View Full Version : Jamming! ... and jellying too.

Chevette Girl
11-21-2011, 12:11 AM
So I spent the day in the kitchen today... since I hadn't managed to get my jams and jellies started all year, today was the day.

Started with making my own recipe for spiced pumpkin jam, I think maybe I should have used more sugar because I don't think it's going to set. My usual standby of 4 cups (almost any ingredient) plus 5-1/2 cups sugar with a packet of pectin has failed me for probably the first time. Oh well, even if it doesn't set completely it's still thick enough to be a spread.

Next was the rhubarb, I used a Certo recipe for Bernardin pectin since Bernardin's instructions think you should always want to cut your rhubarb with strawberries. Which I didn't. Seems to have worked, it was also really thick.

Then I took my meagre crabapple harvest out of the freezer and bolstered the small amount of juice I got from simmering the fruit with some water (I also added a royal gala apple that was starting to go) with two cups of frozen crabapple sauce from last year's jelly batch. It was set almost before I got it in the jars.

Now I'm waiting for the simmered orange, lemon and grapefruit bits to cool enough that I can measure them without worrying about cracking the pyrex measuring cup. I'd forgotten how much damn work marmalade was, and I've even cheated by zesting the fruit instead of scraping the peel.

I'm still waiting for the wild grape juice I froze to thaw out so I can make two batches of wild grape jelly (one to be sugar-free using the special pectin as per the request of the person who lets me harvest all their fruits). I also have plans to dig the cactus pears out of the freezer and make some very pretty jelly with them, and I also picked a bunch of wild raisins (Viburnum cassinoides) and am going to rehydrate them and put them through my food mill (perhaps with a gentle simmer first if they don't respond well to the food mill after just a soak), they will make an interesting jam. When I was a kid I made a few tablespoons of jelly from these things without using pectin, but I'm hoping for a slightly larger yield so I'll just use pectin this time :)

If I happen to find pectin at the grocery store next time I'm shopping, I've got a whole lotta fruit in the freezer that's either going to end up as jams, next year's smoothies or in my next incarnation of "cleaning out the freezer rosť", and since we're planning to empty and relocate our freezers, the more I can get out of them now, the better. And the more jams I have to give away at Christmas, the better, since I'm trying not to spend too much this year!

I've also got a couple of kilograms of ginger in the fridge so doing some lemon-ginger jelly might be in the realm of possibility.

Anyone else do preserves? I usually do pear jelly and spiced pear jelly but the tree was a bust this year and I didn't get many, and I usually get enough crabapples to do regular and sugar-free batches, I guess the red currants and wild grapes made up for it this year :rolleyes:. And if I have any leftovers of my home-pressed apple juice after the party I'm saving it for, I'll make some spiced apple jelly out of it... I don't do red currant jelly anymore, I get far more enjoyment out of making wine with them. I also have been known to jell-ify some of my wines too, thinking about doing that with excess wild grape wine from this year.

11-21-2011, 09:11 AM
My wife and I make various canned goods through out the year. Mostly Jams, Jellies, and Salsa. My favorite we make is a roasted garlic jelly, that when spread on warm toast, is fantastic. I've been known to go through a jar or more in the couple days after we make it. Sometimes she makes pickles and relish as well, I get delegated to jar wipe on those batches.

We haven't made much of anything these past two years. Her nursing school piling up on her and me going through Chemo, kinda killed any spare time to do such things. But we're hoping that will change soon. We even planted a cherry and pear tree in hopes that we will have the time when they start sprouting to actually can something. :D

Chevette Girl
11-22-2011, 12:51 AM
Just finished the no-sugar wild grape and the lots of sugar wild grape and am now being serenaded by can lids going "poink!"

I cheated on these batches. I took a taste after I'd added the sucralose but before I'd added pectin or heat for the no-sugar one and it was missing something... so I added half a teaspoon of my acid blend and that perked it right up! Added it to the sugared version too.

Now to go spelunking in the freezer and see if I can find those dratted cactus pears. They have run away from me.

Chevette Girl
11-22-2011, 02:34 AM
After a successful expedition to the freezer, the cactus pears were located, thawed and mashed.

I made about 3 cups of juice and mush after running it through my food mill (YAY! the silly thing was good for something, for a change) and then a seive, Ip ressed the mush through with a spatula, mostly I just wanted the seeds out! I needed 4 cups for the recipe so I figured, that half jar of applesauce in the fridge should do.

Unfortunately the beautiful colour didn't last, it's pink but not that violently beautiful shade. Oh, well. I guess I should have listened to the little voice in my head that told me to top it up with wild grape juice!

