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Author Topic: Who Knows About Jelly Making?  (Read 3384 times)
DayValleyDahlias
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« on: November 26, 2008, 09:37:50 PM »

I have had pretty good experience with canning over the years, self taught.  There is one recipe I love making, it is so simple.  However, I made 2 batches yesterday just assuming all would be well, and the derned jelly did not set!

Any ideas?  The liquid pectin may have been a bit out dated, would that have been the problem?

Many thanks.

Sharon
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 10:20:08 PM »

Sharon, jelly is a funny thing.  I have had many times when for no random reason it has not set.  To this day, have no clue why.  Others may chime in to tell you what may have gone wrong.  I always use liquid pectin, Certo, it is called her in Canada.  Don't know if you know it by the same name.  The amount of sugar is CRITICAL when using certo, that kind of bugs me because the sugar is so ding dang high, but then that is what makes jams and jellies, (in my mind) taste so yummy.

When my jelly does not set, this is what I do.  I painstakingly take it out of the jars that I worked so hard to get the jelly into.  Bring it back up to the boil and boil it for a few more minutes.  This seems to mostly do the trick and the jelly does eventually set.  I don't know if there is an easier or more efficient way, but that works for me.

OR, the other thing you can do is just leave it liquid and use it as a "pouring" jelly instead, like on pancakes, yummy!!!  That is really good too.  Good luck, you will undoubtedly get lots of responses here.  Have a wonderful and great life and day, great health.  Cindi
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 10:53:38 PM »

I have had pretty good experience with canning over the years, self taught.  There is one recipe I love making, it is so simple.  However, I made 2 batches yesterday just assuming all would be well, and the derned jelly did not set!

Any ideas?  The liquid pectin may have been a bit out dated, would that have been the problem?

Many thanks.

Sharon

To can jellies and jams without the use of pectin simmer until moisture content is like molasses when hot, then place in hot jars and seal.  When cold it will be the consistancy of cream cheese.
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2008, 12:12:47 AM »

Oh BOY!!!
 This IS something I know about! I'm so happy to help!
 I made
 
 prickly pear jam when I first moved out here...Ruined 3 pairs of gloves from stickers!!( Janelle Brad and me did this as a family unit),,,Now Janelle just reminded me WHY we were doing this...In preparation of Y2k!!!! grin
 Anyways, we made alot of it!!...and it DIDNT SET!!!!>>>We had to use it as syrup, like Cindi said!
 So, this is what happened.......We had so much juice that I used twice as much as everything said in the recipe...Step by step, I went along and made the jelly......
 And you know what?Huh What was the last step in the recipe???
 It said, in the very last line....."Do NOT double the ingredients in this recipe."
 So, THATS why MINE didnt set! Smiley

your friend,
john
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2008, 01:35:56 AM »

Oh now I know there is a sacred law about never doubling a jam, jelly, or candy recipe!  I am just perplexed over this thing.

I too use "Certo" brand...Cindi I will pour it all back into the vat and boil her up some more...it just tastes delicious, it is just too runny...but yum-o!

I will post the recipe for you all...

Hugs and happy TG ~*~*~
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Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2008, 09:38:03 AM »

Sharon, Brian has said a great thing that is for sure.  Making jellies and jams without the commercial pectin is a wonderful way to go.  And it does work, just as he said, it just takes a little bit longer.  In the "olden" days, when my children were little and I seemed (who knows why) like I had more time on my hands for those "preserving" days, I would boil down the fruit juices to make jams without commercial pectin.  I also didn't have alot of money, so I tried to conserve every way that I could (sometimes I wonder how we ate, we were so poor), but we did....sorry digressing here.

Anyways, next time, Sharon, try that method that Brian speaks of....boil down the sugar/fruit juice to the conistency that he speaks of....a lovely product will be made.

Yes, in the meantime, reboil that syrup, it will thicken.

I always double my recipes, making a single batch is not an option here, it goes too fast and it is too time consuming to make 2 separate batches.  I have not had any issues with doubling, now tripling, perhaps that may cause problems, but doubling (for me anyways, is OK). Just gotta make sure that the sugars are doubled too.  Too bad that jams and jellies require so much sugar, I don't like that, but oh so goooooooood....beautiful and wonderful day, Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2008, 10:17:56 AM »

One of my fondest memories of childhood is when my mom's strawberry jam didn't set and we had the most wonderful fresh strawberry syrup for a year or so.  I miss that.
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2008, 10:51:38 AM »

MB I have enough Cran-Apple Spiced Jelly ( or should I say, syrup ) for about 2 years!

