Jellies are delicate preserves which have stained-glass loveliness when in the jars. They taste wonderful on bread and butter or with a creamy dessert or as a condiment with roasted or cold meats.
- Jellies are made from strained fruit juice boiled with sugar which sets to a clear jelly as it cools.
- There is no need to peel or core the fruit for a jelly, just chop it up and then simmer it very gently with water in a covered pan to extract as much flavour as possible.
- Ladle the fruit and juice into a jelly bag or a clean old cotton pillowcase and hang it from a hook over a bowl which will collect the juice.
- Leave the juice to slowly drip out overnight, but don’t squeeze the bag or the jelly will be cloudy.
- Have ready some smallish jars, sterilised as for making jam.
- Boil the juice in a jam pan with caster sugar and skim off any scum as it appears. You will lose a little jelly in the process, but you don’t want white froth suspended in the jars.
- Test for setting in the same way as for jam, then pour the jelly into the sterilised jars and cover tightly.
Good Fruit for Jelly Making
Soft Fruit – berries, strawberries, red currants, grapes and plums
Firm Fruit – apples, guavas, crab-apples, pineapples, feijoas and tamarillos
Hard Fruit – oranges, grapefruit and quinces
For each 1.5kg of fruit you should use:
- 3 cups water for soft fruit
- 5 cups for firm fruit
- 10 cups for hard fruit
- Mash small and soft fruit and chop or slice large fruit, leaving the pectin-rich cores in and skin on. Put them into the jam pan.
- Add enough water just to cover, using the list above as a guide. For low acid fruit like guavas, tamarillos and pineapple add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or ½ teaspoon citric or tartaric acid.
- Cover the pan and cook the fruit gently until it has become a pulp – at least 30 minutes for soft fruit and up to 1 hour for hard fruit like quinces.
- Strain the pulp through a jelly bag or an old cotton pillowcase.
- The next day measure the juice and allow 1 cup sugar to 1 cup juice for hard fruits, or ¾ cup sugar to 1 cup juice for softer fruits.
- Heat the juice to boiling point, remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved.
- Return the pan to the heat and boil briskly until it reaches setting point – skimming off the scum as it rises. The boiling time is usually about 15 minutes.
- Pour into sterilised jars, cover tightly and try not to move the jars until the jelly is cold and set.