And now further jammings and jellyings will have to wait, I'm out of sugar again. At somewhere near 3 lb per batch, I suppose I shouldn't be terribly surprised.

11-22-2011, 03:01 AM
Silly piece of trivia... Being born in the desert here, My grandmother and mother made huge amount of Prickly Pear Jelly every year. Bright red and tasty, and abundant! So abundant that I didn't know that there was any other flavor of Jelly till Junior High and I traded my Meatloaf Sandwich for someones PB&J and it was grape jelly! :eek: My world was forever changed! ;D

Chevette Girl
11-22-2011, 03:20 AM
Well, for years I didn't know applesauce wasn't SUPPOSED to be pink, my grandma always left the skins on! Imagine my surprise that the bottled stuff is white! (yes, showing my age, applesauce didn't come in different flavours when I was a kid)

I think wild grape jelly was the first jelly I ever made on my own. And I think it was one of the few things I didn't make when I got married (I made over a dozen cases of jams and jellies for wedding favours) because the crop that year sucked.

But I'm definitely going to keep my eye on the bargain shelf at the produce store for more discount prickly pears and freeze the suckers to try again. Maybe more of them will make a nicer colour :)

11-22-2011, 04:20 AM
Maybe more of them will make a nicer colour :)

Oh it does! Heres this years Jelly Pictures (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1417589992664.53823.1020044594&type=1&l=0ca3a1cda4).

11-22-2011, 09:17 AM
Weird question. Can you try to preserve or jelly leftovers from a melomel if you keep all the fruit in a sack and it doesn't fill up with yeast hulls?

11-22-2011, 12:35 PM
I love that T-shirt with the Ball Jar on the front that says:
"I eat locally because I can."

Oh, no, I've given the punsters something to play with...

11-22-2011, 01:31 PM
Boogaloo, I turned the peaches and ginger from a fuzzy ginger I made into a jam and it turned out great. I didn't bag the fruit or anything, just fished it out of the bucket after I sifened off primary. No I can't spell and spell check has no clue what I was trying to type there. Anyways, I even used some of the lees/mead in the jam. Lees cause it got mixed in when fishing out the fruit and ginger, and the mead to add some fluid. No pectin was used, I just boiled and boiled it down for a while. The fruits natural pectin was still intact and usable.

11-22-2011, 02:10 PM
Boogaloo, I turned the peaches and ginger from a fuzzy ginger I made into a jam and it turned out great. I didn't bag the fruit or anything, just fished it out of the bucket after I sifened off primary. No I can't spell and spell check has no clue what I was trying to type there. Anyways, I even used some of the lees/mead in the jam. Lees cause it got mixed in when fishing out the fruit and ginger, and the mead to add some fluid. No pectin was used, I just boiled and boiled it down for a while. The fruits natural pectin was still intact and usable.

That's awesome! I haven't gotten into melomels yet but always wondered if there were other uses for the fruit. I'd hate to buy fruit and then just throw it out after the first use.

Chevette Girl
11-22-2011, 04:31 PM
That's awesome! I haven't gotten into melomels yet but always wondered if there were other uses for the fruit. I'd hate to buy fruit and then just throw it out after the first use.

I often do second runs, where I pull the fruit bag out of one batch and then add more water and honey (or sugar, for a wine) and ferment it again. Usually I'll use the second run for experiments, like spicing or adding hops or carbonating. Or even combining fruit from different batches, although the Concord grape + raspberry was a lot nicer in concept than taste (and I'm still waiting for it to age out to something pleasant but I'm thinking 4-5 years, it ain't gonna get much better, I left the raspberry mush in too long).

I've frozen the gook that came out of my strawberry wine and I think Alchemist makes bread from her fruit mush.

I don't always use refined enough fruit that I'd do that with it (I don't core apples or pears, I don't pit cherries, and things like currants and wild grapes have way too many seeds), although forcing it through a jelly seive might be a thought sometime.

Chevette Girl
11-24-2011, 09:41 PM
Anyone know if dragonfruit are any good as a jam or jelly? I scored ten of them for $3 on the bargain shelf...

11-24-2011, 10:39 PM
I used to, back in the day when I had kids to devour the largesse. Nowadays it takes me months to clear out a jar of jam, so it hardly seems worth the trouble. Pity, as it's so wonderfully domestic and self-sufficient. And this week, just off of my most recent go with radioactive isotopes I'm so weak and tired and nauseous its hard to remember that I ever had that much energy or to even begin to hope that I ever will again!

But I'd really love to try prickly pear one day, in jam or mead. They grow like weeds in central CA, someday I must get my hands on some, because as strange as it might seem, I've never even tasted them at all!

