Thursday, September 16, 2010

Canning Jelly & Jam

We just found a huge tree of crab apples on some property owned by our friends.  Jeremy thought it would be neat to see if we could make crab apple jelly, so we gave it a whirl.  His Mom gave us some pointers:  Buy and follow the directions from the Certo brand pectin and get a jelly bag.  The pectin can be bought at your local supermarket.  The jelly bag was a little more difficult to find, but we have a hardware store in town that sells just about everything you thought you'd never need but sometimes do.  You can also find them online.  We used this recipe: Apple Jelly Recipe and here was the process:

First we picked the crab apples.  We felt like we didn't have many in this big tote/bin, but it turned out to be WAY more than we needed.

 Aren't they cute little things?

Next, cut them up to make sure they don't have any worms, etc...  Put them in a pot and just cover them with water to get them nice and soft.

They don't look beautiful at this point, but they're ready to be strained through the jelly bag to extract the juices.
Straining out the juice in my newly purchase jelly bag.

There was alot of pulp left over and I just hated to throw it away, so I decided to put this through my food mill and make apple sauce.  Beware, crab apples are really sour and tart.  The applesauce needed a lot of sugar and cinnamon to help it out.  The girls did enjoy the finished product.

Now back to the jelly!  Here is the juice we finally extracted.  Isn't it the prettiest pink color?  We had enough to make about 2 batches with a little left over which we froze.  Not sure what we'll use if for.  We'll see!

Sterilized all the jars and getting them ready to fill:

Boiling the juice, sugar and pectin.  Watch it closely and constantly stir to avoid the sugar burning and a boil over!

All jarred and processed.  Waiting for the tops to seal.  I just love hearing all the pops!

Aren't these pretty?  I'm hoping to sell these at a craft show and give as Christmas gifts.  However, we did keep a jar's worth for PB&Js and it's pretty good!!

I then went on to make 2 batches of Blackberry & Elderberry Jam.  My Aunt had given me a big pan of blackberries from her yard and we had a crop of elderberries that we had frozen from last year from my parent's yard.  I used Certo's recipe again.  Here it is: Certo's Blackberry Jam Recipe  I just added the elderberries to the mix and counted it all for the volume of fruit.

Here it is getting cooked down. 

 It was basically the same process as the apple jelly.  However, with the jam, I kept most of the seeds in it.  This too turned out very pretty and I've heard it was very good!

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