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March 16, 2009

Jelly Making

Most fruits are ripe during the summer and fall, but that's the hottest part of the year. It's not my favorite time to be in the kitchen in front of a hot stove. Several years ago I read somewhere that the way to get around this is to freeze the fruits till winter. However, most folks have a full freezer in the summer and fall, and space is at a premium.

I often cook the fruit and just freeze the juice, leaving the actual jelly-making and canning chores till winter when it's cooler and we will appreciate the heat from the stove.

Another wonderful frugal tip I learned a few years ago is to save apple peels and cores when making pies and applesauce, and use them to make juice for jelly. I've done this for several years now, and it makes a very flavorful jelly. Since the peels are where the chemicals of commercially-grown apples reside, I'd only do this with organic apples. I use the ones from our own little orchard, so chemicals aren't a concern for us.

Last fall I made and canned apple pie filling, and put all the peels and cores in the freezer for use later. Now that it's cooler, I'm making apple juice to use in making jelly.

Put the peels and cores in a heavy pot, add water, and simmer till the cores are soft.

Pour through cloth or jelly bag to strain the juice. Hang the bag to get the most juice possible. (Be creative - I hang mine from a cupboard door knob using a rubber band.) It will take several hours to get all the juice, most likely. If you squeeze the cloth, the juice will be cloudy and you'll have cloudy jelly.

Actually, now that I've told you not to squeeze the jelly bag, I'm going to confess that I do squeeze it. I don't mind if the jelly isn't perfectly transparent. I do strain the juice a second time through muslin to clean it up a little bit more.

Now make the jelly following the instructions on a package of pectin.

This batch was soft-set, but I'd rather that than too hard. It was just sweet enough, and very, very good. It yielded ten half-pint jars.

1 comment:

  1. Your jelly looks so pretty and yummy! That is a good idea about avoiding doing it during the hot summer.


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