Preserving Fruit and Making Jellies

For jelly-making the juice of the fruit only is used and the fruits most suitable are those with good setting power and with a strong natural flavour, such as red and black currants, raspberries, plums, damsons and crab apples. Cooking apples and windfalls particularly are excellent for jelly-making and here a second ingredient in the form of fruit or herb, to give extra flavour and colour, is a good addition.

CHOICE AND PREPARATION OF FRUIT

1.    Fruit for jelly-making should never be over-ripe; in fact it is better to err on the side of under-ripeness to get a really good “set”.

2.    Soft fruit, such as currants, need only be washed in a colander. After draining, they are ready for the stone jar or double saucepan and it is not necessary to remove the stalks.

3.    Hard fruit should be washed and wiped and, if very large, cut into rough pieces. Do not remove the peel or core from apples as these are a valuable source of pectin and improve the “set” of the jelly.

The juice of the fruit for jelly-making is extracted in the following way.

SOFT  FRUITS

Here the juice is obtained without the addition of water.

1.  Place the fruit in a stone jar, crush lightly with a wooden spoon, cover with a plate and either stand in a deep pan of water and simmer gently for about 1 hour, until all the juice is extracted, or, cook in a very slow oven.

Note: For a small quantity of fruit this can be done quite satisfactorily in a double saucepan.

HARD FRUITS

1.    Place the fruit in a preserving pan, add water to reach about a quarter of the way up the fruit, crush with a wooden spoon and simmer gently until pulpy.

2.    Turn the cooked fruit into a jelly bag or double linen cloth and leave to drain overnight. Do not disturb or press the fruit in the bag in any way.

3.    The following day, measure the juice and allow 1 lb. of preserving or loaf sugar to every 1 pint of juice, except for red and black currants, when as much as 1-1/4 lb. can be used.

4.    Heat the extracted juice, add the sugar gradually and stir until dissolved.

5.    Boil rapidly and test for set after 3 minutes for soft fruit, and after 5 minutes for hard fruit, although the latter may need up to 10 minutes cooking, particularly if it is a wet season.

6.    Skim immediately and pour at once into small warm pots. Work quickly at this stage as the jelly tends to set round the sides of the preserving pan.

APPLE JELLY

6 lb.tTart cooking apples or crab apples: 3 pints water: 1 lb. sugar to every pint of juice: lemon rind to flavour.

Wash apples, wipe and cut into pieces, removing the bruised parts. Crab apples may be left whole. Put into the pan with the water, simmer until very soft, stirring and crushing the fruit occasionally. Turn on to a cloth to drip. Measure the extracted juice and add sugar in proportion. Stir over the heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 or 3 strips of lemon rind, then boil rapidly until the jelly will set when tested.

Pour into small glass jars, removing the lemon rind. Tie down.

Apple jelly may be flavoured in various ways; rose geranium, lemon verbena, and mint for serving with roast lamb. For mint jelly, use the tart cooking apples rather than the crab-apples.

ROSE GERANIUM JELLY

Make the apple jelly with either crab or ordinary apples. When the sugar has dissolved in the juice, add 3 to 4 rose geranium leaves tied together, continue to boil and remove the leaves when jelly is well flavoured.

Flavour in the same way with lemon verbena, tying half a dozen or more leaves in a small muslin bag.

PEACH SLICES IN JELLY

Thin slices of ripe peaches: apple jelly flavoured with lemon, lemon verbena or rose geranium.

Make a good apple jelly, flavoured with lemon or leaves of rose geranium or lemon verbena. Peel the peaches, slice thinly and drop into the jelly when it has almost reached setting point (after about 15 to 20 minutes boiling). Simmer gently for a few minutes, and then boil rapidly until the peach slices are cooked and the jelly sets.

The proportion of jelly to peaches is a matter of taste; but the appearance and flavour are better if the jelly is not too full of peaches.

QUINCE JELLY

6 lb. quinces: water: pared rind and juice of 2 lemons: sugar.

Wash quinces and remove all blemished parts. Cut up and put into a pan with cold water to come barely level with the fruit. Simmer until pulpy. Turn into a jelly bag or cloth and leave overnight. Measure the juice and allow 1 lb. sugar per pint of juice. Put together into a preserving pan, add strips of lemon rind tied together and the strained juice. Bring to the boil slowly, stirring from time to time to dissolve the sugar.

Boil rapidly, skimming occasionally, until the jelly will set when tested. Fill into warm jars and tie down. A piece of the peel may be put into each jar if wished.

