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Publication #FCS8323

Making Jelly Without Added Pectin 1

United States Department of Agriculture, Extension Service2

Use only firm fruits naturally high in pectin. Select a mixture of about 3/4 ripe and 1/4 under-ripe fruit. Do not use commercially canned or frozen fruit juices. Their pectin content is too low. Wash all fruits thoroughly before cooking. Crush soft fruits or berries; cut firmer fruits into small pieces. Using the peels and cores adds pectin to the juice during cooking. Add water to fruits that require it, as listed in the table of ingredients below. Put fruit and water in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Then simmer according to the times below until fruit is soft, while stirring to prevent scorching. One pound of fruit should yield at least 1 cup of clear juice. Table 1 recommends process times for jelly without pectin made in a boiling water canner.

Extracting Juices and Making Jelly

When fruit is tender, strain through a colander, then strain through a double layer of cheesecloth or a jelly bag. Allow juice to drip through, using a stand or colander to hold the bag. Pressing or squeezing the bag or cloth will cause cloudy jelly.

Using no more than 6 to 8 cups of extracted fruit juice at a time, measure fruit juice, sugar, and lemon juice according to the ingredients in the table and heat to boiling. Table 2 provides instructions and proportions for extracting juice from jelly fruits. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Boil over high heat to the jellying point. To test jelly for doneness, use one of the following methods.

Temperature test: Use a jelly or candy thermometer and boil until mixture reaches the following temperatures at the altitudes in Table 3.

Sheet or spoon test: Dip a cool metal spoon into the boiling jelly mixture. Raise the spoon about 12 inches above the pan (out of steam). Turn the spoon so the liquid runs off the side. The jelly is done when the syrup forms two drops that flow together and sheet or hang off the edge of the spoon.

Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Fill sterile jars with jelly. For more information see "Jars and Lids," (FCS 8255). Use a measuring cup or ladle the jelly through a wide-mouthed funnel, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.


Table 1. 

Recommended process time for jelly without added pectin in a boiling water canner.


Process Time at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

0 - 1,000 ft

1,001 - 6,000 ft

Above 6,000 ft


Half-pints or pints

5 min



*After the process is complete, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait five minutes before removing jars.

Table 2. 

To extract juice.


Cups of Water to be Added per Pound of Fruit

Minutes to Simmer Fruit before Extracting Juice

Ingredients Added to Each Cup of Strained Juice

Yield from 4 Cups of Juice (Half-pints)

Sugar (Cups)

Lemon Juice (Tsp)



20 to 25


1-1/2 (opt)

4 to 5


None or 1/4

5 to 10

3/4 to 1


7 to 8

Crab Apples


20 to 25



4 to 5


None or 1/4

5 to 10

3/4 to 1


8 to 9



15 to 20



8 to 9

Table 3. 

Temperature test.


1,000 ft

2,000 ft

3,000 ft

4,000 ft

5,000 ft

6,000 ft

7,000 ft

8,000 ft

220° F

218° F

216° F

214° F

212° F

211° F

209° F

207° F

205° F



This document is Fact Sheet FCS 8323, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Publication date May 2003. Revised August 2005. Reviewed January 2014. This document was extracted from the Complete Guide to Home Canning, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA. Please visit the EDIS website at


Reviewed for use in Florida by Amy Simonne, assistant professor, Food Safety and Quality, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.