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Fruit Floating in Jams: Why Fruit Pieces Float and What to Do, in Strawberry and Other Jams!

Fruit, Floating in Jams and Jellies

Floating fruit Homemade jam and jelly is one of the easiest foods you can "can" at home, but even so, fruiting float, especially in strawberry jam, is a common problem;

Floating: Why does fruit float in jam?

Floating fruit is actually fairly normal, and just indicates the difference in density between the liquid phase (the syrup) and the pieces of fruit, which contain tiny entrained air bubbles and liquid which may also differ in density. So, before the jars cool and the gel forms, the pieces of fruit float to the top of the jar. This happens more commonly in strawberry jam, than other jams.

If your jam cools and has jelled with the fruit  separated, when you open the jars, just stir the pulp and juice back together.  The jars are stir absolutely safe to store and eat!

There are other, but less common reasons for fruit float: The fruit

  • was not fully ripe,
  • was not thoroughly crushed or ground,
  • was not cooked long enough, or
  • was not properly packed in glasses or jar.

Use appropriate procedures to prevent floating fruit.

Reference: How To Make Jellies, Jams, and Preserves At Home. United States Department of Agriculture. Extension Service. Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C. Home and Garden Bulletin Number 56.

Floating: How can floating fruit in jams and jellies be prevented?

  1. After jam or jelly is boiled hard, remove from the heat and skim and gently stir every minute for 5 minutes,  to help prevent the fruit floating. Then fill the jars while the jam is still hot!
  2. Gently inverting the jars periodically while they cool - Also when you remove the jars from the water bath, leave them for about an hour to start cooling and seal. Then, after you check to make sure the jars sealed, if you notice any that have floating fruit, just turn the jars upside down; very gently. Come back in about an hour later and turn the jars right side up to once again. just keep doing this once an hour until the jars have cooled to room temperature, and the fruit will end up pretty well evenly distributed and the gel forms and sets the fruit in place!
  3. Use a lower sugar version of the recipe - More sugar in the syrup means higher density, which increases the likelihood of floating fruit.  So, using one of our lower sugar recipes helps

Other Problems and troubleshooting jams and jellies

Other pages with related information:

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Canning books

Canning & Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward

Click here for more information, reviews, prices for Canning and Preserving For Dummies

The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes Paperback

This is THE book on canning!  My grandmother used this book when I was a child.  It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc.  If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)

Price $8.95  

Home Canning Kits

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]

Above is the
2020 version of
the Ball Blue Book