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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2008, 10:52:21 AM »

Cindi, has the answer and what I was going to say.... grin

I made blueberry jelly and played around with preserves and jams a few years back. Came to realize, that the blueberry jelly is better left as a preserve or whole jam. We do not even attempt to get it to set anymore. The stuff goes on bread like jelly, can be poured on waffles, on ice cream, etc. We process it in a hot bath, and it keeps for years. I think the oldest stuff on the shelf right now is about 5 years old, and it as good as the day we made it.

Give me the stuff that pours anyday!
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2008, 12:41:16 PM »

Some of my fondest memories are of helping my Nannie make her apricot jam..mmm! She made apricot nectar too.  I don't remember her ever adding anything but the sugar & fruit, then cooking forever.  Us kids loved the foam off the top on ice cream or buttered bread.  The house would have that sweet fruity smell for days.  She never water bathed it, always used wax to seal.  I'm not sure that is the way to go but we never got sick. I've had success & failure with pectin, always success with the cooking longer till thicker. I don't do jelly either, I like having the whole fruit, not as much waste being cheap as I am!  J
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2008, 05:14:54 PM »

Jody, oh right, forgot about the parafin.  Wonder what.  When I used to make jam, boiling it down, some 30-odd years ago, that I used to use parafin for sealing.  No clue why, but that was what my Mother used.  Guess it was the olden day method, very tried and true.  These days I use the mason jars with the metal lids, the ones that we all use now.  The lid seals, creating that suction, guess that replaces what the parafin used to do (how do you spell parafin, anyways, hee, hee, the spell checker keeps highlighting it....).

Oh those days of yon.......never forget the time when my Mother made us pancakes that had chunks of apples in it.  Nearly barfed then, and am nearly barfing now, thinking about those gross, disgusting, hunky, chunky pancakes.  Right, this was the woman that made that hideous cream of wheat.  I can recall having to eat it as a kid, yich!!!!  I don't know what issues that woman had with cooking breakfast items, but man oh man, she had issues!!!  Right, about the cream of wheat...I remember it was like a hunk of hardened white gelatin.  When we ate it we had to kind of cut it with our spoon, oh gross.....I have to stop talking about her breakfasts.  Now.....on the other hand, this wonderful woman, that dearest Mother of mine, could cook the most delicious dinners that would make ya' head spin, she was the queen of supper, and oh how I loved her suppers.  Rats.....my deepest apology, Sharon, I have gone way off topic.  I truly am sorry ( evil rolleyes tongue tongue tongue, na, na, na, na, na).  But you know me, I am the worst when it comes to off topic stuff and ramblin'.  Have a most wonderful and awesome life and day, great health.  Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2008, 05:42:26 PM »

The only time we use pectin is when we don't have tart fruit.
Then only if we can't/don't have lemons, or lemon juice.
Cook till juice drips instead of strings.
hope this helps some too
doak
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2008, 03:31:39 PM »

I have much better luck making jams than jelly.
I also do not use the pectin to make the jam.
My jelly sets, but its loosely set and I have heard that it has something to do with the fact that it gets over boiled.
Someone told me that as you fill the jars with jelly and then put them back into the boiling water in the canner as you do each one at a time that some of them are being boiled alot longer than the others and causes it to break down.
Now I am not sure if that is accurate or not. I just know that I gave up on the jellies and pectin and prefer to go with the jams.
Well for the most part, sometimes my kids will still ask for the jellybean jellies, you know the weird flavored jellies like rootbeer, cotton candy, butter rum, coconut(actually that ones good for grilled chicken) and all the other flavors.
The lime, cinnamon and coconut ones are good for grilled meats so occasionally I will do a rainbow batch that will last a while, but its never really firm like store bought.
There are times that I feel store bought is too firm though, it goes on too chunky and its hard to flatten out on the bread.
So anyway, I know that you already said you realized it could be because you doubled the batch which could be the problem, also the pectin could be old.
So is it possible like someone told me that it gets boiled too long when you put each jar in the water bath as you fill the rest and it causes it to breakdown? Maybe.
But honestly, I have never had homemade jelly that was really firm like store bought.
I would just do like some have said, pour it on pancakes or icecream and enjoy it still.
Maybe you would like to try a no pectin jam sometime if you haven't already.
I have some delicious recipes for Bumbleberry Jam and Blueberry Honey Jam and Blueberry Honey Spiced jam that will help you to use up some of that yummy honey you all have been harvesting.
Let me know if anyone is interested and I will post them.
                                Blessings,
                                  Natalie
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2008, 04:25:58 PM »

Natalie, I am interested.

Steve
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2008, 09:11:03 PM »

Natalie - I would also like those honey jam recipes!

Sharon - As far as the pectin goes - I think that was probably the culprit and Cindi is right - reboil and reprocess is the only answer if you really want it to set. Although I will say I have had a few times where just chilling it in the fridge has "set" it enough to be a consistency that is acceptable.

