Gloves for making jam?
June 26, 2010 8:24 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest high gloves to wear while making jam to avoid burns?

My wife makes jam every summer: her strawberry-rhubarb is probably the best, but triple-berry is good, raspberry is third, and I alone love the blueberry. (Sixty jars put up already this summer!) She needs some kind of high gloves to wear while she stirs the pot of boiling berry-napalm in order not to get burned when it bubbles. Does anyone have any suggestions?

She's tried heavy quilted oven mitts but they get all messy -- and they only protect a little way up her wrist. She bought a pair of long, green, leather gardening gloves but the leather was so thin that they were useless. (Looked badass, though.)

Last night things came to a head when she dropped a partially-full jar and got her arms covered with cooling raspberry jam. (Only mild burns, which today have faded to pink marks. I think she'll be fine, thanks for asking.) She's learned her lesson, and is now wondering if there are any really high gloves available -- "really high" like up to the top of her arms -- which I think is a bit to high, but it's her hide.

Any suggestions or personal experience would be gratefully accepted.
posted by wenestvedt to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe get a pair of True Blues? I use these for dishes and household chores because I can't wear latex gloves. Whole Foods sells them, and Cost Plus as well (if you have either store near you. Very durable yet allows for dexterity.
posted by bolognius maximus at 8:28 PM on June 26, 2010

As a fellow canner, I have used Nitrile gloves before - they're the same elbow-lenght gloves that people use in professional kitchens when washing dishes, so they're heat resist up to a ridiculous temperature. I bought my pair at a kitchen supply warehouse for about $20, but I found this case of 12 online with a quick search. They're extremely flexible and allow for tensile strength and resistance while providing heat resistance up-to-the-elbow! Oh, hey, just one of them!
posted by banannafish at 8:32 PM on June 26, 2010

Welding gloves! Alton Brown uses 'em. Check places like Grainger, McMaster, Northern Tool, and so on.

How about these? Kevlar, to elbow, black and industrial-looking.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:33 PM on June 26, 2010

Hmmm, I like nitrile gloves myself -- they're dandy for changing the oil in the car, too! -- and hadn't thought of that. I wonder if they're high enough, though. She's not too tall, so I bet they'd go farther up her arms than most people's.

Banannafish, do you find that they are sufficiently heatproof when one of those blobs of thousand-degree jam lands on them? This might be a very good lead!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:36 PM on June 26, 2010

This might sound a bit obvious but, why doesn't she wear long sleeves? Heavy duty cotton would do a good job of protecting from spills and something button up (along the lines of a lab coat) can be easily peeled off if there's a spill. Then gloves similar to the ones bolognuis maximus mentioned can be pulled over the top of the end of the sleeves for complete coverage. Maybe I'm biased because I work in a lab and wear a lab coat all day anyway, but gloves to the top of the arms are going to slide down and get in the way and be just as hot as putting a coat on. Either way she'd probably want cotton lining or similar to avoid hot rubber against her skin.

I also stopped getting burned making jam when I realised it works just the same if the berries aren't boiling hard out so that they jump and spit. Turn the heat down and cook them a bit longer if you like them really mushy. And I burn myself doing everything, even ironing.
posted by shelleycat at 8:39 PM on June 26, 2010

Actually, those nitrile gloves would be perfect over even just elbow length sleeves if she's really worried about getting too hot.
posted by shelleycat at 8:41 PM on June 26, 2010

I have a heavy suede oven mitt that I love, but it won't come up high enough on her arms. I was going to recommend welding gloves, too.

On a completely different tack, I've been reducing my fruit butters in my slow cooker, because I HATE HATE HATE cleaning splattered fruit off kitchen surfaces.
posted by desuetude at 8:43 PM on June 26, 2010

If the gloves are too short, you can pick up knit kevlar sleeves from glass blowing suppliers for about ten bucks.
posted by stefanie at 8:46 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

How far are you willing to go? Those are some pretty serious gloves, right there.
posted by KathrynT at 8:53 PM on June 26, 2010

wenestvedt, yes, they do work well for combatting the mind-blowingly hot berry bombs as I call them. I actually just jarred 25 blueberry preserves today and the gloves protected my arms, since blueberries are my main culprit of torture.

They insulate from heat extremely well, but the biggest benefit is being able to function at the same level of dexterity that I have without the gloves, whereas I've tried using suede oven mitts and silicon hand-pads which have all results in burns on my legs, from when I drop the jars.
posted by banannafish at 8:57 PM on June 26, 2010

Leather welding sleeves? Another length.

