How Long Does It Take For Jelly to Set? (And What Did You Do Wrong)

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Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

Jelly is a simple dessert, but it’s still a little bit difficult to make. Although the process of making it begins relatively easy, doubts start to nag after the jelly has been sitting in the fridge for around 2 hours and still hasn’t set.

You begin to ask yourself questions such as: Did you make a mistake? Is the temperature of the fridge too high? Is the jelly mixture spoiled?

Your doubt and stress are made worse when guests arrive expecting to eat the famous jelly you’ve been raving about for weeks.

Do not worry! You can learn all things jelly in this article.

How long does jelly take to set?

The standard jelly sets in the fridge at 5°C for between 3 and 4 hours. Now, keep in mind that this depends on the temperature of your fridge, and how much jelly you make. But this is generally how long it takes.

It is a good idea to make your jelly the night before, so you can avoid having your stress levels escalate. Furthermore, this will give your jelly enough time to set up, and allow you to achieve the desired texture.

How long does jelly take to set in the fridge?

The jelly sets in the fridge for approximately 3 to 4 hours, as mentioned before.

How long does jelly take to set in the freezer?

The freezer can be your best option if you’re in a hurry and need to speed up setting your jelly. The time it takes for it to set in the freezer is usually half the time. Therefore, instead of 3 to 4 hours in the fridge, jelly placed in the freezer will set in between 1 to 2 hours. Now, again, this will depend on the temperature of your freezer, and how much jelly is being made. But it is generally between 1 and 2 hours.

Once your jelly is in the freezer, make sure you check it regularly. It can freeze if it is left in the freezer for too long. It changes its structure, and causes it to crystalize.

How does jelly set?

The science behind jelly-making is not complicated. There are three main chemical components that make jelly stick together: sugar, acids, and pectin.

Pectin makes it jelly

Pectin, the first component of jelly-making, is found most often in fruits. It is released during the boiling phase. After being released, the pectin chains will bond to each other and form a gel network. Then, this gel network is achieved when the setting point is reached, and this is around 104°C. When the gel network has formed and the jelly begins to cool, the pectin chains trap excess water within the network. This allows the jelly to set.

Add Sugar

Next, the jelly’s sugar component draws water to itself to help the pectin create its gel network. This reduces the pectin’s ability to stay in its separate chains and encourages the formation of the network.

The last component of the triumvirate of the ability of jelly to set is acid. Acids such as citric acid, which is commonly found in fruits, balance the negative charges on the pectin molecules. This also, just like sugar, promotes the formation of the gel network and creates a consistent setting.

How do you speed up so that your jelly sets faster?

These are some tips and tricks to help you speed up setting jelly:

  1. Place your jelly in the coolest part of your refrigerator. This is typically located at the back of the fridge’s bottom shelf.
  2. You can also use an ice bath to quickly cool your jelly when it is done cooking. Place a good amount of ice cubes in a large bowl, then add cold water. Allow the jelly mold to cool in the ice bath. But remove the jelly mold from the ice bath before all of the ice cubes melt completely. Repeat this process as necessary.
  3. Another option is to put your jelly molds in the refrigerator. This will allow the mold to cool down and speed up the setting process.
  4. Make your jellies with smaller molds.
  5. You may use your freezer to reduce the time it takes to set the jelly.

What slows down the setting of jelly?

Jelly setting can be slowed down by a few things, and adding alcohol is one of the most common. This slows down the entire process of jelly setting considerably, so it’s a good idea to prepare your alcoholic jelly earlier.

Moreover, the enzymes in fresh pineapples affect the jelly’s setting time. These enzymes can actually reduce the amount of pectin in your jelly and slow down the formation of the gel network that allows the jelly to set.

6 Main Reasons Why Your Jelly Didn’t Set

  1. The jelly was not cooked long enough to reach the setting temperature. Jelly sets at around 104°C, so boil the mixture again and cook for approximately 1 to 2 more minutes.
  2. It was not completely cool. Make your jelly as soon as possible to allow it to cool entirely.
  3. The jelly is overcooked. This causes the pectin chains to break down and prevent the gel network from being formed.
  4. The recipe was not followed. Making jelly is science. Jelly will not set if you don’t adhere to the correct ratios of ingredients.
  5. Pectin has gone bad. It is possible that your jelly won’t set if you use old pectin that was not stored properly.
  6. You added too much water to the mixture. However, you can add more pectin to balance it out.

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