It gets SO hot here in the summer that even with the air conditioning on, it's too hot to can any produce in August. I usually resort to tossing the treasures that come from the garden in the freezer and then plan to can it all up when it gets cooler.
I also had a lot of fruit scraps. I saved fruit scraps in the freezer all summer and fall: a few peaches and plums, a zip-top bag of apple peels and cores, blackberries. Little bits of this and that that I thought I'd combine into a batch of mixed fruit jelly.
This time I just winged it - I tossed all the frozen bits and pieces in the stockpot and hoped for the best.
I even had a pint of home-canned plum juice. Last year I made sweet and sour sauce from a bumper crop of our plums. I had so much plum juice leftover that I canned a pint of plain juice, no sugar, for use in "something" later.
After simmering the fruit until it was soft, I strained it through muslin cloth as usual to separate the juice from the fruit.
Then I followed the directions in the package of fruit pectin to make jelly. There was no option for "mixed fruit jelly" so I guessed at the amount of sugar to use. I tasted what was left in the pot after ladling it into the jars, and it was delicious. I'm glad I stopped adding sugar when I did. (I never add as much as the directions say; I'm a rebel that way. Sometimes my jelly is softset and sometimes I end up with syrup instead, but it's better than something that's too sweet to swallow. Fruit syrup on pancakes is pretty awesome anyway.)
This batch yielded eight half-pint jars of excellent jelly.
You've heard the saying "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without," right? Those fruit scraps could have ended up in my compost pile, which wouldn't be a bad thing, but instead they became a marvelous addition to our pantry.
What kinds of jelly or jam have you made?
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