How to Make Homemade Jelly from Bottled or Frozen Juice (apple, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry, peach, etc.) - Easily!
This month's notes: April 2016: Strawberries have a very brief season; and the start in early April in the South, don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. 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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How to Make Homemade Jelly from Bottled Fruit Juice - Easily!Making and canning your own jelly from bottled, frozen or fresh juice! It is very easy. You can make jelly from almost any type of fruit juice: apple, grape, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry, peach, apricot, mixed berry, etc; as long as it is 100% juice, and preferably without additives. You can make the jelly sugarless, or add sugar, honey or even Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda), depending upon your own needs and tastes. Here's how to do it, in a few easy steps and completely illustrated. Any variations will be spelled out in the directions inside the pectin package.
Ingredients and Equipment
Making Jelly-from-Juice Directions
This example shows you how to make jelly from fruit juice. You can use this recipe to make almost any type of jelly from the fruit juice; where there is a difference, I will point it out! The yield from this recipe is about 12 eight-ounce jars (which is the same as 6 pints).
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 jelly), 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 jelly.
Step 2 - Measure out the sugar (or honey)
Check the directions with the pectin; typically, it is 7 cups of sugar to 5 cups of fruit juice and one box of pectin. The precise measurements are found in each and every box of pectin sold. Mix the dry pectin with about 1/4 cup of sugar and 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.
If the juice has sugar in it already, it will probably still work, but it might take trial and error to find out how much more sugar to add to get a good set. If you use juice with sugar in it, try using a no-sugar-needed pectin and adding sugar to it. That will certainly work. You can always add more sugar or honey to make it sweeter, if that's the taste you like.
If you use a no-sugar-needed pectin, then you could make a sugar-free jam, by also using a 100% fruit juice that has no sugar added.
Step 3 - Add the pectin to the hot strained juice and bring to a full boil
Stir the pectin into the fruit 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: I usually add about 20% more pectin (just open another pack and add a little) or else the jelly is runnier than I like. With a little practice, you'll find out exactly how much pectin to get the thickness you like.
Another tip: use the 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, Splenda); that could work.
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Step 4 - Get the lids warming
If you didn't do so already, put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 5 - Add the remaining sugar and bring to a boil
When the grape-pectin mix has reached a full boil, add the rest of the sugar (about 6 and 3/4 cups of sugar per 5 cup batch of fruit juice; 4 cups of sugar if you are using the low or no-sugar pectin) and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
Step 6 - Testing 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 jelly is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/4 to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.
Step 7 - 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!
This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!
Step 8 - 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, which is what SureJell (the makers of the pectin) recommend. 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 - and see the Table below for altitude differences. The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative. 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!
|Table 1. Recommended process time for 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|
Step 9 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!
Lift the jars out of the water with your jar lifter tongs 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.
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!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I was reading the instructions on making jelly. We have a super-duper juicer that we can run the grapes through and skip the grape-food processor/ crushing steps, but is that a suitable thing to do?
A. Sure, that ought to work great!
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