Loquat Jelly - How to Make Loquat Jelly - Easilt, Step-by-Step, with Photos
This month's notes: April 2014: Spring is just around the corner. Strawberries are here in Florida, Texas and California, next in late March and April for much of the South, then in May for most of the country and June in cooler northern areas. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam!
Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint jars
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Loquats are a tropical fruit from China with a flavor that is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango. Loquats make exellent jelly, fruit butter, salsa and chutneys. The flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe in late winter or early spring. Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 cm long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin have a succulent, tangy flesh that is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the variety. The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. Making and canning your own Loquat jelly is easy.
- 4 cups loquat juice - It takes about 4 dozen loquats to make 4 cups of strained juice.
- Pectin (it's a natural product, made from apples and available at grocery stores (season - spring through late summer) and local "big box" stores. It usually goes for about $2.00 to $2.50 per box. You'll get best results with no-sugar needed pectin, whether you choose to add sugar or not! See here for more information about how to choose the type of pectin to use.
- Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
- Sugar - About 4 cups of dry, granulated (table) sugar. Yes, you can substitute an equivalent amount of honey or agave. For the no-sugar recipe, click here
- At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined (taking care not to overheat the pots) pots for easy cleanup.
- Large spoons and ladles
- 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.). Note: we sell canners and supplies here, too - at excellent prices - and it helps support this web site!
- Ball jars (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores - about $7 per dozen 8 ounce jars including the lids and rings)
- Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
- Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.
- Jelly bag - to seive the cooked juice. Cheesecoth or even a sterilized white T-shirt can work in a pinch, but a jelly bag and stand is deigned for the purpose and works better with less waste. See example at below right with ordering information.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- Big box stores and grocery
stores sometimes carry them; and it is available online - see this page.
It's a tremendously useful to put jars in the canner and take the hot jars
out (without scalding yourself!). The kit sold below has everything you
need, and at a pretty good price:
Directions - Step by Step
Step 1 - Wash the jars and lids
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 5 more minutes. However, since this additional processing can result in a poor set (runny jam), it’s better to sanitize the jars.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam.
Step 2 - Prepare the loquats
Select full size loquats that are still firm. Wash the loquats in cool water. Cut in half and remove the seeds and blossom ends. Chop them in to 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces.
Step 3 - Measure out your choice of sweetener
Depending upon which type of jelly you're making (sugar, no-sugar, Stevia (but you will have to experiment with amount, each brand of Stevia is a different concetration), or Splenda, or a mix of sugar and Stevia (or Splenda) or fruit juice) you will need to use a different amount of sugar and type of pectin. The precise measurements are found in directions inside each and every box of pectin sold (every brand, Ball, Kerr, Mrs. Wages, etc. has directions inside). I don't recommend using Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) by itself - plain old sugar makes a big difference in the color and taste. Unless you're diabetic, for best results, try the low or lower sugar formula below.
|Type of jam||
Type of pectin to buy
|regular||no-sugar or regular||7 cups of sugar|
|low sugar||no-sugar||4.5 cups of sugar|
|lower sugar||no-sugar||2 cups sugar and 2 cups Splenda (or about 1/3 that if you use Stevia, which is my preference)|
|no sugar||no-sugar||4 cups Splenda (or about 1/3 that if you use Stevia, which is my preference)|
|natural||no-sugar||3 cups fruit juice (grape, peach, apple or mixed)|
Step 4 - Mix the dry pectin with about 1/4 cup of sugar or other sweetener
Keep this separate from the rest of the sugar. If you are not using sugar, you'll just have to stir more vigorously to prevent the pectin from clumping.
For more about the types of pectin sold, see this page!
Is your jelly too runny? Pectin enables you to turn out perfectly set jelly
every time. Made from natural apples, there are also natural no-sugar
pectins that allow you to reduce the sugar you add by half or even eliminate
Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!
Step 5 - Cook the chopped loquats
Place in a saucepan and barely cover with cold water. Cook slowly until pulp is very soft. Stir to prevent scorching.
Step 6 - Seive/filter the cooked loquats
When fruit is soft, pour everything through a double layer of
dampened cheesecloth or a damp jelly bag. Suspend the bag over a bowl or
pan, using a stand or colander to hold the bag. Drain the juice without
pressing or squeezing, which will cause cloudy jelly. If a fruit press is
used, the juice should be restrained through a jelly bag.
Step 7 - Add the pectin to the hot strained juice and bring to a full boil
Stir the pectin into the loquat juice and put the mix in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning). It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get it to a full boil (the kind that cannot be stirred away).
Notes about pectin: some people don't use pectin with loquats, since they contain a high level of pectin. I add to ensure a good gel. I use the low sugar or no-sugar pectin. It cuts the amount of sugar you need from 7 cups per batch to 4 cups. And it tastes even better! On the other hand; I still add some sugar, even with the No-sugar pectin. With no added sugar, the batches always turned out runny and bland. You might want to try using the low sugar recipe with a mixture of sugar and Stevia (or if you prefer, agave, honey or Splenda); that could work, but you do get the best results with sugar.
Step 8 - Add the remaining sugar and bring to a boil
When the berry-pectin mix has reached a full boil, add the rest of the sugar or other sweetener, and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
Step 9 - Remove from heat and test for "jell" (thickness)
I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jam is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/s to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.
Step 10 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on
Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jelly off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put them into the boiling water canner!p> This is where the jar tongs and lid lifter come in really handy!
Step 11 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 5 minutes. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them. The directions inside every box of pectin will tell you exactly. The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative. Clemson University says you only need to process them for 5 minutes. I usually hedge my bets and start pulling them out after 7 minutes, and the last jars were probably in for 10. I rarely have a jar spoil, so it must work.
Note: Some people don't even boil the jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them, but putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage! To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the jelly and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!
|Recommended process time for Loquat Jelly in a boiling water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
SteSStep 12 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. p>Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months. But after about 6 to 8 months, they get darker in color and start to get runny. They still are safe to eat, but the flavor and texture aren't as good. So eat them in the first 6 months after you prepare them!
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]