Jelly Making is the preservation of fruits. It shows how the fruit can be kept for long periods of time by sterilization, or the aid of preservatives, like pectin. Today we are talking about some of the basics and the equipment to be used when making jelly.
BASICS OF JELLY MAKING
JELLY MAKING consists in cooking fruit juice with sugar until, upon cooling, it will solidify, or jell. This is neither a difficult nor a complicated process.. It has happened, that sometimes when a certain fruit is used, the result may be very good. then when using the same recipe again, the result may be entirely unsatisfactory.
In order to get a good result, every single time when making jelly it is important that the principles that are involved in this process must first be thoroughly understood and then the correct procedure must be painstakingly followed out.
The hard part to receive a good jelly is to solidify properly. The fruit juice that is used for this purpose must have the following characteristics and treatment:
(1) it must contain certain jelly-making properties (see below);
(2) it must be extracted properly;
(3) it must be combined with the correct proportion of sugar; and
(4) it must be cooked the proper length of time.
CRAB-APPLE JELLY RECIPE
Crab apples are much used for jelly, as they make a product of good consistency and excellent flavor. Apples may be used in the same way as crab apples with equally good results.
Wash the apples thoroughly
Remove the stems
Cut into quarters
Make sure that the apples contain no worms
Put them into a kettle
Add about half as much water as apples
Cook slowly until the apples are soft
Strain the juice through a jelly bag
Before it stops dripping, return the pulp to the kettle
Add half as much water as pulp
Allow the fruit to cook again
Make a second extraction, and in the same way make a third one
Combine the juice
Strain all of it through a bag to make it clear.
Measure 6 or 8 cups of juice, and pour it into the preserving kettle
Boil for about 5 minutes
Straining off the scum that rises to the top.
To each cup of juice, add 3/4 to 1 cup of preheated sugar.
Note: Crab apples will require 1 cupful of sugar,
apples milder in flavor will not need more than 3/4 cupful.
Boil until the test shows that it has boiled long enough.
Pour into hot glasses, cool, and seal.
Label and then store for later use.
There are, of course, numerous degrees of solidity of jelly, varying from that which will barely retain its shape to that which is very tough and hard, but neither extreme is desirable. To be right, the jelly should be firm enough to stand up well, but should be tender and soft when a spoon is cut into it.
Fruit is the principal ingredient in the making of jelly, as it is the source from which the juice is obtained. Imperfections in fruits ( for example poor shape or unattractive appearance) do not count since only the juice is used. However, the fruit/juice must contain jelly-making properties in order that jelly can be made from them.
Did you know that green or slightly unripe fruits are better for jelly making than fruits that have become ripe? In fact, when in this immature state, fruits may be used to make jelly, whereas the same fruits, when perfectly ripe, often will not make jelly at all, or, if they do, will produce a jelly that is inferior in quality.
It is because green fruits contain more pectin than do ripe fruits that they are more suitable for jelly making. The lack of either acid or pectin need not, however, prevent the making of jelly from fruits, such as sweet fruits, that contain other jelly-making properties, for either or both may be supplied from some other source. In other words, jelly may be made from any fruit that will yield juice and flavor.
The chief requirement of fruits that are to be used for jelly making is that they contain acid and pectin (that's why green or not quite ripe fruits is better).
Pectin is the real jelly-making property of fruits. When it is in the presence of acid and combined with the correct proportion of sugar and the combination is properly boiled, a desirable jelly is the result.
Without pectin, however, it is impossible to make the juice solidify, or jell. Pectin is closely related to carbohydrates, but as it does not yield heat energy nor build tissue, its food value is not considered. In this respect, it is like the cellulose of fruits and vegetables.
EQUIPMENT FOR JELLY MAKING
NECESSARY EQUIPMENT.--When making jelly, as in the preparation of many other foods, numerous utensils can be used. Ideally, the following equipment should be on the list:
KETTLES/CANNERS.--In jelly making, two different size kettles or canners are required: a larger one and a smaller one
The larger one is used for cooking the fruit, and the smaller one, to cook the juice and the sugar.
Both kettles or canners should have a perfectly smooth surface, and may be made of almost any material used for such utensils, except tin or iron because they are liable to lend to the jelly a disagreeable flavor and in all probability an unattractive color.
