Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jelly Making

Viva made jelly and jam for the first time this past week. Jelly or jam making is a big production. You need fruit to turn into jelly (or jam). You need pectin (usually) and lots of sugar. You need a big pan to cook the jelly in. You need sterile bottles, lids, and bands. You need a large water bath canner.  And lastly, you don't need, but it's nice to have, a juicer. Because it's so much work to collect all the needed supplies, I like to make more than one batch of jelly or jam while everything is out.

Once you have gathered all the supplies,

then the real "fun" starts. You wash your bottles, lids, and bands. You prepare your fruit or berries by juicing them (jelly) or squashing them (jam). You measure out the berries, the sugar, and the pectin. You combine the berries and pectin together then add heat and you stir, stir, stir, stir until it boils. Add the sugar and stir, stir, stir, stir more.

The stirring of the boiling berries and sugar is dangerous. Even though you use a very large pan, the jelly will still sometimes spit up and out and attack the jelly maker! And sure enough, on our third batch Viva was attacked and lost some of her enthusiasm for jelly making. 

Jelly making is hard work! However the reward is great. There is nothing so fine as homemade jelly and jam. Store bought jelly and jam seldom have the same intensity of flavor.

PS This may be Viva's first and last time making jelly the old fashioned way. Kara bought me a Ball jelly and jam maker. It's a small machine kind of like a bread machine. It will do all the stirring for you! It makes sense to use something safer when working with the kids, so we will give it a try when we finish our current supply of 20 bottles.

PSS The jelly we made was from crowberries that the children picked last fall. They kept pestering me to get it made into jelly and since the new berry picking season will soon be underway, I recruited Viva and got to work.

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