State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600630
Crystals throughout jelly or jam may be caused by:
-Too much sugar in the jelly mixture.
-Cooking the mixture too long or too slowly. (Long slow
cooking results in too much evaporation of water).
-Cooking the mixture too little. (When sucrose is
boiled in acid fruit juice to make jelly, some of it
is "inverted", or broken down, to dextrose (glucose)
and levulose (fructose). Sugar would probably
crystallize from most jellies if it weren't partially
inverted during the cooking process. Too little
cooking results in insufficient sucrose inversion.
This is rarely a problem in jellies made without
pectin since they require fairly long cooking. How-
ever, sugar may crystallize from jelly made with
added pectin because the boiling time-one minute- is
too short to bring about much inversion.
Crystals that form at the top of jelly that has been
opened and allowed to stand are caused by evaporation of
Needle-like crystals in grape jelly may be tartaric
acid, the natural substance in grapes from which cream of
tartar is made. To prevent formation of tartrate crystals
in the jelly, let extracted grape juice stand in a cool
place (refrigerator) overnight, then strain through two
thicknesses of damp cheesecloth to remove crystals.