The one used to cook the fruit in should generally be a little larger than the other one.
When cooking the jelly, use about 6 glassfuls at one time and no more.
The kettle in which the juice is boiled should be of adequate size to cook this amount without danger of its boiling over.
Reason: when fruit juice and sugar are added to the juice, the mixture often boils up and runs over if the pot is not large enough.
Popular kettles or canners are:
PRESSURE CANNERS: Mirro,Presto, All American and Maitres with quart sizes ranging from 8 quarts to 22 quarts.
BOILING WATER CANNERS: Mirro, General Housewares and Glashaus-Weck (electric self contained heating unit) with a volume capacity from 12 - 21
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED??
JELLY BAG.--A jelly bag can be used for straining the boiled fruit and thus obtaining the juice.
Made at home: use heavy, closely woven material, such as flannel
Bought in a store: a linen sack may be sufficient if the linen is closely woven
A liquid strained through a closely woven "jelly bag" will be much clearer and will make better looking jelly (remember you eat with your eyes as well) than that which has been run through a coarse material, such as cheesecloth.
Attach the bag to a wire arrangement, or to an upright standard that can be fastened to a chair or a table, or securely attach it around a bowl. Sometimes, especially when more than one extraction of the juice is to be made, the first extraction is made by means of a strainer or a colander and the juice thus obtained is then strained through the bag.
It is absolutely essential to have accurate measurements in jelly making. that's why it is essential to include a measuring cup, use a quart measure especially if large quantities of materials are to be cooked at one time.
A large spoon or two for stirring, skimming, and testing should also be provided. The spoon used for skimming will produce better results if the bowl contains holes that will permit the juice to drop back into the vessel, so that none of the juice will be wasted.
CONTAINERS FOR JELLY.--Various types of receptacles in which to keep jelly are in use, some turning out more attractive molds than others.
The shape of the mold, however, is a matter of minor importance and up to your fantasy. Almost any wide-mouthed glass receptacle with comparatively smooth sides will do very well, since the sealing of jelly is not a difficult thing to do. Therefore, new receptacles should not be purchased if there is a supply of any suitable kind on hand, for many other containers besides purchased jelly glasses may be used for this purpose. Ideally, use wide open mouthed ones since they are more stable than narrow mouthed containers and glasses. The most popular manufacturers these days are:
Ball regular mouth: jelly(4 ounce), 0.5 pint, 1 pint, 1.5 pint, quart, 0.5 gallon
wide mouth: 1 pint, 1.5 pint, 1 quart, 0.5 gallon
Golden Harvest regular mouth: 0.5 pint, pint, 26-ounce nostalgia, quart
wide mouth: 0.5 pint, pint, quart
Kerr regular mouth: jelly (4 ounce), 0.5 pint, 1 pint, 1.5 pint, quart
wide mouth: 1 pint, 1.5 pint, quart
Of course you need a cover for the container. If you use glass, add a metal lid (most glasses these days come with the appropriate lids). If you need to replace the lid, make sure you know the maanufacturer of the glass and whether it is narrow or wide mouthed.
In the old days, stone ware with attractive designs was sometimes used: If that appeals to you do the following:
o clean the stone ware thoroughly than keep in hot water until the jelly is ready to be transferred
o cover the jelly with parchment paper dipped in vinegar (cut to the open-mouth shape of the stone ware)
o cover with heavy cloth and use a rubber band or string to tie the cloth on.
Please be aware that if you use this method the jelly will not last as long and should be eaten before jelly in glassware that went through a steamer to make it airtight.
Selina Cormin is an avid cook. She has partnered with Jaynne Nicols to write about cooking, shares recipes (know and unknnow), preserves, jelly making etc. Sign up for her newsletter Old and New Ideas for the Kitchen in the 21st Century [http://www.altcooking.com/newsletter/subscribe.shtml]
Jaynne Nicols has done a lot of research into illness and why we get ill. One of the things she came across is that almost all illness starts in your colon. Sign up for her free newsletter Health and Wellness in the 21st Century [http://www.juhealth.com/newsletter/subscribe.shtml] and learn more in and through her series on health issues.