Little Wife On the Prairie

When you are everything to everyone, well, you had better act like you have it all together.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jelly and you

Okay, so it's really jelly and me.  But it so easily could be jelly and you!  I want to show you how simple it is to make a batch of jelly.  The hardest part is getting the juice.  You can do that on your own by juicing your own fruit or you can buy 100% fruit juice from the store.  Jams are even easier because you can use frozen fruit if you don't have fresh. 

Today we are making jelly.  Apple jelly.  Remember this, trip to the apple orchard?  Well, the apple were so small that they were very hard to peel.  You know what they say, if you can't peel 'em, juice 'em!  Okay, well, we will move on. 

I used a steam juicer to get all of the goodness out of the apples, then I threw the remains to the chickens.  They were not appreciative of the sacrifice.  Dumb things. 

After I had that liquid gold! I decided to do what any busy mother would do.  I stored it in the fridge until I could find time to make some jelly.

The time came today!  Hooray!  I had my waterbath canner on the stove for a week.  It was calling to me.  So I decided to do it.  Jelly used to be a big process for me.  Now it's something I can do, juice to jelly, in less than an hour.  And that's two batches!  If you can get a system going, it makes it easier.  Here is my system.

I bring the measured amount of juice plus the box of pectin to a boil (measurement will depend on the juice and will be listed on the instructions in the pectin box.)  Then I add the measured amount of sugar (this too will be listed on the instructions.) 

While I am waiting for the second boil, I set a timer for one minute. 

Here is the part where you have to be patient.  The mixture must come to a rolling boil before you start your time, not a soft boil!  A rolling boil should not be able to be stirred down and should look foamy.  Keep stirring during your minute boil.  When the minute is up, take the jelly off of the heat.

Oh yeah, I need to tell you an important part. FAVORITE CANNING TIP EVER!   Before you begin, stick you clean jars on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on 210 degrees for at least 20 minutes.  This will steralize the jars without the mess and time of boiling them.  Then when you are ready to fill them, the jars are hot and ready to go.  Brilliant!

Fill the hot jars with jelly.  Leave a 1/4 of an inch of headspace.

I keep a small pan of water almost at a boil.  Then I can steralize and heat my lids before they go on the jars.

Wipe your rims clean.  (I use a wet paper towel or a clean rag.) Then place the lid on the jar and apply your rings.  Do not over-tighten.

Place them in the warming waterbath canner.  Let them come to a boil and then start your time.  The instructions will tell you how long to process them.  Mine processed at 5 minutes for the pints, 10 minutes for the quarts.  Some people will say that jelly doesn't need to be processed but I always do!

After the time is up, I let the jars cool for a few minutes on the canner rack.

Then I pull them out to cool on the counter and listen for the ping of victory! ( that means your jars are sealed!)  Remember to tighten your lids again after they have been processed so that you get a good seal.

It will take a few hours or a few days for the jelly to set.  It just depends on the fruit.  Don't get discouraged if it doesn't set right away.  If it doesn't set after two weeks, you can remake it (which is easy but kind of annoying) or you can use it as syrup.  We have had some delicious pancakes that way!

I really hope some of you get inspired to try this.  It's easy!  You can do it!  Homemade jelly is just one of those things that can't be duplicated in the the store.  Plus, they make great gifts.  We gave jalapeno jelly, a block of cream cheese and a box of Wheat Thins as teacher gifts this week.  Last year I was able to give grape jelly to several of the school staff at the end of the year.  It's a fun thing to give and it makes you look like you are a master in the kitchen even if all you can do is boil water!  Let me know if you give it a try!


Rachel said...

Beautiful and yum! I tried canning tomatoes this year. It was pretty fun! I was a little apprehensive about eating them-safety wise-but we are still alive. I never felt more like I had my family's health in my hands quite like that. I've said extra prayers over them to be sure. I've been thinking about making jelly lately, what a coincidence! That's a great tip about the jars in the oven, I'm going to try that!

ღ soraya ღ said...

nice post...thank you for sharing...happy holidays...blessings soraya

Vickie said...

Haven't done apples before. I do plum, peach, and grape cuz that's what we have on our place. And we've had jelly syrup before AND thick sticky jelly that you could lay brick with! haha!

I'm off to do some more reading - Nice to meet you - come by sometime!

Carole said...

Great post. I am right into making my own jelly.

Carrie said...

I did it -- TODAY! I just canned 4.5 quarts of grape jelly (from 100% grape juice) and a quart of homemade applebutter. It was a bit crazy, but now I know I really can can! :-)

Anonymous said...

Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings

The most recent edition - - open until Thursday 6/7.

Pymatuning Gardener said...

Please, don't use the oven to sterilize jars. Here is what the National Center for Home Preservation says"

"Physical safety and food quality: In the provided directions, the jars are preheated in an oven (dry-heat), which is not recommended for canning jars. Manufacturers of canning jars do not recommend baking or oven canning in the jars. It is very risky with regard to causing jar breakage. There is no guarantee that the jars heated in this dry manner are sufficiently heated to sterilize them, as we do not have data on sterilizing jar surfaces by this dry-heating method. "

Sterilize in boiling water for any foods processed less than 10 minutes. If processed for more than 10 minutes, pre-sterilizaton of the jars in unnecessary, as the canning process will sterilize the jars.

Little Wife on the Prairie said...

Pymatuning Gardener-I appreciate your feedback and will check into that further. I have never had an issue with my jars and oven sterilizing but that doesn't mean I won't. Most all of my recipes use more than a 10 minute waterbath so I think I'm good there. Hope you have a great weekend!