"That they (the older women) admonish the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Making Jelly and Jam (Frugal Friday)

Earlier this year, I picked over 20 lbs. of blueberries (at $1.20/lb) and made 3 batches of blueberry jam. Lately, I have been working on Grape Jelly. I made one batch earlier this week (which was a little bit haphazard and messy!) and am working on another batch now. I got the grapes from my mom's vines because she won't be using many this year. The work and money that goes into Jams and Jellies is probably not always worth it, depending on where you get your stuff, but I will be using a lot of it as gifts this holiday season, so I guess that makes it more worth it. Yes, it is probably cheaper to go to Aldi's and buy a $0.99 jar of grape jelly. But where's the fun in that? That's why I say, as gifts, I think it's worth it, especially if you bum most of your stuff from other people who don't use it! :)

A lot of my jars, lids and bands were given to me by family. I've heard a lot of people get them at yard sales, flea markets and I've even seen them in stores like Walmart and maybe the cheaper ones like Save-A-Lot. Pectin, which I use for grape jelly even though you technically don't have to, you can find at almost any grocery store: Walmart, Save-a-Lot (not mine though), Marc's (sometimes) and any large chain grocery store. Pectin will go bad though (lose its jelling properties) so be careful not to stock up on it. The other thing is SUGAR. A lot of sugar, unfortunately. You can buy low sugar pectins, but I haven't tried those. Some recipes call for lemon juice or margarine (to control foaming) but I don't use them.

For jelly, you use juice. Jam is just crushed fruit. I was silly and spent a ton of time hand milling and crushing the juice for my first batch. Now I have my juicer, so I'm just going to throw all the grapes in there. My pectin calls for 5 c. of grape juice and 7c. of sugar (I told you, it's ridiculous). You put the juice in a LARGE pot (preferably tall rather than stout). Measure out the sugar in a seperate bowl. Place the jars in the oven (I put it at about 250F) and boil the lids in a small pot with water. Add the pectin to the juice, stir and bring to a rapid boil. Quickly add the sugar and stir. Bring it back to a rapid boil and boil hard for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars (a funnel specifically made for canning helps a lot here). Use a damp washcloth to wipe rim and threads of jars. Put lid on right after filling and wiping (do one at a time) and screw on band. Put back into oven. Finish all jars. My batch used about 8.5 half pint (8oz) jars. Turn oven off and let jars sit in oven overnight (I left them in for a few hours).

The pectin comes with instructions, but this is what I did. They say to water bath process them for 10 minutes, but I don't have a canning pot and didn't want to mess with that. The blueberry jam I never processed or put in the oven and they sealed just fine. It's a lot of work, but people love homemade jams and jellies! I even saw them for sale at the Farmer's Market and the average rate was $4.00 for a 8oz jar! Good luck and let me know if you have questions!


Sherry on September 12, 2008 at 7:58 PM said...

I love to make homemade food gifts. I made some apple pie jam and pepper jelly last year as part of gift baskets. People loved them!


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