Chevette Girl
11-24-2011, 11:03 PM
I don't find the prickly pears have much flavour. But I'm willing to forgive them that because of their colour! ;D

I give jams and jellies out for xmas presents, my sis-in-law and my hubby's parents are jam fiends, generally all I keep is the container with the last little dribbles or the not-quite-filled jars where I reuse snap lids... I do better with jam jar returns than I do with wine bottles, I didn't have to get any new jars this year at all and I've gone through 4 dozen new lids and I STILL have two shopping bags full of jars that haven't been washed and de-labeled yet.

Well, I guess I'll check out the Certo and Bernardin and no-name pectin inserts and see if there's a recipe that fits! Worst case scenario, 4 cups fruit and juice, 5-1/2 cups sugar seems to work for almost anything...

11-24-2011, 11:16 PM
Yes it does. :)

Chevette Girl
11-24-2011, 11:19 PM
...except the pumpkin... that seems to have ended up as a spread, rather than a jam. Oops. Still tastes good.

Hope they stop nuking you soon so you can feel better...

11-24-2011, 11:31 PM
Pumpkin's not overly endowed with naturally occurring pectin, though, is it? It comes out more like apple butter than actual jam as I recall. Yummy nonetheless, though! I've got a pumpkin on the porch from Halloween I need to do something with...

And I hope so too, thanks. It's been a tough 4+ years. This most recent dose has put me too close to the radioactive max to do it again, but there are other equally unpleasant things they can do to me instead if it doesn't work this time. That's the sucky thing about treating cancer--the difference between killing the cancer and killing the patient is frustratingly small. :)

Chevette Girl
11-24-2011, 11:45 PM
That's the sucky thing about treating cancer--the difference between killing the cancer and killing the patient is frustratingly small. :)

I've been fortunate enough to mostly know people who have had it knocked back well enough the first time... mostly... Hope this round gets yours for good!

11-24-2011, 11:56 PM
I find labeling the top of the jars, the lid thingies, much easier when it comes time to wash the jar. No label to removes, just chuck the lid and reuse the ring with new lids. One of our popular to receive jams is a strawberry jalapeno and a mixed berry jalapeno.

Chevette Girl
11-25-2011, 12:50 AM
I made bell pepper jam (the purple ones lose their colour, boo) and I've made onion and spices jam but I haven't been brave enough to add jalapenos to aything... some of my family and in-laws don't do so great with hot spices, and like Wildoates, I don't eat a whole lot of it myself. I did however pick up a packet of crumpets, they should be good for at least the two little containers of extra jam.

I label the jars because a lot of jams look alike and if you have two open at the same time it's easy to get the lids confused, and sometimes I do put odd things in them that not everyone can eat (my hubby's grandmother can't have anything alcoholic so I have to be really careful about labelling any jam containing wine)... so mostly for safety's sake, I label the jars. Most of the time the labels come off about as easily as my wine bottle labels (shipping labels from Staples). And if fingernails don't work, I have stainless steel scrubbies. They get just about anything off :)

So dragon fruit are REALLY REALLY SLIMY. And they don't taste like much, either. The variety I can get is the pink skin, white flesh, so I'm sort of shaving off the outer skin and leaving the pretty pink fleshy skin in the hopes that it will at least look pretty, since it sure doesn't taste like much :p Good thing I didn't pay full price for them, they're usually $5 each!

11-25-2011, 01:08 AM
I do not like pepper jams AT.ALL. Of course, my range of what I like is extremely small. :)

Chevette Girl
11-25-2011, 01:28 AM
To tell you the truth, unless it's hot pepper jam I won't eat it either, bell peppers give me indigestion (and yet I'm OK with banana peppers, jalapehos and shepherd peppers). Many things I make for two main reasons - to see if it works, and to give it away.

11-25-2011, 01:53 PM
The other variety of dragonfruit, with the pink insides, is VERY flavorful. However, they're close to $10 each when I can get them, so for me to turn one into a mead I'd have to have quite a bit of cash on hand. :( They're extremely sweet and the closest I can compare the flavor is like a pomegranate without any sharp notes. If I could smooth out the overtly sweetness of them I'd LOVE them, but as is I'm still working on other recipes with them in my head. Possibly figs to round out the flavor profile a bit more? Dunno.

Chevette Girl
11-25-2011, 02:01 PM
Well, I chopped up half of them and froze them 'cause I won't have time to jam them, and froze the other half whole, I suspect the whole ones will end up in the next Chevette Weirdomel incarnation :)

11-27-2011, 11:19 PM
the Mulberry tree gives us gallons of fruit for jelly every year. Two red varieties of raspberries, plus the golden raspberries also make excellent jelly. Blackberries, Elderberries, and Currants as well.

