Choosing the correct pot to cook jam or jelly is extremely important whether you only make it occasionally or as a serious hobbyist. I have been making jelly all of my life and will help you find the perfect pot.
To help you out, I came up with 8 key features that any pot used to cook preserves should have.
A good jam or jelly-making pot must:
- Be non-reactive
- Conduct heat well
- Have low sides
- Be wider than tall
- Be easy to pour
- Have high capacity
- Be non-stick
- Clean up easily
Based on these requirements, here are my recommendations:
The 8 Key Features of a Good Jelly or Jam-Making Pot
Here are some further details on what makes a good pot.
1. The Pot Must Be Non-Reactive
Fruit products such as jam, jelly, and preserves have a high acid content.
When you cook food with high acid levels in aluminum or cast iron pots, those metals react with the acid and allow a metallic flavor to leach into the food. Copper is the only exception to that rule.
2. A Pot Must Conduct Heat Well
Pots that have a thin bottom do not conduct heat well, creating “hot spots” that can cause your jam to burn more easily.
But, pots with a heavy bottom conduct heat well and allow the ingredients to come to a full rolling boil more quickly without allowing time for an excessive amount of liquid to evaporate which could result in a jam with a dry consistency.
3. Good Pots Have Low Sides
A pot with low sides allows the proper amount of condensation during the boiling process.
4. The Best Pots Are Wider Than Tall
A pot with more surface on the bottom allows the ingredients to come to a full rolling boil more quickly and allows the jam or jelly to cook properly.
5. A Pot Must Be Easy to Pour from
A pot with handles and possibly a pour spout make it easier to pour the finished product into the jars.
Of course, some people do not pour, they use a ladle to scoop and pour. But, there have to be good handles on the pot that allow easy handling during the entire process.
6. Capacity Must Be Maximized
The pot you use must be large enough to allow the ingredients to come to a full rolling boil without boiling over and causing a huge mess on your stovetop and maybe even your kitchen floor.
7. A Good Pot Must Be Non-Stick
A pot that has a heavy bottom will conduct the heat throughout the entire pot and allow your fruit and other ingredients to cook well without sticking.
8. Good Pots Clean up Easily
Most pots that are made of good heavy material will cook properly without sticking and will clean up more easily than pots made from a thin material.
All the pots recommended in this post have all the required attributes for cooking up perfect jams and jellies.
Best Stainless Jam-Making Pot
This stainless steel pot (click the link to see the Amazon listing) is the absolute best I’ve ever seen and is perfect for making any jam, jelly, preserves, or any kind of home-canned foods.
Best Copper Jam-Making Pot
If copper pots are your thing, here is a hand-made Copper Jam Pot made by Mauviel that should fill the bill.
Cooking Pots For The Budget Conscious
Many jam and jelly makers have a fully-stocked kitchen with everything they need to prepare everything that they cook. Even though they would like to have this excellent pot for making their homemade fruit products, as would I, the price of that wonderful pan might not fit into their budget.
For those people, I would recommend two options:
- Option One: There is a less expensive version of my recommended pot, which is much more budget-friendly. It has everything the other one does save for a lid. But it does have a feature that the more expensive pot doesn’t have, which is the graduated measuring markings on the inside in liters and pints.
- Option Two: Use the Dutch oven you probably already have as long as it is made from a non-reactive material such as stainless steel, copper, or coated cast iron. Either one will serve you well when making your jam, jelly, and preserves.
Since I bought a set of lifetime stainless steel cookware when I was just out of high school, I’ve always used the Dutch oven from that set for making jam and jelly and have never used anything else.
My mother was a jelly maker and I occasionally helped her as a youngster, but started making jelly on my own when my children were small and I wanted to give them a healthy start in life by feeding them as much homemade food as I possibly could.
I’ve been making jelly, jam, and preserves for approximately 45 years and find that I’m perfectly satisfied using as a jelly pot the Dutch oven that I bought in 1965 as part of a set of Saladmaster lifetime stainless steel cookware. It has served me well!
But, in the last few years, as I’ve become the “official jelly maker” in the family and have started my own small jelly business, I’ve been thinking about buying a dedicated jelly pot such as the one mentioned above. Who knows? Maybe soon! I’m adding it to my bucket list!
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
Why can’t I use an aluminum or cast iron pot to make jelly? Aluminum and cast iron are two metals that are reactive to highly acidic foods such as jam, jelly, and preserves. When those foods are cooked in aluminum or cast iron pots, a chemical reaction between the metal and the acidic foods causes an unpleasant metallic taste in your final product.
Do you put lids on jam while still hot? In order to seal jam properly, the lids must be put on while they are still hot. In fact, it’s best to put them in a boiling water bath for around 15 minutes. This seals the jars and makes the jam keep longer.
Can you put hot jam in the fridge? You should not put hot jam jars immediately into the refrigerator as they may not seal properly. It’s better to wait at least 10 minutes before putting them in.
For more, don’t miss The Essential List of Jam and Jelly-Making Tools.
Also check out: What Do I Need to Make Jam or Jelly? | Complete Checklist.
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