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Selling Homemade Jams, Jellies, Preserves and Fruit Butters in Washington State (Cottage Foods)

Jams, Jellies, Preserves and Fruit Butters - Washington State Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

 Under the cottage food law, there are certain types of low risk food products , such as many jams and jellies, that may be produced and sold out of your home kitchen with no inspection or licensing requirements. Products sold with the "Cottage Food Permit" must be considered "low risk" and can only be sold directly to the end consumer at places such as farmers markets, farm stands and seasonal events (e.g., harvest festivals) or through CSAs.

Standardized jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butters are allowed. However, the Cottage Food Operation Permit specifies that they must be made with low risk recipes, with sugar and only certain types of fruit.

Definitions:

  • Cottage Food Operations  or CFO is defined as "a person who produces cottage food products only in the home kitchen of that person's primary domestic residence in Washington and only for sale directly to the consumer."
  •  Cottage Food Products In Washington, "cottage food products" are "non-potentially hazardous baked goods, jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butters as well as other identified non-potentially hazardous products." In general, non-potentially hazardous foods do not need to be refrigerated to prevent bacterial growth that can make people sick.
  • "Home Kitchen" is a "kitchen primarily intended for use by the residets of a home. It may contain one or more stoves or ovens, which may be a double oven, designed for residential use."
  • "Domestic residence" is a "single-family dwelling or an area within a rental unit where a single person or family actually resides. A domestic residence does not include: (a) A group or communal residential setting within any type of structure; or (b) An outbuilding, shed, barn, or other similar structure."
  • Potentially Hazardous Foods are those "requiring temperature control for safety because they are capable of supporting the rapid growth of pathogenic or toxigenic microorganisms, or the growth and toxin production of Clostridium botulinum."

Allowed Fruits

Fruit Butter:

  •  Apple, Apricot, Grape, Peach, Pear, Plum, Prune.

Fruit Jams & Other Preserves:

  •  Group I:
    Blackberry (other than dewberry), Black raspberry,
    Blueberry, Boysenberry, Cherry, Crabapple, Dewberry (other than
    boysenberry, loganberry, and youngberry) Elderberry, Grape,
    Grapefruit, Huckleberry, Loganberry, Orange, Pineapple, Raspberry,
    Red Raspberry, Rhubarb, Strawberry, Tangerine, Tomato,
    Youngberry
  •  Group II:
    Apricot, Cranberry, Damson Plum, Fig, Gooseberry,
    Greengage Plum, Guava, Nectarine, Peach, Pear, Plum (other than
    Greengage Plum and Damson Plum), Quince, Red Currant, Currant
    (other than black currant)

Fruit Jelly:

  • Apple, Apricot, Blackberry, Black Raspberry, Boysenberry, Cherry, Crabapple, Cranberry, Currant (other than black currant), Damson Plum, Dewberry, Fig, Gooseberry, Grape, Grapefruit, Greengage Plum, Guava, Loganberry, Orange, Peach, Pineapple, Plum, Pomegranate, Prickly Pear, Quince, Raspberry, Red Raspberry, Red Currant, Strawberry, Youngberry.

Sugar Requirements:

Sugar is not just a flavoring but also has preservative and safety properties, so there are state requirements for sugar content:

  • Fruit Butter: : ".shall contain not less than 5 parts by weight of the fruit ingredient. to each 2 parts by weight of the (sugar) ingredient." This roughly equals 0.4 lbs of sugar to 1 lb of fruit.
  • Fruit Jams and other Preserves: "Group 1 fruits must have 47 parts by weight of the fruit ingredients to each 55 parts by weight of the (sugar) ingredient; and in all other cases, 45 parts by weight of the fruit ingredients to each 55 parts by weight of the (sugar) ingredient." This roughly equals to 1.17 lbs of sugar to 1 lb of fruit for Group 1 fruits and 1.2 lbs of sugar to 1 lb of fruit for all other cases.
  • Fruit Jelly: ".shall contain not less than 45 parts by weight of the fruit juice ingredient. to each 55 parts by weight of the (sugar) ingredient." This roughly equals 1.2 lbs of sugar to 1 lb of fruit.

Allowed Optional Ingredients

Besides the basic recipe of

  • fruit,
  • sugar,
  • lemon juice and
  • pectin,

the following ingredients are permitted:

  • Spices - Only the dried, ground form of spices are allowed (no fresh sliced peppers)
  • Buffering Agents
  • Preservatives
  • Antifoaming Agents (Except those derived from animal fats, ie: butter. )

Labeling requirements

Products that are produced and sold with the Cottage Food Operation Permit must include the following information on their labels. See the examples of bad and good labels at right.

  • Name of Cottage Food Operation.
  • Physical address of Cottage Food Operation.
  • Product name.
  • Ingredient list, including a break down to the smallest sub-ingredients.
  • Identification of any allergens (e.g., wheat, eggs, peanuts, soybeans, tree nuts, fish, and crustacean shellfish).
  • Weight or volume in U.S. measures.
  • The statement: "Made in a home kitchen that has not been subject to standard inspection criteria."

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?

Cottage Food Products can only be sold directly to the end consumer at places such as farmers markets, farm stands and seasonal events (e.g., harvest festivals) or through CSAs.

They may not be sold across state lines.  In other words,  only be sold within the state. Internet sales must be picked up or delivered in person within Washington State. Cottage food products may not be shipped. For example, a cottage food operator can sell their cottage food products online and accept payment online, but pick-up must occur at either the cottage food operator's home OR the cottage food operator may deliver to the end consumer.

Other requirements

  • Application Form: The fee is $230 (2020 cost) whether it is for a first time application (click here for the application and more information) It is a big form and may take a minute to load.  If you see a "404 error": the link is broken, please write me and I'll find the new copy for you - The, um, how can I put this politely?  um, web designer TWITS at the state of Washington, change the url every time the change the form - instead of using a modicum of intelligence and simply replacing the form at the existing address or redirecting the old url to the new....  Pardon me for venting, but the web people at the state are truly ... frustrating for making it difficult for people to get to their forms by constantly changing the address, and thus breaking links to it. 
    Here's a saved copy of the form dated: April 2020
  • Cottage food operations may sell up to $25,000 of their cottage food products each year with the Cottage Food Operations Permit.
  • All cottage food products sold must be sold directly to the end consumer by the permitted Cottage Food Operator. Under the Cottage Food Operations Permit, Cottage food products cannot be sold to restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, bakeries, or wholesale to any other business.

Overview of the process

To help with the application process:( This page currently has the complete step-by-step process.)

Step 1:
Before you Apply
Step 2:
Completing your Application
Step 3:
After you Apply
Are my products allowable under the Cottage Food Rules?
Items that are not allowed
• What do I need to do before I apply?
• Floor Plan
• Packaging
• Labeling
• Equipment
• Cleaning & Sanitation
• Processing Dates & Sales Plan
• Child & Pet Management
• Review of your application
and inspecting the
Cottage Food Operation

More resources:

Questions? Contact Information:

Please contact the WSDA Food Safety Program at


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Above is the
2020 version of
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