What you will need:
Fruit - the more the better for jelly
A Maslin pan or similar large, heavy duty, flat bottomed pan
Clean and sterile jam jars or kilner jars with new seals.
A hook or someway of securing a hanging parcel of wet drippy fruit to drip into a bowl
A big bowl
Sugar - granulated or jam sugar (which has added pectin)
Possibly some liquid pectin
What to do:
Cooking part I
- Collect your fruit
- Wash the fruit - you don’t need to be picky about taking out the stems or peeling (if you use apple too - blackberry and apple jelly is even easier as it sets so well because apples have lots of pectin in)
- Chuck it in a pan WITHOUT sugar at this point (this is where jam and jelly differ - if you use sugar at this point, you’ll set your jam and it won’t strain)
- You ‘may’ need to add some water, but see how much juice comes from your berries as you gently simmer and soften them.
- Once they’re mushy (see, not an exact science), you need to strain.
This is where a muslin cloth comes in handy - ALL mamas have muslin cloths lying around - obviously make sure it’s not a baby puke one and it’s clean
I use a big bowl underneath and then use a sieve to get me started.
- Lie the muslin over the sieve and gently load in your fruit - if you have someone to help you it might be easier.
- Once you have your fruit in the muslin you need to tie it like a Dick Whittington sack with string. Then hang it over the bowl and you can remove the sieve. There are contraptions you can buy on the market to do this, alternatively if you don’t want to put a hook in somewhere, I use the cupboard handle over my counter top - the Women’s Institute it ain’t lol!
- Leave it to drip through for 24 hours.
This is the bit where I do often get a little disheartened as when I come down the next morning there never seems to be as much juice as I’d like for jelly, but there’s the rub. We make cider and from 20lbs of apples you can likely get around only 10pints of juice, so there’s a lot of fruit mush left over too and not so much on the juice front. Still - it’s a nice change to jam sometimes.
Cooking part II
- Get your juice back in your pan and you need to add around the same quantity of sugar as you have juice
- Let it gently come to the boil, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved so it doesn’t crystalise.
- Let it boil gently for around half an hour - ish - you need to take the plunge here and play it by ear unless you want to go down the route of thermometers - but to me, it takes the fun out of messing about with jam making and makes it really prescriptive.
- To test whether it’s ready you need a cold plate and a tea spoon. take a small amount out and put it on the plate, tip the plate sideways. If the jelly doesn’t budge cos it sets - then the job’s a good ‘un. If it still runs, you need to continue boiling a little longer.
Get your sterilised jars. I sterilise mine in the dishwasher, but there are many other ways of doing it.
Now, this bit IS important - I learned the hard way.
- Because you HAVE to put the jelly in when it is hot, otherwise it’ll set in your pan, you need to put your sterilised jars onto a tray and put them into the oven for a few minutes to warm up. This will ensure they won’t crack when you pour in the jelly.
- Put your lids on and tighten.
So, a little more laborious, but delicious for a change to jam. You can then get really clever and start doing stuff like mint jellies. Have fun and don’t worry too much - it’s only the die hards that have made it seem so difficult. xx
* Please note that I DO NOT follow recipes and my ideas are not prescriptive, they are trial and error. The idea behind these recipes is so people can enjoy in the simplicity of making their own rather than being scared by the fear of cooking. Please take care when cooking - if you burn yourself because you are a berk and don't wear oven gloves for example, it is not my fault, it is because you are a berk and probably shouldn't be allowed in a kitchen, let alone be allowed to cook. Just be sensible!