Greetings Everyone – Developing new variations of jam and jelly is an important way to maintain and grow your food business. This blog is dedicated to that end.
Some tools that will give you a greater chance of success.
- Gram/ounce/pound scales.
- pH meter
Your recipes will always be more consistent when weighing all of your ingredients.
The main focus of this blog will center around standard sugar(SS = standard sugar) jams and jellies. These are recipes that contain sugar equal to or greater in weight than fruit.
Terms to know
Brix – Brix is the total measurement of soluble solids in the recipe.
Soluble Solids – Is the natural sugar and acid content of a particular fruit. Mostly sugar.
pH – Is specifically the total acidity of any particular fruit or ingredient.
All SS recipes will need to maintain a brix of 65 and a pH of 3.2 or somewhere close to these numbers to gel properly. Let’s calculate brix. I will explain via mock recipe. After we determine what ingredients will be used, we need to determine the average brix and pH of each ingredient. See our website for brix and pH charts. If you have an ingredient that is not listed, than you will need to use the internet. Always try to confirm readings from more than one source. For ease of calculation and understanding we will use 100 oz. as the total mock recipe weight. We will determine the weight of each ingredients calculating brix. It is not possible to calculate pH.
Red Raspberry Pepper Jelly/Jam
Red Raspberry – Brix = 10.5 – pH 3.10 (average)
Green Bell Pepper – Brix = 6 – pH 5.5 (average)
Cider Vinegar – Brix = 10 – pH 3.1 (average)
Sugar – Brix = 100 – pH 7
SSP (standard sugar pectin) – Brix 100
24 oz. Red Raspberry @ 10.5 brix = 2.52 oz. brix weight
10 oz. Green Bell Pepper @ 6 brix = .6 oz. ” ”
10 oz. Cider Vinegar @ 10 brix = 1 oz. ” ”
54 oz. Sugar @ 100 brix = 54 oz. ” ”
2 oz. SSP @ 100 brix = 2 oz. ” ”
100 ounces total weight 60.12 ounces total brix weight
100 divided by 60.12 gives us a starting brix of 60.12
Evaporation through the cooking process will get us close to our desired 65 brix.
Each individual ingredient brix was determined by multiplying the weight times the brix value. Example 24 x .105 = 2.52
In this recipe 75% of the ingredients other than sugar are significantly under 3.4 pH and will compensate for the pH of the bell peppers. Therefore no additional acid is needed.
FYI – When multiplying a percentage you must move the decimal point two places to the left.
How to determine if you need to add additional acid like citric acid or lemon juice. If your fruit and other ingredients has an average pH of 3.4 or lower, no additional acid is needed. If your fruit ect. has an average pH above 3.4 you will need to add acid. Due to the fact that we cannot calculate pH, experience and common sense come into play. As your fruit pH increases above 3.4 so must the amount of acid. first I would recommend using citric acid rather than lemon juice fir two reasons. First, citric acid will not add a distinct flavor. Second, citric acid is more cost effective than lemon juice. You may need to cook 2 or three sample batches to achieve your desired pH. You can also email me with your project and I can help you get close.
Do not be afraid to try new variations. Twenty years ago very few people knew what pepper jelly was. Now, pepper jelly variations dominate the gourmet jelly category and are the center staple of many successful businesses.