The home-made jam expiration date mystery
September 23, 2009 5:45 AM   Subscribe

I could sell some very small-scale home-made jam. How can I know what will be the expiration date be ?

Since I discovered that jam is not exactly the most complicated recipe out there (one part fruit, one part sugar) I started doing some for my own usage.

Through a sell-your-garden-stuff website about to open I could sell some of my production to people in my area.

It looks like the jams sold in supermarket have an expiration date set two years after they are manufactured.

How can I know what in the cooking process will decide when the expiration date of my home-made jame will be ?

Right now I'm applying boiling water to the pots before putting the jam in it. I suspect there may be more radical way of ensuring an expiration as far away as possible.

standard disclaimer : english is not my mother tongue.
posted by Baud to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
that sounds like a great idea, but you might want to check your local laws, at least in the US.

i know that where i am, a friend could not sell her homemade products of any kind because she had cats in the house. i think there are slightly different allowances made for bake sales and chili cookoffs.

but you might want to check anyways - better than getting a fine bigger than what all your jam would have made you.
posted by sio42 at 5:50 AM on September 23, 2009

boiling the jars (and their lids!) in water for 10 minutes should give an expiration date of a year (or at least this was true in the US state of Ohio). Theoretically, if there's enough sugar in the jam, they should last forever, because there isn't enough water for the nasty molds and bacteria to be able to grow (there's too much sugar in it for them to be able to filter out).

Good luck!
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:44 AM on September 23, 2009

Don't mark an expiration date. Mark the date when it was made.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:00 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

Even neglecting food saftey concerns (not that you would), home-canned jam begins to oxidize and discolour after about a year. Needless to say, the flavour also deteriorates as well. A year is the pitch-point for most home-made jams and jellys.
posted by bonehead at 7:11 AM on September 23, 2009

With enough sugar in your jams and jellies they will hold for a very long time. I once ate 5 year old jelly that my grandma made. It still tasted like grape jelly. However for selling purposes I would put down 1 year as an expiration date.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:39 AM on September 23, 2009

I agree with Chocolate Pickle -- put the date it was made and don't put an expiry date. An expiry date could be quite wrong, whatever you put. When we've made jam some has lasted for years, and other jars have gone off quite fast (in a few weeks). It didn't seem predictable, as the process was the same for all our jars.
posted by anadem at 8:25 AM on September 23, 2009

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