Loquat Jelly - How to Make Loquat Jelly - Easilt, Step-by-Step, with Photos

This month's notes: July 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples will start in late July. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!

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Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint jars

Click here for a PDF print version

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.Loquats

Ingredients

  • 4 cups loquat juice - It takes about 4 dozen loquats to make 4 cups of strained juice.
  • Pectin - 1 package (box usually) or if you get it in bulk, 8 Tablespoons, see the directions below for specifics - (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

Equipment

  • 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. washing loquats

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

Sweetener
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 sugar.!
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
Hot Half-pints
or Pints
5 min 10 15

 

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! 

 

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs
    to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter
    - to remove lids from the pot
    of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid
    - disposable - you may only
    use them once
  4. Ring
    - holds the lids on the jar until after
    the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
    - to fill the jars

You can get all of the tools in a kit here:


 


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