  See below for why!

 

 

What can I do with the foam?

When I am done making jam for the day, I usually have about 1 cup of congealed foam.  Looks a lot like a healthy lung.  That's not very appealing to most people, so....

Just pop it into a microwave for 30 to 60 seconds or so on high.  Be sure to watch it the entire time, or it may boil over.  You want to get it hot again and to boil up a bit.

 

 

 

 Once you remove it and it cools, it will look, act and taste like regular jam again!  Rather than attempting to put this back into a batch for canning, this is the jam I stick in the fridge to use fresh!

 

 

 

 

Blake's Easy and Illustrated Jam and Ice Cream Directions

I've got some other pages for specific types of jam, too:

Jams and jellies:

Ice Cream, Gelato and Sorbets with your own fruit

 

Ball home canning kit water bath canner

Home Canning Kits

Features:

  • Everything you need to get started with waterbath canning (fruits,pickles, jams, jellies, salsa, sauces and tomatoes)
  • 21-1/2 qt. enamel water bath canner
  • Funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble freer spatula
  • Ball Blue Book

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!

Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Usually ships in 1-2 business days

Canning books

Canning & Preserving for Dummies
by Karen Ward
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Usually ships in 24 hours

Click here for more information, reviews, prices on Amazon.com for Canning and Preserving For Dummies




The Ball Blue Book of Preserving

This is THE book on canning! My grandmother used this book when I was a child. It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc. If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)

Click here for more information from Amazon.com about the
Ball Blue Book of Preserving



Summary - Typical Cost of Making Homemade Jam - makes 8 jars, 8 oz each**

Item Quantity Cost in 2006 Source Subtotal
Berries (strawberries) 1 gallon $8.00/gallon Pick your own $8.00
Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings 18 jars $7.00/dozen Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $10.00
Sugar 4 cups $2.00 Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $2.00
Pectin (low sugar, dry) 1 and a third boxes * $2.00 per box Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $2.70
Total $22.70 total
or about $1.25 per jar
* pectin use varies - blackberry jam needs very little, raspberry a little more, strawberry the most.

** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars and reduce the cost further; just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!

Can't find the equipment? We ship to all 50 states!

Use our Feedback form!

FAQs - Answers to Common Questions

 


This page was updated on

Picking Tips

[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!]  [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]

Home Canning Kits

Features:

Ball Enamel Waterbath Canner, Including Chrome-Plated Rack and 4-Piece Utensil Set

* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!