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How to test for Setting Point

Setting point is when the right levels of pectin, acid, heat and sugar have come together in your jam or marmalade and is a lovely jelly-like consistency. There are many ways to test for the setting point but this is our tried and tested way.


  • 2-3 small saucers or plates
  • Dessert spoon


Before you start your jam, place saucers in the freezer.

Once you have added the sugar and your jam has been bubbling away for 20 minutes (or 15 for marmalade), get one of the saucers from the freezer and drop a small spoonful of jam on to it. Let it sit for a minute or so, then run your finger through it. 

If your finger leaves a clear line and stays put, your jam or marmalade has reached setting point. If it bleeds back into the line, keep your jam boiling and test again in a couple of minutes. 

Be careful! – as there is a fine line between nicely set and over-cooked jam!  

If you’re not sure you can always take your jam off the heat, test for setting point and then turn the heat back on again if it needs more cooking time.