GRAPE JELLY

4 lb. grapes: 2 tablespoons lemon juice: 1 lb. loaf sugar to each pint of juice: clove or cinnamon to flavour.

Crush grapes lightly and put them into a jar or pan and heat gently to extract the juice. Turn into a jelly bag or cloth and leave to drip overnight. Measure the juice, add sugar in proportion; add lemon juice and flavour, if liked, with a few cloves or sticks of cinnamon, tied in a muslin bag. Put this with the grape juice and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then boil until a little will set on a plate. Remove flavouring and pour the jelly into small, warm glass jars and tie down.

ROWAN JELLY

Rowan berries: apples: water: sugar: peeled rind of 1 lemon and 2 cloves, to not more than 2 qt. of juice, tied in a muslin bag.

The proportion of rowan berries to apples is about 2 lb. to 1 lb. of apples or to taste.

Pick berries from the stalks and wash. Wash, wipe and slice the apples and put berries and apples into a pan with water to come level with the fruit.

Simmer until pulpy. Strain through a cloth or jelly bag. Measure the juice and allow 1 lb. sugar to every pint. Put together into a copper preserving pan rubbed round with a piece of lemon. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then add the flavouring and boil rapidly until a small quantity will crinkle when it is cold and pushed with the finger. Remove flavouring. Turn into small pots and tie down.

This jelly does not always have a firm and jelly-like set; it depends on the proportion of apple and berries used. Serve with game or rich meats.

DAMSON JELLY

6 lb. damsons: 3 pints water: 1 lb. sugar to 1 pint of juice.

Simmer fruit in water until pulpy. Drain to extract all the juice. Measure and add sugar in proportion. Dissolve sugar and boil rapidly until it sets when tested. Pot.

ELDERBERRY AND APPLE JELLY

3 lb. tart cooking apples (windfalls are particularly good):   2 qt. elderberries, picked from their stalks: peeled rind of 1 orange and a half-stick of cinnamon, tied together with cotton: 2 pints water: sugar.

Wash the apples well and remove the blemished parts. Cut into pieces and put into a pan with the elderberries. Add water, cover the pan and simmer to a pulp. Turn into a cloth or jelly bag and leave to drip. Measure juice and allow 1 lb. sugar to 1 pint juice. Put together into a pan, stir over moderate heat until dissolved, then add the orange rind and cinnamon. Boil rapidly until a little will crinkle on a saucer when it is cold and is pushed with the finger. Remove flavouring, and then turn into warm jars and tie down.

This jelly should be of a soft, rather than a too firm, consistency. The above recipe could be used for blackberry and apple jelly.

GOOSEBERRY AND ELDERFLOWER JELLY

This jelly has a pronounced muscat flavour.

6 lb. green gooseberries: 1-1/2 pints water: 1 lb. sugar to 1 pint juice: 3 to 4 large elder-flowers.

Wash gooseberries, put in pan with the water. Simmer till pulpy. Drain in cloth to extract all juice; measure; add the sugar and stir till dissolved. Boil and add 3 to 4 large elderflowers tied in a piece of muslin. Continue boiling until a little will set when tested. Remove flowers, pot and tie down.

BLACK CURRANT JELLY

6 lb. black currants: 2-1/4 pints water: 1 lb. sugar to 1 pint juice.

Wash fruit, add water, and simmer until very soft. Drain in a cloth to extract all juice. Measure, and add the sugar in proportion, boil rapidly until set when tested. Pot and tie down.

MEDLAR JELLY

Ripe medlars: water: loaf or preserving sugar: lemons.

Peel and slice the medlars, put into a pan with water barely to cover. Simmer until the fruit is very tender. Turn all into a jelly bag or cloth. Leave for some hours. Measure juice and allow 1 lb. of sugar and the juice of 1 lemon to each pint. Return to the pan with a few strips of the pared lemon rind tied together with a piece of cotton. Heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly until the jelly will set when tested. Remove lemon rind and place in pot.

RED CURRANT JELLY

6 lb. red currants: caster or granulated sugar.

Pick off the currants into earthenware or Kilner jars. Cover and put into a slow oven until the juice has run well. Turn into a jelly or muslin bag. Next day, measure the juice and weigh out 1 lb. sugar to every pint of juice. Spread out the sugar on to trays, and put it into the oven to make it as hot as possible without colouring. Have ready the currant juice heated to boiling point (but on no account allow to boil), draw aside and add the sugar gradually, stirring all the time. When the sugar is melted, pour at once into pots.

Jelly made in this way keeps the flavour of the fresh fruit.

25. March 2013 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit Trees, Jam Making | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Preserving Fruit and Making Jellies

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