Must try some of these in melomels next summer!

Chevette Girl
11-28-2011, 12:04 AM
My mom has a mulberry tree but either it never produces or she just lies about it and keeps all the fruit for herself so I don't even know what they taste like :)

I've never tasted a golden raspberry, are they as different from red ones as the black ones are?

I love red currants for wine so much I won't "waste" them on jelly... same with black currants, only different...

11-28-2011, 05:23 AM
You folks familiar with quince? I wasn't, until my wife's boss gave us some a few weeks ago from his tree. Very sweet smelling fruit. We made jam, jelly and syrup, which turned a beautiful reddish color.

We've also made jam in the past from loquat. Our tree has tons of blossoms now, and bees and even hummingbirds are pollnating them. If the crop turns out good, I'll likely make a batch of loquat mead.

Chevette Girl
11-28-2011, 12:46 PM
I've never seen a quince, and I bought a loquat at the asian market one year just to see what they were all about because one of the other members mentioned having 20 lbs of frozen loquats, it was smaller than a lime and cost me $.69! Good thing you get them for free, it would cost me a fortune!

Up here, we can only grow hardier things... like rhubarb, apples, pears, currants, raspberries, strawberries etc... even peaches won't grow this far north and only certain grape varieties (the wild ones do well, at least). Oh, and the harvesting season for everything except rhubarb and apples is a few weeks at most, no strawberries all year around like in CA!

11-28-2011, 01:32 PM
Yes, golden raspberries do have a different taste. Much lighter and more of an after flavor I think. Were currently trying to cultivate a few clippings we got at a plant swap. I'm hoping to be able to harvest enough about two years from now. We also have a pretty good size patch of wild black raspberries near my house that the neighborhood descends upon as soon as they start to ripen. And this past summer we planted a Cherry and Peach tree in our back yard. Supposedly their self propagating for the fruit, not sure I wanna get into how that's done since I thought you needed a male and female tree but anyways, that we hope to get something from... at some point. The peach tree actually produced one peach by the end of the season. We were all excited and planed to pick it and make this big fuss over it and have a fun old time... till the dog took a running leap and ate it thinking it was a tennis ball... Oh, and we have this scrubby thing in the back yard that produced quince, I didn't realize they were supposed to come from trees.

12-02-2011, 12:24 AM
I think self-propagating trees, instead of having male and female trees, produce male and female flowers on one tree. At least in my (very) general understanding. My pear tree is self-propagating.

Chevette Girl
12-02-2011, 12:30 AM
Most flowers have both male and female parts and some flowers can self-pollinate, others need pollen from other flowers (dunno how they tell the difference), and some plants only have pollen OR receptors, I think squash plants make separate male and female flowers.

12-02-2011, 03:36 PM
A slight change of direction in the discussion . . .

Do any of you jelly/jam/preserve makers put any of this in your carboy to make mead or wines?

Jelly/jam making is one way of intensifying the flavours - from an eating perspective. I wondered if this translates to the bottle when used as the flavour base for a mead or wine?

Chevette Girl
12-02-2011, 06:10 PM
One member who hasn't been that active of late used to use crabapple jelly in her Robin Hood themed mead because she wanted crabapples but couldn't get the actual fruit, you need to make sure you use pectinase if you do this!

Although having made jam and having made wine, the amount of fruit you use in a whole batch of jam or jelly is comparable to what you'd put into a gallon of mead so I don't think you'd get all that much out of adding a jar or two of jelly to your must that you wouldn't have gotten just by using the fruit.

Now, what I HAVE done is steam my pears or crabapples to soften and release the juices and collect enough juice to make a batch of jelly, and then make wine with the pulp and the rest of the juice.

Chevette Girl
12-04-2011, 10:42 PM
Today I did raspberry jelly cheat (from bottled juice, the rest of the juice is going to be Turkish Delight), dragonfruit jam (I watched the lovely pink colour fade about three bottles in :( ) and just finished the kiwi-strawberry jam (a dozen kiwis to about 20 strawberries). And now the challenge - wild raisin.

They'd dried out since I picked them (my pony is so patient, I couldn't have reached them without her!) I picked all the stems and icky ones out, soaked them in hot water to rehydrate (brought briefly to a simmer then covered and left for about 4 hours) and was hoping my food mill would do the job but alas it fails me yet again. So now I'm going in there with the potato masher before I run them through the food mill.