Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Making Jelly

     I have been trying my hand at making jelly since we had such a large crop of apples and peaches this summer. Making jelly is a long, time consuming process.
      First you pick the fruit. Then you wash the fruit, cut it open and in the case of apples you can get the juice in several ways. One way it to simply cut the apples in at least quarter pieces, the smaller the better and cook them. Or if you want you can core the apples and cut into small pieces and cook them. You can peel them but you are loosing a lot of juice doing that as it does when you core them. Once the apples have cooked for an hour or so they will be very soft and mushy. Let the fruit cool until it can be handled. The most efficient way I found was to put several pieces of cheesecloth layered together in the ricer, or sieve and use a large metal spoon to smash the fruit causing the juice to leak through the cloth and sieve and into a large container under the sieve. When the fruit was all smashed I would pull the cloth out of the sieve, remove the sieve from the container and holding the top of the cloth closed with one hand I would squash the apple pulp in the cloth to get the rest of the juice out. Refrigerate until ready to make the jelly.
     For the peaches I would wash them, cut them open removing the pit and cook the fruit following the same procedure as for the apples. This works for almost all fruit.
     Now to the jelly. Heat the juice until warm. At the same time heat a large (and I mean large) pan of water with a lid for sterilizing the jelly jars. You can buy large canning pots with a lid and metal basket in it that work well. Mine is about five gallon pot. The jars I use for jelly are half pint jars. I use pint jars for canning applesauce, and apple slices, and peach slices. Wash the jars, their screw on rings and the sealing lids that have a rubber seal around the edge that come with them. When you first buy jars they will have all three parts but jars and screw on rings can be used over and over. Never use an already used sealing ring. It won't work properly.You just have to buy new sealing lids each time you seal a jar.
      When the water in the large pot is boiling gently drop just the jars in the water to sterilize them. While that is happening add a packet if SureJell to the juice and bring to a full rolling boil that can't be stirred down. Add the sugar. (SureJell has information on how to do this in all packets of Sure Jell and each kind of fruit needs a different amout of juice per sugar amount.) Again bring to a boil and stir one minute at full rolling boil that can't be stirred down. You can skim the small amount of foam off the top if you want.
     You should now have very hot jelly.  
      I did the first batch of apple jelly and it came out perfectly.
      Oh, but the second batch didn't. It wasn't boiling and it wasn't boiling and I turned my back on it for about 15 seconds and it came to a boil and went all over the stove top, down the side of the stove both outside the door and inside the oven door. And all over the floor and under the stove.
     What a mess!
     I was able to rescue 7 jars of jelly of the 9 I had figured for. And it jelled and was fine. By the time hubby came in I had cleaned up most of the jelly on the stove top and down the door. But he had to help me pull out the stove and clean the floor under it.
     OK I thought. Something always has to go wrong with cooking. this should be all of it.
     I froze 8 quarts of peaches in the freezer and canned 6 pints of applesauce as well as having about 3 pints I kept for eating right away.
     Next was some peach jelly. Horrors! It didn't jell!
     I tried the information for redoing the jelly on the SureJell packet when it doesn't jell and it still didn't jell. I called them. They told me they didn't have any information except what was on the packet. (So why are there people you can call for help?)
       I opened all the sealed jars, dumped them in the pot for cooking the jelly, started over but didn't add any sugar. but did add another packet of SureJell. It worked. Peach jelly jelled.
      Now I have done a batch of jelly of half peach and half apple juice mixed together. I is good jelly.

     Hubby has been pealing apples for more applesauce so I guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. yum, that looks so good! i made some rhubarb jam one time, and i loved it. so much nicer eating something you grew and then made yourself isnt it :D x