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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making jelly

I've been trying to make jelly ever since I started preserving. No luck. Every time I end up with pancake syrup. Crab apple pancake syrup, quince pancake syrup. You name it, I have made syrup from it. And really, if you can't get crab apples to jell, you never will produce jelly. They just bet to sett up. I could never get any of them to jell. I'd follow the instructions. Boil the fruit in water, put in a jelly bag and allow to drip. Combine equal amounts of juice and sugar and boil vigorously. Well the last one I never followed. After all, you can't get the juice hotter than boiling by applying more heat so why not just bring it to the boil and simmer. More pancake syrup. I think I finally worked out the secret. I suspect that the vigorous boiling aerates the mix and somehow the oxygen is responsible for whatever reaction causes the juice to jell so I tried an experiment.

I opened the jars of one of my failed batches and poured them back into a pot and brought it up to a boil. Now instead of boiling vigorously, I took a wire whisk and whisked the syrup for 10 minutes and then re-bottled it. Next morning, Voila. Every bottle completely jelled. I've got a batch of quince on the go and I'll let you know how it works................. By the way, my explanation of the effect of Oxygen could be all wrong. Perhaps vigorous agitation creates nuclei for the jelling to start on or some other effect. The main thing is that it seems to work.
Back soon.

Back again. The quince jelly jelled. Wish I had some more quinces. They were the last ones of the year so only three jars of Quince jelly in the root cellar. I've got a batch of Crab Apple jelly on the go now. Lets see how that works. What is really great too, instead of ending up with a very small amount of a caramelized juice (most of it evaporates in my attempt to get it to jell), I have a lot more jars of a beautiful, clear, light red jelly. Much more attractive. Must go and put the second pot of cooked crab apple pulp in the jelly bag. Back soon.

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