12 November 2008

Works For Me: Juice Jelly

I love to cook and make things. It can be a sickness sometimes. I've always wanted to try making jelly, but to be honest, it was more than a little terrifying.

Really, I had absolutely no desire to boil, mash, repeat, push pulp through a sieve, you get the picture. It just seemed like so much work! Yet, in my heart I longed for a solution. Grocery store jelly is good, but I've never been exactly impressed with the idea of feeding my kids a ton of high fructose corn syrup, etc. Despite the commercials trying to convince us otherwise, that stuff ain't natural.

Don't believe me? Come hang out with my kids after they've had a good dose or too. **Not recommended for the faint of heart. Don't say I didn't warn you!**

Then I stumbled across this post by Mary over at Owlhaven. I was intrigued (and slighty jealous of the old fashioned juicer). Jelly from juice. Who knew?

I couldn't find pectin packets in her measurement, but I did find a recipe with my pectin measure in my faithful Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook! I was still nervous, but I decided it was now or never.

The jelly was delicious! It turned out wonderfully and was incredibly easy to make, just like Mary promised. I've made more batches since and given jars away to friends. The jelly also made a great hostess gift tucked in beside a batch of homemade applesauce for a Halloween party we attended. I really like Old Orchard juice. I've used it with great success, and the juice combinations they offer are so fun! My latest batch was Blueberry Pomgranite. Mmmm!

Can you guess what my frugal holiday gifts are? =) Here's the recipe. It can be doubled with good results, but do not attempt to triple it unless your going for the syrup effect.

Homemade Juice Jelly

4 cups 100% juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1.75 ounce box pectin

4 1/2 cups sugar

To prep: Wash jars, lids, and rings well. If you are using old jars, be sure your rings are free of rust and your lids are to new to ensure proper sealing. Fill your canning pot with water leaving space for the jars (your water will rise when you add them). Don't worry, you don't need a fancy pot. I just use a deep stainless steel pot with a lid I bought at Kmart. It works perfectly! Add a slosh of vinegar. It saves your jars and your pan from water spots and mineral build up. Lay out a towel at your work station to hold your clean jars and to use as a landing pad for the hot jars once they are processed. Dip your lids, rings, and jars in the hot water to sterilize them. Be sure you have all of your materials ready. It's best to have your sugar pre-measured, as you won't really have time once it gets going.

Jelly time: Pour fruit juice and lemon juice in a deep kettle or dutch oven. Sprinkle with pectin. Let stand for about 2 minutes. Stir to dissolve. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar. Return to a full boil. Boil hard 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off any foam that may have formed with a spoon. Ladel into your hot jars (5 half pint size, about 8 jelly jars, or a dozen mini jars plus a half pint). Be sure to leave about a 1/2 inch headspace from top. Wipe off any jelly that may have spilled on the rim. Put on lids and rings. Tighten well--this is when your towel will come in handy. Gently place your jars into your canning pot. Process for 12 minutes. Begin your timer once your water returns to a boil. Remove jars and let cool until set. As they cool, you may be lucky enough to hear nice pingeing sounds. If you're like me, they'll pinge when you leave the room. =)

Some hints: Your jelly may take up to 2 weeks to fully set. That's okay.

Resist the urge to retighten your lids. You'll run the risk of breaking the seal and ruining all your hard work.

If your lids don't seal well, you can reprocess your jelly within 24 hours, or move it to the fridge or freezer.

If you decide to try the jelly, let me know! I'd love to hear how it works our for you. My kids love it, and my youngest son will only eat "mommy's jelly" now. Talk about a compiment! And as I said before, the homemade jelly makes a wonderful frugal gift!
For more Work For Me posts visit Rocks In My Dryer.

1 comment:

Owlhaven said...

So glad this worked for you! Funny how so many people think canning is soooo hard, but it really isn't!