a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Making Jam and Jelly --- out of season

Impatiently waiting for spring...
and all the wonder it brings
Last August amid the bushels of fruits and vegetables in season, I posted some of my favorite fresh peach recipes.

Today at the beginning of January I am going to introduce you to jams and jellies that can be made during the dreary days of winter, while waiting impatiently for Spring.

Their simmering sweetness really seems to lift the spirit while definitely adding a tantalizing aroma to the home.

Orange Jelly
One 12 ounce can frozen orange juice
2 cups water
1 box powdered pectin
4-1/2 cups granulated sugar

In large saucepan, thoroughly combine thawed juice, water and pectin. Heat over high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbles form all around the edge. Immediately stir in sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard one minutes, continuing to stir constantly.  
Remove from heat, skim off foam, and pour into jelly jars. Seal.* Makes 3-1/2 pints.

Crock pot Apple Butter
Four 25 ounce jars applesauce
4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on high setting for 5 hours. Remove cover and continue cooking on high setting for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally, until it is as thick as you desire. Divide into containers and store in refrigerator.

Raspberry-Peach Jam
Two 29-ounce cans of sliced peaches
One 10-ounce package of frozen raspberries in syrup
5 cups granulated sugar
One four-serving package raspberry gelatin
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Drain peaches well. Puree peaches in blender or food processor. You should end up with 4 cups of puree. If necessary, add peach juice to bring amount up to four cups. 

Combine peach puree, raspberries with their syrup, and sugar in large saucepan. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in gelatin and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into clean jelly jars to 1/2 inch of top. Seal.*  Makes 5 pints. 

Occasionally a batch of jam or jelly will refuse to jell (firm-up). If that should happen, do not despair. This soft-set product is now a delicious waffle or pancake syrup, or ice cream topping! It is so good this way that I have, on occasion, added more liquid to my jelly-making just so it would stay soft and syrup-able.

There are also products available under the names  instant clear jel and ultimate gel  that you can stir in to thicken any product, either hot or cold. Both are modified corn starches and are commonly used in commercial foods. It is a helpful item to have around.

*Sealing Options
JARS, specifically designed for bottling, can be purchased in 1/2 pint, pint and quart sizes. They come with lids and bands/rings. You can also use jelly jars or other heat-resistant jars or container that you have saved after eating the contents. You can seal these with paraffin wax.

Sealing with bands/rings and lids: Make sure there are no nicks on the rims of the jars. Wash them thoroughly. Wash lids and bands/rings separately. Dry the bands/rings. Before filling jars, place lids in gently simmering water.

Fill jars, wipe off rim and edge of jar, remove lid from simmering water and place over top of jar, with sealing compound next to glass. Place band/ring over and screw down tightly and evenly but without excessive force. Turn jar upside down on folded towel. When contents have cooled, turn jar upright. After 12-24 hours test for a seal: If center of lid is down, jar is sealed, band can be removed, and jar can be stored in cool, dry place.

If a lid does not seal, store the product in the refrigerator and use within a reasonable period of time. The bands can be washed and stored for reuse. Trying to reuse the lids is not recommended.

Sealing with Paraffin Wax: Thoroughly wash a tin can and crush top to form spout. Place can in a pan of water and place over low heat. Place wax in can and heat until melted. Do not allow even a drop of water in with the wax. Watch very carefully as wax is highly flammable. 

Fill jars with product to within 1/2 inch of top. Clean unfilled portion of glass to remove any jam or jelly that may have splashed. Immediately and carefully, top product with 1/8 inch of melted wax. When jar has cooled, add another 1/8 inch of wax. Tilt glass and turn until edges are completely sealed. When wax turns white it has hardened and jar is ready for storage in a cool, dry place. (I cover the top with plastic wrap to protect from dust.)

'til we eat again,
        Simply, Gail

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