JAMS, JELLIES, and MORE!
Jelly- made from just the juice.
Butters- cooking fruit pulp til a thick spreading consistency.
Conserves- jam like, using two or more fruits. A true conserve also has nuts and raisins included.
cooking crushed or chopped fruit til thick..usually made in small batches.
Marmalades- soft fruit jellies containing fruit pieces or peel. also cooked in small batches.
Preserves- fruits preserved with sugar so they keep their shape, syrup is like a thick jelly.
Pectin- natural "gel" agent found in most fruits, useful because it causes the product to "gel". some fruits have a lower pectin naturally, so added pectin is needed for a firm gel, either powdered or liquid , pectin is added.
Sugar-aids in preserving the food, adds to the "gel", helps with flavor and color.
Jellying Point- used to test if jelly or jam, etc, is ready to take off the fire. Lift a spoonful of liquid out of the pot, when it first starts to boil, the drops will be light in color and syrupy. Later, as it boils, the drops will fall off the spoon 2 drops at a time, then even later in the boil, the color deepens, and the drops fall off the spoon in a "sheet"- one drop after the other...connected.This is the point to take it off the firs and can.
Those are your words for the week!!! will make it easier for me to explain, as I write to you. Pectin is THE most important thing in making any of the above! Some fruits have a lot..some not so much...so you need to follow recipes as you find them, for many people have tried making these products and have found the ways for them to be made successfully. Powdered pectin is the norm, to use.....a box per each pot made...all these above products are a true one at a time type thing.....you make a pot of something, you can it..clean up, make another pot, can it, and repeat thru the day, depending on how much produce you have. These are considered "fancy foods", so they would be made last.....juices, sauces, syrups, pickles(yes you can pickle fruits!), would all be made first......and anything left, would become a jam, jelly, etc..(in the old days! How I was raised!)
Liquid pectin is used usually for REAL specialty types, like rose petal jelly, wine jelly, herb jelly- things that do not have pectin naturally.The difference between the two pectins is a density thing....you make a "sauce" with herbs...so you use a "sauce" pectin. Now, I have seen people who SWEAR by only liquid, and SWEAR by only powdered. I don't argue!! LOL! I follow recipes...!! Make my own notes...!
The premise is the same, in making all these products, you have the fruit...you wash it, you prepare it for what you want to with it, you have your kitchen set-up for canning, or freezing, or just putting in the fridge. Once you start the process...you cannot stop..so you have to have the time for this. The fruits are tossed in a pot, sugar (some recipes add the sugar first, the pectin second) is added, brought to a boil that cannot be stirred down(you are stirring constantly, I read a book during this first part..can be boring staring at a pot!), then the pectin is added all at once, and stirred again to a boil that cannot be stirred down, then boiled for however many mins. the recipe states, then off the fire, skim the foam(scum), put in jars, skim again, then can. Same process over and over...for any fruit...any type product made.
Fruit jams CAN be made without pectin, jellies, not so much. For the jams, you wash the fruit, put in a pot, with just BARELY enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, medium heat, stir and crush fruit, with the back of a wooden spoon or use -hmm...what is it called?! Gosh! I have been using my g-grandmaother's... forever...it is an old wooden tool for crushing! back of a wooden spoon works too!! Keep stirring, and crush the fruit well....and when it comes to a boil, let it boil a min, then add sugar...and you add to taste...and example would be, I just made a 3/4 c jam batch of blueberries, and gooseberries mixed..I had just a bit of both..tail end of the bushes.....about 40 berries total..and used 2/3 c sugar. Jam making is very flexible! Then you bring it to a boil again...about a min., then off the fire, and into a container.....I had a small glass container, with a glass lid...so it went into that...let cool...then into the fridge. This whole process took me about 20 mins to make. I am including the picking, and the kitchen clean-up..so it can go fast.
Jams are always the easiest to make as you do not have to do the juicing bag...which can take a day..then jelly is another day.....jam can be all in one day. and you can mix more with jams, like I did. a few berries here, a few there..and you have created a new taste never before seen!!!!
You CAN make your own pectin, from apple peels. And , you can can it too! If you have a good apple year, making pectin is a smart thing to do and have it ready for the next year.....and still use it the same year you make it too.
Made from skins and cores of apples, after juicing, also can use the pulp left over from making applesauce.
Boil 2 lbs. of your apples(skins and cores, or pulp), with 4 c water, for 45 mins- set it on med heat for a slow boil for that length of time.Get all the juice out of the apples-use a jelly bag, twist it hard to get the juice, then when the pulp is dry, toss it in the compost! Take the juice you strained, and strain it again, thru fine muslin- I find coffee filters work too...do NOT press juice thru. Take that juice and boil slowly, 15 mins...and it is now pectin..to be used in a few days, or to be canned..canning time is the same for apple juice, hot water bath-20 mins.
This is only economical to make...if you have tons of apples....and an extra day to do it!!!! I have made this several times over the years...when I had the apples and the time....does not always fall together tho!!!
Hot water bath can all these products, all the water bath rules apply.....seals, rings, hot hot HOT!
Here are some recipes of fun stuff I like to make each year......apple, strawberry, etc...gets boring to make all the time! So I change it up along the way..I make all the standards..then I do these too!!
FRESH HERB JELLIES
Basil, Tarragon, or Mint ( or any other of your favorite herb that has a semi-strong scent...Thyme, Rosemary,)
yields about 4 c....so it can be put in the fridge, or hot water bath, would be 8, half pints, or 4 pints.