I also had this happen to me with cherry jam (not jelly) and just did NOT have the patience to reprocess so instead we have been using it as ice cream and pancake topping, pie filling and - my favorite - as the "icing" between layer cakes. I think cran apple jelly would be WONDERFUL to use on a spice cake!

Also -  John - love your Prickly Pear story - made a Prickly Pear Vinaigrette for Thanksgiving and had similar glove issues. But how was the jelly? Worth doing? I'm STILL preparing for Y2K...

- Jess
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Cindi
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2008, 09:47:38 PM »

Hmm, got a query here for anyone that cares to answer.

I keep hearing about people, that once they have poured the jelly into the jars that they put it in the boiling water bath.  The boiling water bath is primarily used to cause the product to heat up so that when the jars cool, the vacuum is created, which preserves the jelly/jam.

When processing foods, it is integral to process in the water bath.  But I do not completely understand why the jelly is put in the water bath.  It has already been processed.

When I make my jams/jellies I do not put the jelly/jam-filled jars into a water bath.  The jars and lids are kept in a hot oven until I am ready to pour the hot (and I mean, boiling hot) jelly/jam into them.  As they cool, the air is sucked out and the vacuum is created, which seals and preserves the jams/jellies.

So....am I missing something here?  Why would one want to re-process the jelly/jam if a vacuum seal can be obtained through hot jars, lids and fruit product?  I need to know. Have a wonderful, most awesome day, Cindi
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« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2008, 10:03:55 AM »

Cindi,

I don't place my jellies in a water bath.   I "think" there are certain foods that do require additional heating in order to kill pathogens?  Guess I have to read upon that!
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2008, 03:41:41 PM »

We don't hot water bath our jellies/jams either. 
Mostly because you pour it directly into the jars, and it is already at temperature so that the vacuum will be created.  You don't need a whole lot of headroom either, so the vacuum is easier to create.

Jellies are also very high sugar (like honey) so are somewhat antibacterial anyway.

Rick
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2008, 12:00:34 PM »

I tend to overcompensate and end up with fruit paste that won't spread or sometimes even come out of the jar, especially when I'm doing apple, pear, or other high-pectin fruits. I also HATE using commercial pectin and the memories of mom's "natural" jam is always close in mind.

I think the water bath thing is just to absolutely ensure that every bit of the process is sterilized at the end; jars, lids, etc. I boil the lids which sterilizes and softens the seal and if the jars come right out of hot water and the jam/jelly is hot, I usually don't bother. I do know that if you enter jams or jellies in our county or state fairs, you have to certify that they were processed in a hot water bath..

J-
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2008, 02:11:29 PM »

Okay guys here are some recipes for jams that I made alot this summer.
Now my recipes call for hot water bath canning, I know some of you process yours differently so you can use the recipe and then process it to seal the jars however you want.
I have heard of using the oven like someone mentioned, I just never learned that method.
So do what you please to seal the jars after you make the batch.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  This recipe calls for pectin.

               SPICED BLUEBERRY HONEY JAM
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen coarsely chopped blueberries
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup of honey
tb lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pouch liquid pectin

Place blueberries, sugar, honey, lemon juice and nutmeg in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan.
Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in pectin.
Ladle into hot jars leaving  1/4 inch headspace and process for 10 minutes in water bath.

          This stuff is DELICIOUS!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                 No Pectin
            SPICED BLUEBERRY PRESERVES

 1     quart washed, stemmed and picked over blueberries
1/4   cup cider vinegar
 2    cups granulated sugar
1/4   teaspoon ground allspice
1/4   teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8   teaspoon ground cloves
You can use 1 cup of honey as above or you can leave it out if you want this to be more spicy and less sweet.

Combine ingredients and simmer until the skins on the blueberries are tender and the preserve has reached the desired thickness.
Test for thickness by putting a small bit of the boiling jam onto a refrigerated plate and popping it right back into the refrigerator to cool fast.
If its still running all over the plate, simmer the jam a while longer, then test again.
When its thick enough, take it off the stove at once.
Pour it into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace and seal them with 2 think layes of paraffin and a lid or process them in a hot water bath for ten minutes.
Again, you can get the lids to seal whatever way is your normal method.

This jam is delicious over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, you name it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                 BUMBLEBERRY JAM -pectin recipe

1 cup crushed blueberries
1 cup raspberries or you can use 1/2 cup raspberries and 1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup crushed hulled strawberries
6 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin

In a large deep stainless steel saucepan combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly.
Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
Stir in pectin and boil hard for one minute.Stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and skim off foam.
Ladle into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Process in canning jars in hot water bath for 10 minutes.



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