What Is A Copper Jam Pan?

What is a copper jam pan, and do you need one to make jam? Read this guide to find out the benefits and characteristics of a copper jam pan…

Sous Chef’s cookware and pan experts:

In this guide, you’ll hear from Sous Chef buyer Kristin Lohse, who has many years of cookware experience. Sourcing, testing and reviewing the very best cookware, from some of the world’s best kitchens. Plus food editor Holly Thomson, who spent several years as a shopping writer, reviewing cookware and pans for BBC Good Food Magazine.

In this guide we’ll cover:

Shop all copper pans here, and learn more about cooking with copper in our buyer’s guide to copper pans.

What is a copper jam pan?

A copper jam pan is specifically designed for making jams and preserves. They are often wide and shallow - allowing for rapid evaporation, crucial for thickening jams quickly without burning. This design helps to distribute heat evenly, preventing hot spots that can cause the fruit to stick and scorch.

These pans are not limited to making jam though. Their excellent heat conductivity makes them ideal for other cooking and patisserie, where temperature control is key - such as caramelising sugar. Chefs also favour copper when preparing delicate sauces that require precise simmering temperatures.

Why are jam pans copper?

  • Copper jam pans are favoured for their excellent heat conductivity. Copper distributes heat evenly and quickly, crucial for cooking jam without burning the fruit. This even heating helps maintain the texture and colour of jams, such as keeping the vibrant hue of berry preserves.
  • The metal's responsiveness to temperature changes also allows for precise heat control. This precision is vital to prevent overcooking, which can spoil the natural flavours and pectin structure of the fruit. For instance, a copper pan provides the ideal conditions for achieving the gel point in marmalades.

What is the best material for a jam pan?

When choosing the best material for a jam pan, copper stands out due to its superior heat conductivity. 

Stainless steel is another popular choice. It’s durable and resistant to corrosion. Unlike copper, stainless steel does not react with acidic ingredients, making it a safer option for those who prefer low-maintenance cookware.

Enamel-coated pans are also suitable as they combine efficient heating with a non-reactive surface. This prevents the metallic taste that can sometimes occur with unlined metal pans.

Each material has its advantages, but copper is traditionally favoured for the best jam-making results.

Ideal Uses for Copper Jam Pans:

  • Jams and Preserves: Perfect for making jams, jellies, and preserves due to the pan's ability to heat rapidly and evenly. This ensures that fruits cook evenly, sugars caramelise without burning, and pectins activate properly.
  • Candies and Sweets: The precise temperature control allows for successful candy making, including fudge, toffee, and caramel. The even heat prevents crystallisation which is crucial for smooth textures.
  • Sauces: Copper pans excel in cooking delicate sauces like hollandaise or béarnaise, where controlled heat is essential to prevent curdling.
  • Melting Chocolate: The gentle and uniform heat helps in melting chocolate evenly without causing it to seize.

What to Avoid Cooking in Copper Jam Pans:

  • Acidic Foods: Avoid cooking highly acidic foods like tomatoes or vinegar-based sauces directly in unlined copper pans. The acid can react with the copper, leading to a metallic taste and potentially ingesting toxic amounts of copper.
  • Eggs and Dairy-Based Sauces: These can react with copper, leading to discoloration and a metallic taste. If your copper pan isn't lined, it's best to avoid these.
  • Scratch-Prone Foods: Avoid using metal utensils that can scratch the surface if your pan has a tin or stainless steel lining. Scratches can expose the copper underneath, leading to the issues mentioned with acidic foods.

Sous Chef’s best copper jam pan

De Buyer Solid Copper Jam Pan

The De Buyer solid copper jam pan is a favorite among small batch jam makers worldwide. Its copper material reacts swiftly to temperature changes, preventing the overcooking that occurs when pans retain heat too long after removal from heat.

Copper also helps maintain the natural color of fruits, ensuring your strawberry jam remains a vibrant red rather than turning mushy brown.

This jam pan features a 27cm diameter base, widening to 38cm at the top. It's 15cm deep with a capacity of about 9 liters, equipped with two strong cast iron handles for easy handling.

Browse our copper frying pans here, or copper saute pans. And read more about cooking with copper in our guide to copper for induction hobs.


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