|There is always something more fun to do than|
That was, of course, until the time actually came to make jelly and cartoons were on.
Needless to say, I got his little butt up and we made a batch of sour cherry jelly. For all his complaining, he was very proud of himself. As soon as his father came in, his eyes lit up and he announced that his jelly would be ready in the morning to be put on toast and it would be delicious.
Teaching my son life skills is so very important to his father and I. At fourteen, he can do his own laundry, make some simple food items, clean a bathroom and living room, mow the lawn and now, make jelly. Life is uncertain. The economy is no where near as rugged as it was when my parents simply graduated high school and got a fantastic job paying good wages and benefits. No, instead, you can do everything right and still get laid off. The spouse you thought you'd be with forever morphs into someone you don't recognized. To use a quote from, The Incredibles, "Life favors the prepared".
So today, I'm going to show you how to make a jelly. My jelly may have a few little floaties in it as I didn't use a jelly bag but it's quick. With jelly and jam making, the process is quick, it's all in the preparation.
For cherry jelly you will need the following (from the Sure Jell measurements):
|From Beginning to End|
3 1/2 cups of cherry juice
4 cups of sugar
1 package of powdered pectin (Sure-Jell)
canning lids and screw tops
Strainer that fits in the pitcher
1 large stockpot
1 small stockpot
1 small saucepan
1 cookie sheet
To make the cherry juice:
Take at least 5 quarts of sour cherries and put them in your smaller stockpot. Crush them with your hand in the stockpot. Add the heat and heat for about 10 mins crushing against the side of the stockpot periodically. Let cool a bit.
|Crush berries (or cherries) with your hand. If they need|
more liquid add water (these didn't). Boil for 10 mins.
|Here Dixon is crushing the cherries against the strainer to get|
all the juice.
Once cool, put your strainer over the pitcher and begin ladling your now cooked sour cherries into the strainer. With a ladle, mash the sour cherries against the strainer to get as much liquid out of them as possible. Dump out the mashed cherries and start with a new ladle full. Repeat until you have used up all your cherries.
|If you have any left over from canning,|
add equal amounts of sugar and juice
and make a delicious simple syrup for
fruit salad or drinks!
At this point if you don't have time to finish the process,
put it into the fridge. You can always can this the next day.
This is what I mean about processing on the run!
Taking the large stockpot, boil the canning jars you intend to use. Boiling insures that the cans are sterile. There is absolutely no sense in doing all this work and then have to pitch the canned goods simply because the cans weren't sterile. Botulism is a serious condition and there is no real way of telling if it exists in your canned goods. The best way to insure that your can goods are safe is by keeping everything clean.
Remove the jars out of the stockpot and put on your cookie sheet. Putting on a lipped cookie sheet ensures that any "drippage" is trapped in the cookie sheet and doesn't cascade down your stove front.
When you are ready to can, bring a saucepan of water to a boil and put in the lids (not the screw tops) that you intended to use. Take your sugar and measure it out into a separate bowl. Heat up 3 1/2 cups of cherry juice and mix with your pectin. Bring to a rolling boil and once there, add your all at once. Stir vigorously for one minute. Skim off any foam that comes up. After a minute, ladle into your sterilized jars. Wipe down the rim of the jars. This is an important step as you want to be sure that you have a good seal before you put these on your shelf. Removing the lids with tongs, put the lids on each filled can and quickly screw on a screw top. Using a towel around the hot jar, make sure the screw top is on as tightly as you can.
Now the canning part.
If you have a canner, please feel free to use that. Generally there in an insert in the bottom to prevent your jars from coming into full contact with the heat. If you don't have that, a small cooking rack can be used. I often don't use anything at all but it can be dangerous to do it that way so I can't recommend that. Fill your large stockpot with water and bring it to a boil. Once at the boil, gently lower your jars into the boiling water and boil for 10 mins. Once finished, carefully lift the now hot jars and place them on your cookie sheet to set.
Setting generally takes about 24 hours. Periodically you should hear a "pop" noise which tells you your jar has sealed. We call that the "Sound of Victory" in my house.
If a jar doesn't seal in 24 hours and you can remove the lid, place it in your fridge or freezer. Label your jars and place them in a proud part of your pantry so you can look at them and have the satisfaction that your work placed that food there for use by your family.