Printer Friendly

Making jam, jelly, and marmalade.

For generations, making jelly or jam meant adding a sweetener to fruit or juice and cooking this combination until it jelled.

Then came packaged pectin. No longer was the homemaker dependent upon the vagaries of nature, nor did she wonder if there was enough pectin in that particular batch of fruit to make a successful batch of jelly.

I've made many jars of jelly and jam with commercial pectin. One drawback has always been the fact that so very much sugar was needed that one had to have a good imagination to be sure just what kind of fruit was in the jelly.

As people became more conscious of what they were eating and began wanting a diet with less and less sugar, some recipes were resurrected from the past. Some began making jelly again "the old-fashioned" way.

Not wishing to lose its market entirely, the pectin makers began producing a LITE pectin, which needed much less sugar than the old.

Some fruits will do well the old way, for they contain enough pectin to make a good jell. Some fruits are borderline and the growing conditions can make a difference. Others simply will not jell, no matter how much sugar or honey is used, nor how long it is cooked.

One sure thing is that those fruits just barely ripe will have the most pectin while those that are more ripe will have more flavor. It is the balance between these two factors that makes a great jelly.

Fruits high in pectin are: most apples, especially the crab apples; tart blackberries and their cousins, the loganberries and boysenberries; Concord grapes; cranberries; green gooseberries; most plums, if not too ripe; quince; and red currants.

The fruits that tend to be low in pectin are: apricots; blueberries; cherries; peaches; pears; pineapples; rasp-berries; and strawberries. An exception to this list can be pointed out by the fact that I have had some strawberry jam that jelled too much, even when not using additional pectin. (I didn't watch the thermometer closely enough.) This just points out the fact that nothing in nature is static.

When not using commercial pectin, a good thermometer is a necessity. While they can be slightly more expensive, a dairy thermometer might also be more accurate. The regular candy thermometer, however, also does a good job and I have used one many, many times.

The first and most important step is to check the temperature at which water boils in YOUR home. Altitude plays a big part in what this might be.

To make a good jelly, jam or marmalade, add eight (8) degrees to whatever the boiling water temperature might be in your kitchen. Here at Graystones the boiling water temperature is 208 degrees.

Adding the eight degrees, I cook my jellies until they reach 216 degrees.

As the list indicates, there are good times to "do it the old way" and times to make use of some of the more "modern" conveniences.

Strawberry Jam

First, wash and thoroughly rinse the jars. You will need 3 or 4 half-pint jars or about 7 four-ounce jars. Because there are usually only the two of us, and we like an assortment of choice of jelly or jam, we find the smaller jars serve us better. For a family, the larger half-pint jars might be more appropriate.

Put the jars, lids and inserts, if using that type, into a pan large enough so that water will cover all. Put on the stove, bring to a boil and simmer until. you are ready to use them.

4 pints of berries

2 to 2-1/2 cups sugar

Use one pint of berries that are not quite ripe and three pints that are ripe. Wash and crush the berries.

This will yield about 2 to 2-1/2 cups of crushed fruit. Put these in a large six-quart pan.

Add an equal or LESS amount of sugar (about 2 cups) and bring this to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.

Insert the thermometer and cook until the desired temperature is reached. (208 degrees + 8 degrees = 216 degrees.) Check your boiling water! Remove the jam from the heat, stir and skim. Ladle promptly into the clean hot jars. Cover and seal snugly, or pour the melted paraffin over the jam gently. Keep out of drafts until cool.

Makes about 7 four-ounce jars.

Orange Marmalade

6 large oranges

2 lemons

Peel the oranges and lemons, being careful to not get any of the white of the fruit with the peel. Cut this into strips and reserve.

Remove the white from the orange and lemon and chop the oranges. Slice the whole lemons into very thin slices.

Measure the fruit and put it into a six-quart pot or kettle. Add an equal amount of sugar.

Heat this, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly bring it to a rolling boil, a boil that cannot be stirred down. Insert the thermometer and cook until the desired temperature is reached.

Remove from the heat, skim, and ladle into the previously prepared, hot jars.

Makes about 4 half-pints.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Miller, Sylvia J.
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Five more ideas for using broken glass.
Next Article:Bean cookery.

Related Articles
Efficiency in the homestead kitchen: can one tomato product, and get six!
The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food; Easy Step-by-Step Instructions for Freezing, Drying and Canning.
Peanut butter and jelly pizza.
A homestead Christmas: enjoy holiday giving - without the credit card bills later.
Jelly, jam and marmalade.
Making jam, jelly and marmalade.
Jams, Jellies, & Preserves.
Bitter sweet.
The Jamlady Cookbook.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters