Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jelly Making

This is about half of the thirteen pounds of muscadines (confirmed by someone who knows grapes from muscadines) that I picked the other morning.  Even though one of the recipes that I found on the net said not to bother taking them off the stems and they can be cooked with stems, I just couldn't bring myself to cook the stems, so I picked them all off.  And I learned something new.  Picking muscadines off of stems makes your hands itch so bad that they feel like they've been covered by fire ants, bitten all over, then rolled in poison ivy.  Lesson learned.  Wear gloves.

Next step:  mash muscadines.

Jars that I bought a few seasons ago are perfect for jelly.  This recipe makes four pint jars full.

Boil the muscadines for about 20 minutes, mashing occasionally to squeeze out more juice.

In the meantime, boil the jars and lids to sterilize them.

Wash up in between each step and enjoy the pretty blue dishwater that the muscadines make, but scrub your sink because it stains.

This is the juice from the muscadines that I first tried to mash through one of my jackpot contraptions.  When that didn't work out so well, I tried to mash it through a sieve.  Not the easiest process.  After that, I strained the juice through a double thickness of cheesecloth.  This is five cups of juice to which I added six cups of sugar (!) and a package of Sure-Jell pectin, stirring until it was all dissolved.

I poured the jelly into the jars, put the lids on and then into the pot of boiling water they went.  I learned something else here.  Don't try to save time and scrimp on pots by using a regular pot for the processing.  As the water boils, the jars jostle all around and end up bunched up together.  Since all of the instructions say, "don't let the jars touch" I was very paranoid about having exploding jelly jars in my kitchen (and the possibility of injury number three that is looming) and was constantly shoving the jars away from each other with my handy jackpot canning tongs.  Lesson learned:  use that scary canner.

Four jars of muscadine jelly.  All the lids sealed despite my inept boiling-in-an-inappropriate-pot method.

And I couldn't wait another moment.  As soon as the jelly cooled, I had to open one and taste it.  It actually tastes good, although, it is too runny.  Either I didn't leave it long enough to set up properly, or I did something else wrong.

I have another five cups of juice made and am going to follow the Sure-Jell instructions on the next batch of jelly and see if that makes a difference.  I noticed that their instructions say to dissolve the pectin in water before adding to juice.  Maybe that will help.


Edna / HandmadeDiva said...

This brings great memories of the jellies that my granny used to make.

Gretchen said...

Nice first time jelly making - welcome to the club!

but, um, yeah, follow the directions. :-)

Which usually involve cooking the juice/pectin mix, then adding sugar, then cooking more, then putting in jars and processing.

Just letting the fruit drip through cheescloth (or regular cloth you don't mind getting stained) is the way my mom (and her mom...) get the juice. Hanging is even better, but I'm always afraid the thing's going to come crashing down!

Mosaics said...

Well, I did follow the directions of a recipe that I found on the internet. It was just slightly different than the Sure-jell recipe.