Thursday, July 14, 2016

Home Made Cherry Jelly

You will probably feel like you're a member of the jelly of the month...or should I say, I'm finally caught up on getting around to posting about all the different jellies and jams I've been making and since this is the season, I'm getting them all in.

Since I've made several different jams and jellies this week and the posts are similar, please don't assume you make one exactly like the other, because you can't. Some are regular sugar and some reduced sugar. The basic steps are the same, so you'll see some repetition, but there are some differences in amount of fruit/juice/sugar needed!!

Because jam and jelly making is such a quick process, I don't always have step-by-step pictures for each variety. But if you will click through each flavor, you should be able to see all of them. However, I will break down the steps from the Sure-Jell pectin I use. In my opinion, the instruction brochure layout needs to be revised to make sense. By that I mean the directions are not on the same side of the sheet. They did this on the reduced sugar brochure and I love it! I have always had success using Sure-Jell and when it comes to canning, I'm looking for easy, safe and consistent results. Who wants to spend a lot of time and have poor results?

I cannot stress enough how careful you need to be. The mixture will be very hot and you are dealing with boiling water. Be sure you don't have any kiddos underfoot when you are doing this.

Making cherry jelly was an afterthought. I was making cherry jam and had so much juice left over, I had to make a batch of jelly. As in the jam, the pits and stems have to be removed. If you don't have access to juice, you will have to process and strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a strainer to remove the pulp.
Sterilize your jars (I do mine in the dishwasher), lids and rings (I boil these in a pot of water on the stove).
Get out your canning tongs to pull the jars from the pot; canning funnel and the magnetized tool to pull your lids and rings from the hot water and a clean cloth to wipe the jars down prior to sealing them.

I set my canner on the stove and set the rack in the pot raised for easy access and fill with water so that when the jars/rack are submerged, the jars will have one to two inches of water above them. (You can always add more boiling water if needed) I put the lid on the pot and turn the heat on high.
 Measure out with a liquid measuring cup (not dry), 3-1/2 cups of cherry juice. Measure out another 1/2 cup of water.
In a small bowl, measure four cups of sugar (regular, not artificial) and set to the side.

In a large pot add the juice and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in one box of Sure-Jell. Stir constantly. Add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to reduce foaming. Bring this mixture to a boil.
Add in the sugar. Bring it back to a full boil and let it cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. 
Remove any foam with a spooon. This will be very hot! Put the excess foam in one of your used bowls to discard later.

Using a ladle, pour up the mixture into the jars through your canning funnel and leave 1/4" head space. Wipe the jar top and sides before placing a lid and ring on them.
Space the filled jars around the raised up rack. When all jars are filled, carefully lower the rack into the water. Add additional boiling water, if needed, so that the jars are adequately covered. Put the lid back on the pot, bring to a boil and process for 5 minutes. (Jelly is 5 minutes, Jam is 10 minutes)

When that time is up, turn off heat and carefully remove the pot from the stove eye. When removing the lid (with a pot holder), be careful of the steam that will be released!! I remove my lid with it pointed away from my face.

Fold up a towel on your counter.

With my canning tongs, I carefully move my jars to the towel to cool. If any of the jars didn't seal, be sure to refrigerate and consume first. If you don't hear equal "pings" for the quantity of jars processed and the lid springs back when you poke the middle of the jar, it didn't seal correctly. 24 hours later, I move them to the box my jars came in, mark the date on them and store them.

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