Plein Air Jelly

When our lunch at Plein Air was over last Saturday, I brought home all the Sangria fruit plus the cut up fruit that had been served with the crackers and cheese ball. It was a lot of fruit. Cantaloupe and watermelon balls, blueberries, apples, plums, nectarines, pears, and some thinly sliced lemons. I forgot to take a picture of what I had. I just couldn’t stand for all that good fruit to go to waste. #wastenotwantnot

I cooked it up, put it through the food mill and then strained that juice which had a fair amount of pulp in it. I didn’t put it in a jelly bag, but strained it through a colander with fairly small mesh. Some fruit particles came through so the jelly isn’t as clear as It would be if I’d used a jelly bag. I wasn’t going for jelly to enter in the State Fair.

I needed 5 1/2 cups of juice according to the “plum” SureJell recipe. I used that one because it was closest to the amount of juice I had which came from mostly stone fruits. I was a little short so decided to add some Peach Schnapps I had in the cupboard.

I think this was leftover from the year Laura and I rode in the Christmas in St. Michaels parade. It was bitterly cold and we decided we needed a flask. I must have used this for something else since there was only about a quarter cup left. But this stuff never goes bad, right?

I got all my canning supplies ready and put pint jars through the dishwasher.

I followed the recipe exactly as I wanted the best chance to have the jelly jell.

Eight pints went into the canning kettle for a 10 minute boiling water bath.

Several of the ladies from the Plein Air lunch will get a jar. It’s a beautiful claret color and is fruity with a hint of lemon. And it jelled…unlike my strawberry jam in June. Yum!

 

Strawberry Jam or Strawberry Sauce?

A couple of weeks ago I made strawberry jam. Last year we had so much rain the strawberries weren’t abundant. And late frosts effected the peach crop, so I didn’t make peach jam either. We actually bought jam! This year the strawberries were lovely and I got a flat at the Farmers Market.

I’ve been making jam for fifty years. We had four children so I made a lot of jam. Back in the day we covered the jam with parafin wax. Occasionally a jar would get moldy under the wax and have to be discarded. Now they are put through a boiling water bath in the canning kettle for ten minutes. These jars can stay on the shelf for a couple of years.

I did two big batches of jam. Eight pints the first time. Six pints and two half pints the second time. The second batch didn’t jell. I had used SureJell and actually followed the directions to the letter.  So I reprocessed the second batch and added another packet of SureJell. They jelled a little, but not as much as they should have for jam that wouldn’t run off your toast.

I left the jars on the counter for several days as I debated about processing for a third time. I didn’t want concrete jam, so ultimately decided I would call it Strawberry Sauce and use it on ice cream when we have company.

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And in between batches of jam I was able to get my Working Writers Forum submission ready to send out. The meeting is tonight. I can’t wait to hear the always constructive critiques.