Grape Jelly

photo 2-4

This is phase one of the 1/2 bushel of grapes….Grape Jelly

juice

Phase two will be juice

I canned 11  half pints of concord grape jelly today.  You can see my recipe on my facebook page

here:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1526615870885696.1073741842.1515956535284963&type=1

 

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Storing Berries (Flash freezing & Refrigerator storage)

When any berries or fruits are in season it’s a scramble to get them at the best possible price for two reasons. First because they are wonderful to eat/snack/cook with after a long winter and second because you can freeze or can them so you have wonderful fresh natural fruit for the whole year!!

Our local grocery store had buy 2 pints of blueberries and get 3 free. That is 5 pints for the price of 2!!!! Of course I bought 10 as that will hold us through the year with pies and frozen berries for yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, smoothies, and blueberry syrup for ice cream.

Here is what I do with our berries to keep them as fresh as possible in the refrigerator and how I store them for the winter in the freezer:

FLASH FREEZING: Wash the berries and remove all stems. Pat them dry with papertowels or a non lint dish cloth. Lay them on a cookie sheet and let them air dry so they are not wet. Once dry place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove them and store them in freezer bags. They will not stick together so you can grab as few or as may as you will need and will be perfectly sweet when you remove them to use.

TO KEEP IN THE REFRIGERATOR:: Place the berries in a large bowl with a teaspoon of white vinegar and cover with water (you do not have to remove stems unless you want to). Let sit for about 4 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Place them in an airtight container laying them flat on a papertowel. Use a papertowel in between each layer. Place top on. These should hold your berries in the fridge much longer than if you just place them in there in the containers they came in.

Strawberry Jam (canning instructions too)

2014's

This morning was dedicated to making our years supply of strawberry jam as well as a few for gifts and a few to sell.  I will tell you how I make it along with how I can it.  Some people think canning is so intimidating but it is actually very easy and quick.  There are only 4 MUST have tools….1) jars and lids  2) funnel 3) grippers 4) 2 large pots.  My son does not like big chunks so I crush my berries 1 cup at a time by hand so they are smaller pieces in the jam.

You should always make your own jam when the fruit is in season.  There is nothing better and it’s all natural!!

Note:  there are directions all over the internet for canning and the pectin has directions in the box also!!

To make cooked jam for canning:

5 cups crushed strawberries (wash, cut the hulls (green leaves) off, and crush in a bowl ONE cup at a time)

7 cups sugar (you can use alternative’s with no sugar pectin) We use Sure-Jel Pectin.  Always works and yes it’s a bit of sugar but you can cut back on it by adding a little extra pectin from a second box if you want and it’s so delicious you won’t care!!

Get a 1/2 full stock pot of water almost boiling

Fill your sink with the hottest water you can (you can use boiled water from microwave if need be) and keep jars, lids, and rings in it

Fill the 2nd stock pot with the 5 cups of crushed strawberries and add one box of pectin

Bring the berries/pectin to a full rolling boil stirring constantly it should boil even as you stir

Pour in the 7 cups of sugar all at once quickly

Keep stirring and bring back to rolling boil.  Boil for 1 full minute

Remove from heat and skim off any foam (light pink foam you will see).  You can leave foam but it doesn’t look pretty in the jars.  I keep the foam in a separate bowl and when finished I cover with plastic wrap and we use it as jam also keeping it in the fridge.

Remove a jar from hot water, wipe it dry and fill using the funnel and a ladle.  Fill just to the top where it meets the rim leaving 1/2 inch space to top of jar

Continue until all the jam is in the jars

(TIP:  if you have a little left over and don’t want to start a new jar put it in the foam bowl!!)

Wipe the top of the jar and around the rim where the lids screw on if it dripped at all

Dry the lids and place them on the jars and then dry the rings and tighten until just tight

Turn heat up on the water stock pot

Carefully place the jars in the water bath with the grippers making sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water

Bring to a slow boil and let boil for 10 minutes covered

Remove from water using grippers and place on a towel to set overnight (you will hear popping sounds when the lids seal)

After they have set overnight touch the middle of the lid to make sure it is not sticking up and has been sealed.  If it did not seal you can still use the jelly but keep it in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

When sealed you can store in a cool, dark place for 18 months

That’s it!!  Some of my tips:

1) Always make one batch at a time.  Do not try to do 2 batches at a time.

2) Clean everything in between batches so you are ready as soon as the batch comes out of the water bath

3) Jam should have fruit pieces in it.  If you want bigger pieces don’t crush as much

2nd batch

2nd batch

last year jam

This is the last jar from last years batch I just opened today to make toast for my son

ready

prepare strawberries

water batch

fill stock pot 1/ way with water

mushed 1 mushed5 cups sugar rolling boiljars hot jam funnelgrippers filled and ready to can going inboiling