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How to fix Spoiled Fruit Preserves

How to fix Spoiled Fruit Preserves

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Today I am going to show you how to fix spoiled fruit preserves (glyka tou koutaliou).

If your fruit preserves or jams have mildew or if the sugar has crystalized, don’t throw them away as these can be easily fixed.

I am sure that those of you who have prepared fruit preserves or jams, one time or another, found out that their preserves had mildew on top or may be the sugar crystalized.  Don’t throw them away as today we are going to learn how to fix these preserves.

Jars of cherry preserve image

Preserving fruit

Preserving fruit is an old Greek tradition dating back to antiquity, to have something at home to offer to guests who visited, as a gesture of hospitality.

In the ancient times the fruit were preserved in honey and later when sugar became more popular they started preserving them in a sugar syrup.

Glyko karydaki glyko image

However, if the sugar syrup is not prepared correctly it may crystalize or get mildew on top.

How do I tell if the syrup is ready?

Making fruit preserves or jams is very easy provided you know the right technique.

This means the amount of sugar added and the consistency of the syrup.

You can make fruit preserves with any fruit and you can make it either when the fruit is unripe, such as Karydaki (young walnut),  Nerantzi (green Seville orange), Melitzanaki (baby eggplant) etc or when the fruit is ripe, such as cherries, quince, apple, orangecitrus flowers etc.

Depending on the fruit, if it is juicy you don’t need to add too much water to the sugar as the juices of the fruit will be released, making the sugar too watery.

On the other hand making preserves with unripe fruit or only the peels of the fruit, such as bergamotcitrus fruit etc. there you will need to add the right amount of sugar.

Bergamot glyko tou koutaliou image
Bergamot prepared into rolls

So, when preparing spoon sweets or jams, we must be sure that the syrup is just right, neither too watery nor too thick.

Usually if the syrup is not thick enough, if the preserve is left outside the refrigerator it will eventually get mildew.

On the other hand, if too much sugar was added and not properly cooked, it can crystallize.

The correct amount of sugar will act as a preservative just like salt acts for cured meat, so no refrigeration is necessary when opening a jar.

Sugar prevents various microorganisms to develop so no refrigeration is necessary if it has been cooked properly.

Older generations did not have food thermometres to know when a preserve was ready.

When the temperature reaches 105 degrees Celcius, the preserve is ready.

You can find out more details here.

Breakfast with pita chips and bergamot marmalade image

How do we fix spoiled fruit preserves?

However, if you have not cooked them properly and see mildew on top, there is no need to throw them away.

collage various fruit preserves image

How to fix Spoiled Fruit Preserves

Yield: 1 jar (500 grams)
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

If your fruit preserves or jams have mildew or if the sugar has crystalized, don't throw them away as these can be easily fixed.


You will need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon Juice


First case:

  1. Discard all the spoiled fruit, which is always a small layer on top and put it back in a pot.
  2. Add some sugar and water, (the ratio is 1:1). 
  3. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup sets.
  4. Add the lemon juice and let it cool.
  5. Store in clean, sterilized jars.

Second case:

  1. If the preserve has crystallized, put it back in a pot and add some water, to bring it back to a liquid condition.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup has set.
  3. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and turn off the heat.
  4. When it cools, store in clean, sterilized jars.


The amount of sugar to water is just indicative, as it will depend on how much jars you need to fix.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 1 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 775Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 13mgCarbohydrates 200gFiber 0gSugar 200gProtein 0g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

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Fruit Preserves (Glyka tou Koutaliou)

Fruit preserves, called "glyka tou koutaliou", served in little plates, are an inherent part of Greek culture, where they are offered to guests, as an act of hospitality. Almost any fruit, even vegetables, flowers and nuts can be made into a preserve.

Here is a selection of my favourite fruit preserves.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

signature Ivy

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