Select and wash fruits. Remove stems, hulls, and blossom ends. Cut hard fruit in quarters. Do not pare or remove seeds.
Extraction of Juice Soft Fruit: Use just enough water to prevent fruit from sticking. Heat gradually, stirring constantly. Crush fruit and cook until it has lost its color. Hard Fruit: Cook, with sufficient water to cover, until fruit is soft. Do not crush if a clear jelly is desired.
Straining the Juice: Pour cooked fruit into a wet flannel jelly bag.
Allow juice to drip into a large container. Do not squeeze fruit if a clear jelly is desired. When juice has stopped dripping return pulp to preserving kettle. Add sufficient water to cover. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, for thirty minutes. Again strain juice, but keep this second extraction separate from the first as the first extraction makes the clearest jelly. A third extraction may be made from some fruits, depending upon the pectin content.
Test for Pectin: Combine 1 tablespoon cooked fruit juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon Epsom salts. Stir until salts dissolve.
Allow to stand about 20 minutes. If juice contains sufficient pectin to make jelly, the mixture will form into a gelatinous mass or large flaky particles. If fruit juice shows only a small amount of pectin, use an equal volume of apple juice, which is rich in pectin, and a satisfactory jelly will be obtained.
Sugar Content of Jelly: Too large a proportion of sugar will result in a gummy jelly which can not be molded. Too small a proportion of sugar will result in a tough, dark jelly with an inferior flavor.
Currants, unripe grapes, and green gooseberries are about the only fruits which require an equal measure of sugar. Two-thirds as much sugar as fruit juice is the usual rule.
Cooking the Jelly: Work with a small quantity of juice, not more than two quarts at a time. Measure juice, heat rapidly to boiling.
Add sugar, stir until it is dissolved. Boil rapidly until a jelly test is obtained. The sugar may be heated before adding to boiling juice if desired.
The Jelly Test: Dip a spoon into the boiling liquid. Pour juice from spoon. If it sheets and two drops hang together from the side of the spoon, the jelly is done and must be removed from the fire immediately. Skim.
Sealing and Storing: Pour the jelly immediately into freshly sterilized glasses. Cover at once with a thin layer of melted paraffin. Roll the glasses to insure the entire surface being well covered. Cool. Cover with a second layer of melted paraffin. Label.
Store in a cool place.
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