2c packed , washed, drained, leaves and tender stems of herbs of your choice.
2 c water
3T lemon juice
3 3/4 c sugar
1 pouch (3oz) liquid pectin
a few drops of green food coloring if you want.
Place herb you have chosen , with water in blender and process gently...do not over process as it can make a cloudy jelly.
Scrape into a 3 qt. pot, bring to a boil, stir often, once it hits a boil, off the heat-cover and let sit for 15 mins.
pour into a very fine sieve over a bowl, let drain, pressing on the herbs...discard the herbs.
Measure 1 3/4 c of the liquid into the pot you just used(rinsed out now!)
Stir in lemon juice and sugar.Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, add pectin all at once. return to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, boil 1 min.
Remove from heat, skim, if needed, add food coloring if wanted.
Jar, can,1/8" head space in jars.
The specialty jellies and jams are canned in 1/2 pt. jars, so the time would be 5 mins.
RED, WHITE, AMBER, or GOLDEN JELLY
The flavor of this jelly depends a lot on the wine used- "Big" flavored wines do better than a delicate wine.And the title gives you a hint of the types to look for in selecting your flavors.
yields about 6 c ( roughly 12 half pints)
3/4 c water.
1/4 c lemon juice
1 box (1 3/4 oz.size) powdered pectin
3 c full flavored wine-your choice, red, white, amber, rose
4 1/2 c sugar
Measure water and lemon juice into pot. add powdered pectin, stir til all lumps are gone. Set over med-high heat, boil hard (cannot be stirred down), 1 min.
add the wine and sugar all at once. Lower heat, stir til sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 mins. Do not boil..do not even simmer!! Once the sugar is melted, and mixed in well...take off fire. skim foam, jar- , 1/8" head space-skim again if needed, hot water bath- 5 mins.
sometimes cantaloupes and muskmelons are cheap at the grocery..I have seen them for 99 c ! and some farm markets will sell them cheap too..if they have too many! I make this when we have a few too many in the garden, or even in the Winter when the store has them cheap.
You can use grated lemon zest of 2 lemons, or not..up to you..we do not use it..I think it takes too much from the melon flavor.
1 c water
2T dried ginger
8c chopped melon (about 6 lbs.of melon..so weigh them at the market)
1 box powdered pectin
5 1/2 c sugar
Combine zest, and water bring to a boil, cover, simmer til zest is soft. Uncover pan and simmer til almost all the liquid is gone.
combine zest and any remaining liquid with lemon juice, ginger, melon, in large pot. Bring to a boil and cover,simmer 10 mins,stir often,uncover,stir more often another 5 mins.
Stir pectin into mixture, bring to a full boil,stirring constantly. Add sugar all at once, stir constantly til it reaches a full boil, cannot be stirred down, boil 1 min.,Off the fire. skim foam, jar, skim again if needed.
Hot water bath 15 mins for pts., and half pts.
ROSE PETAL JELLY
I love making this one! Pick your petals in the morning just after the dew has gone. Before the heat of the sun sets in.
2 qts. firmly packed red or pink rose petals ( I use my 5 c Pyrex measuring glass to collect them.)
3 c boiling water
1/4 c lemon juice
1 package liquid pectin
Pour boiling water over petals and steep til all color has been absorbed ,strain in a sieve, do not pres petals. Toss petals.
Place rose juice and lemon juice in pot, add pectin, stir well.Bring to boil that cannot be stirred down, add sugar all at once, stirring constantly, bring to boil again, that cannot be stirred down, boil 2 mins. Off the fire, skim foam, jar, skim again, leave 1/8" head space, can 5 mins, hot water bath.
Yields: 4 half pints. It is sooo worth it to me to make a few cannings each year..the flavor! absolutely wonderful on pancakes!
Another fun one when they are on sale...! when they hit 39 c a lb. here..we buy a LOT!!! They are usually 59c a lb.
2 c mashed bananas
2 c sugar
2 T lemon juice
Put all ingredient in a pot , bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly, let boil 5 mins.
Makes 2 jars...store in fridge.
This is not the type of jam you would make for long term storage....just because of the fruit, the cost of it....But, it is a fun one to make , if you are planning a special breakfast or want to give a unique gift....
I have another recipe for one that can be canned...if you want it, let me know..it makes twice this amount and requires pectin and sugar.
2 c honey
1c light corn syrup
3T lemon juice
1 pouch liquid pectin
Stir honey, corn syrup, water , and lemon juice together in pot, set over med heat, bring to a boil,As soon as there are vigorous bubbles all over the surface, stir in the pectin, boil hard( cannot be stirred down) 1 min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Let sit 1 min, then skim foam, pour into jars, skim again, seal, 1/8" head space, hot water bath 5 mins.
Yields: 4 half pts.
These are some of my favorites....and yes, 4 half pints is worth a canning....that is why the smaller canner is a dream to have! Less water used, everything is smaller...so it is easier to handle. Even if you have a larger canner, it still is worth it, as you cannot buy any of these in the store!
always a fun jelly to make, everybody can help in the begining!
4 c watermelon, seeded
3 1/2 c sugar
2 T lemon juice
1 liquid pectin-6oz
Process watermelon in blender til smooth.
Combine with sugar, lemon juice,bring to a rolling boil , stir constantly, add pectin, stir constantly til boil cannot be stirred down-boil 1 min. Take off fire. skim foam, jar, skim again if needed. seal, hot water bath 5 mins.
YIELDS: 4 half pints.
This is another fun one...get a huge watermelon, carve the rind off for pickling, use the meat for jelly!!!