You can also get leather welding jackets, or something that's basically an upper-body apron: sleeves attached to a long bib thing covering your chest, but not your back.
posted by galadriel at 9:16 PM on June 26, 2010 also has nitrile arm sleeves that you can combine with regular gloves for full protection. The advantage there is that since they have elastic cuffs they can be a little bit baggier than just really long gloves, so that would keep the heat away from the skin a little more.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:20 PM on June 26, 2010

Use a long, long wooden spoon instead of wearing gloves.
And a real candy thermometer, not one of those dial things.
It clips onto the side of the kettle, and keeps your forearms
out of the napalm zone.

I'm waitin' for the apricots. Not long now.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:40 PM on June 26, 2010

Seconding the long, long spoon. Your local restaurant supply store should have one that seems absurdly long.

Would it be possible to keep a sinkful of cold water on hand? That way, if she does get splattered, she could plunge her hand and arm into the water and cool the jam very quickly.
posted by sculpin at 10:59 PM on June 26, 2010

I use Nomex gloves for holding hot things, including making my jams.

Do not get Nomex gloves wet (e.g. steam or running tap) whilst holding hot things or you can be very badly burned.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:10 AM on June 27, 2010

I'm agreeing with the long spoon comments. Also a massive preserving pan that's rarely more than half full (my mum's is about a nine/ten litre capacity) - the high sides mean that splatter splats into the sides, not out onto you.

Also, turn the heat down! You want a gentle, rolling boil for jams that shouldn't cause major splatter anyway. I've never got splatter making raspberry jam (can't speak for the others, not made them).

In terms of dropping a cooling jar - this is easy. Don't pick them up until they're cool! Fill them on a worksurface/board, once they're filled push them to the back of the surface.

Really what I'm saying is to think why the burn happened in the first place - I think they can be stopped through changing the work process, rather than wearing gloves.
posted by Coobeastie at 3:33 AM on June 27, 2010

(Dang! Long response disappeared on preview!)

OK, thanks for all the good replies!

Coobeastie, the splash happened because she help the jar just a couple of inches above the counter.

We never tried a lower temperature: we use the recipe on the Sure-Jell package insert and it's always worked well enough. *shrug* We'll hit the books now, though. (RealDan, our recipe calls for bringing the berries to a boil Do more-detailed recipes call for a specific temperature?)

For all those half-kidding suggestions of kevlar and leather, that's probably what she wanted in the first rush of post-burn shock. Those welding sleeves look a little too steampunk for her, I think.

Blazecock Pileon, regarding the wet nomex: "Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon."

Long sleeves are a good idea. I think the winner is going to be a box of nitrile gloves. (Are they heaving than the tissue-thin "examination gloves" I use for messy house repairs?)

I do appreciate everyone's suggestions, and I will point my dear wife to this thread for her consideration. I would like to give each of you a jar of our homemade jam in gratitude, know, the Post Office and everything... I'll just eat one myself and think of you all fondly, OK?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:52 AM on June 27, 2010

sculpin, I actually doused her arms with our Brita pitcher full of cold, clean water because the sink water was still running hot from washing all the jars & rings & lids & whatnot. In the future I think I'll keep that pitcher on the kitchen table: it probably spared us a trip to the ER.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:55 AM on June 27, 2010

I never follow any kind of recipe for my jam, I just add sugar to taste and cook it until dropping a bit on a cold saucer sets (I also add pectin once the fruit is mostly cooked). You don't need a specific temperature or even really careful measuring or whatever (and I'm a scientist, I normally measure everything carefully). It's easy enough to have the jam boiling without it being so hard out that it spits and jumps just ... turn it down a bit so the mixture turns over more slowly.

I would also strongly recommend she doesn't wear gloves that come with a warning not to get them wet when they're hot, that's not even remotely suitable for this purpose and is just asking for trouble. The nitrile ones linked were heat resistant, which is what she wants, and also loose enough to be easily peeled off if something goes wrong. Nitrile or kevlar sleeves would be a great idea but I find even just wearing a light cardigan is enough to stop the few splatters that still occur (I don't wear gloves as my jam isn't spitting and I fill the jars in place using a gravy ladle and jam funnel, the glass doesn't even get touched until it has cooled for several hours).
posted by shelleycat at 2:32 PM on June 27, 2010

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