It’s the question that sparks debate everywhere… Should you store jam in the fridge or cupboard?
For years, jam lovers have argued their reasons for storing the delicious condiment in the cupboard or the fridge. Some say, it depends on the climate you live in, while others argue that it all boils down to how the jam is made.
So, is one option really better than the other?
Well, we asked New Idea's food expert, Barbara Northwood, to solve the mystery for us.
‘Jam is made with fruit, sugar, pectin and acid. Fruit provides colour and flavour, sugar helps gel formation, flavour and inhibits bacteria, while pectin and acid also provide thickening and gel formation,’ she reveals.
‘Refrigerating jam, both commercial and homemade, inhibits molds from growing.’
But, is this different for commercial jam compared to homemade jam?
‘Once opened, I always store commercial and homemade jam in the fridge,’ says Barbara.
‘The problem with homemade jam, whether from a friend, a farmers market or fete stall, is that you don’t know how it’s been made!’
She reveals that problems with Jam can arise when:
- Not enough sugar has been added as sugar acts as a preservative.
- Condensation from water on the inside of the lid drips back onto surface of freshly bottled jam. Bacteria can easily grow if not stored correctly.
- Dirty knives or spoons are dipped in the jam jar and used to spread it onto toast or bread.
But, before you start worrying about your jam, Barbara has revealed her best tips for keeping jam fresh:
- When using jam for breakfast, transfer some into a separate bowl. After using, refrigerate any leftovers, covered, and use within two days.
- When measuring jam to use in cooking, always use a clean, dry spoon!
- If jam should crystallise, discard the sugary part. Place jar in the microwave. Heat on HIGH (100%) for 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer to a clean jam and use in marinades, to make caramelized onions, glaze vegetables and sweet sauces to serve over ice-cream.
- Lastly, remember when tasting a new or favourite jam, don’t double-dip the spoon!
So there you have it, the long standing mystery has been solved!