How to Make Fruit Jellies

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Jelly Bag Jelly Bag

Jellies are made in much the same way as jams, however all trace of the fruit pulp is removed and only the clear juice is retained to make the preserve. Jellies require considerably more fruit to make than jams, although you can add all parts of the fruit to extract the juice – pips, skin, the lot. Apples are often added to recipes to provide the pectin needed to ensure a good set.

  1. Fruit should be picked slightly under-ripe on a dry and sunny day, and then prepared according to type – Apples and hard fruit should be quartered, berries can be added whole, as can plums and damsons. Wash the fruit only if necessary. Any cores, pips, etc. can also be added as they contain extra pectin.
  2. Add the fruit to a pan along with some water for softening – for juicy fruit allow 400ml water per 1Kg fruit, for plums and gages allow 600ml per 1Kg fruit and blackcurrants allow 900ml. For harder fruits such as apples just ensure there is enough water in the pan to cover them.
  3. Cook the fruit by simmering in a pan with the water until the fruit is thoroughly softened. This usually takes 45-60 minutes.
  4. It’s worth testing for pectin at this point, and if the pectin content is too low then simmer the fruit pulp further to reduce the water content, or add more pectin rich fruit such as apples. To test for pectin:
      1. Add 1tsp (5ml) of the cooked fruit juice to 1tbsp (15ml) alcohol (methylated spirit, gin, vodka, whisky…or any other spirit you have lying around), and shake gently.
      2. If the mixture forms a firm clot, then the fruit is high in pectin, if it forms several smaller clots then it has a medium pectin content, and if mostly liquid it has very low pectin content.
  5. Once the juices have been extracted and are running freely in the pan you will need to strain through a scalded jelly bag (Scalding the jelly bag with hot water helps ensure a clear jelly). Leave the pulp to strain for at least 2 hours – overnight if possible. Don’t poke or squeeze the jelly bag as this will make your jellies cloudy.
  6. Measure the extracted juice and bring to the boil in a clean pan (you will have already tested the pectin content and know this is OK)
  7. Once the juice has reached boiling point, reduce to a simmer add the sugar. A pectin rich juice will need 1Kg of sugar to every litre of juice, and juice with a medium pectin content will need 750g of sugar per litre of juice. Stir the juice gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
  8. Once all the sugar is dissolved bring the jelly  (without stirring) to a rapid boil. Time the cooking from the point the rolling boil has reached – the surface will be covered with a mass of foamy bubbles that do not recede when stirred. Setting point for most jellies is reached after about 10 minutes.
  9. Once the bubble have started to recede, and the surface of the jelly looks glossy and heavy, and keep testing every couple of minutes until setting point has been reached.
  10. As soon as the setting point has been reached remove the jelly from the heat. Stir gently (always in the same direction) to reduce the amount of scum on the surface of the jam.
  11. Pour into clean sterilised jars (if you have one then just put them in the dishwasher) while the jelly is still hot and seal immediately.
  12. Store in a cool, dark, dry place, and the jam should last unopened for up to 2 years.
Phyl @ The Allotment Gardener

Lifelong gardener and allotment enthusiast. Now have 3 allotments!


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