I am not Amused

I am writing a blog post about my experiences, as I can not send an email directly to Bernardin. This is their contact page. Yes I can send them a short message from their site, but I can’t include pictures.


I am a proud Canadian and when I make our Beary Good Stuff, I try to ensure that as many of the ingredients I use are Canadian, manufactured or bottled or produced by Canadian companies. One of the products that is used in almost all of our products is pectin and we use a lot of it. In 2013 we made 398 batches of jam and jelly and for every one we used Bernardin Pectin and only had to remake 7 batches. Most of our jellies are made with liquid pectin and at almost $4 a box, In 2013 we spent $1500 on Bernardin pectin alone!

Fast forward to this year…..we have not had the same success in our jam and jelly making. First I used pectin that was past its use by date. This resulted in 8 batches (approximately 64 jars) of jelly that has to be trashed, as even after remaking they would not set.  This was extremely costly. For example: 4 of the batches were Cherry and Red Wine Jelly


We are out of pocket for $133.19 for costs alone (this does not include labour or utility charges). When I contacted them, via the text message on their site, they telephoned me. They recommended I use the jelly as syrup. The lady I spoke with kindly sent me a coupon for $3. Alas, Cherry Red Wine Syrup is not an alternative. I dumped it all to reuse the jars and threw out 36 boxes of pectin that were only 4-8 weeks past the use by date.

Fast forward to today. So far, we have had to remake 15 batches (out of a total 24) made using Bernardin Liquid Pectin. Using Bernardin liquid pectin has cost us:

15batchesThe above are the costs of what it takes for us to make jam. But this is NOT the total cost to us. We have also lost the time to make more jam and jelly to sell. If I have to remake a batch that did not set, I can’t make another batch to take to the market. Then there is the cost of the sales of the jam itself. When I add all of these costs together, this year we have lost $1,355.

Now that might not seem like a lot to Bernardin, it IS a lot to us!

At first, when were were having issues with our stuff setting, we believed it was the stale pectin, and we purchased and continued to use Bernardin Liquid Pectin. Why? Because we had used  Bernardin Liquid Pectin when we formulated our recipes and it was Canadian, we thought

We had lost our touch…

I know, I should have stopped using it after the first few failed batches, but there are some other considerations…we live in a rural area and buy in bulk when we go to the “big city” for supplies.

Being totally frustrated, yesterday, we bought an alternative product. This morning, I sliced and diced 2 cups of jalapenos, measured the other ingredients to make 2 batches of Tequila Jalapeno Jelly using the 2 different liquid pectins. First we made a batch of Tequila Jalapeno Jelly using the alternative pectin.

Then we made a second batch using Bernardin pectin. They now have both been cooling and its been approximately 4 hours since the jelly was made. Here are the results:


and in close up


Liquid. I don’t think this will set up, but I will give it 2 weeks just to be sure that it is just not taking more time.(sometimes jelly can take 2 weeks to set up).


Perfect! We will be able to sell this at the market this weekend!

Finally, one of our big sellers is Root Beer Jelly. Here is a batch I made 3 weeks ago. It will have to be remade if I want to sell it!


Bernardin, you have lost all my business. Not only for the Liquid Pectin, but jars, lids and powdered pectin. (Don’t get me going about the bottoms falling out of brand new jars…)


About badkowalik

Prepared by hand and cooked in small batches – our preserves are cooked slowly. There is an average of 1.5 pounds of fruit in every 8 oz jar. Not only can you taste the difference – you can see the difference. Beautiful natural color and unmatched textures – that can only be achieved by the patience and experience of the Confiseur (the maker). There is alchemy to what we do. Like fine wines, each season has it’s own specific style. We create preserves with exceptional taste. Capturing these flavors is the craft of our business. Beary Good Stuff is a collection of seasonal, sustainable, artisinally made preserves. The collection is made (in limited quantities) from local fruits using traditional cooking methods. We use the freshest ingredients we can get. The small batch production insures a taste and texture that is unmatched in the commercial market today. The collection includes preserved fruits & vegetables – marmalades, jams, fruit butters & salsas, pickles and gift collections that reflect the bounty of the season and spirit of feasting. Although not necessary yet, we have received a letter from the BC Heath Authority. We submitted a package detailing how and where we made our products, what each recipe contains and how we prepare it. This letter is displayed in our tent at the Farm Market. We have our BC MarketSafe and FoodSafe certifications.

Posted on July 31, 2015, in Unique and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Well it’s really a shame that the company you have purchased from for so long has so little to say about the failure of their product to do what it’s SUPPOSED to do! Obviously it has nothing to do with your recipe or process – it’s THEIR pectin!!!!! The “alternative product” looks like it’s working just fine though – such a shame to have to waste your hard work only to find Bernardin seems to care less………………….Good luck this weekend at the market with the GOOD stuff though!!!!!

    Hugs, Pam

  2. oh noooo… that’s a nighmare… all that work and the time you invested…and the moneeh too…. I’m sad with you :o( btw: my grand granny used homemade pektin from apples, maybe it’s worth a try?

  3. That’s so disappointing! And how frustrating that Bernardin doesn’t appear to take complaints seriously. I’m glad you found an alternative, but sad that it took all of this to do so.

    Hugs, and good luck at the Market!

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