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The less sugar you use the greater the flavor impact of the fruit. If honey is used there will be a flavor change and the jellies/jams must be cooked longer. If you use artificial sweeteners use only the Cyclamate type to avoid bitterness and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Cooked down jellies in which the juice is extracted by the open kettle method contain 60% fruit versus commercial products [pressure cooked to extract more juice but pectin destroying] with only 45%
Jelly: has great clarity from dripping the cooked fruit through a cloth before adding sugar and finishing.
Jams, Butter and Pastes: are whole fruit purees of increasing density.
Marmalades, Preserves and Conserves: are bits of fruit in a heavy syrup.
High Pectin Fruits: Apples, Crabapples, Quinces, Red Currants, Gooseberries, Plums and Cranberries. These need no additional pectin.
If you get syrupy jelly you used too much sugar or did not cook the juice long enough after adding the sugar.
Low Pectin Fruits: Strawberries, Blueberries, Peaches, Apricots, Cherries, Pears, Blackberries, Raspberries, Grapes, Pineapple and Rhubarb. These require combining with high pectin fruits or adding a commercial pectin.
To Test Pectin Content: Put 1 tbl cooled fruit juice in a glass. Add an equal amount of grain alcohol and shake gently. The alcohol will bring the pectin together in a gel. If a large amount of pectin is present it will appear in a single mass or clot when poured from the glass. Use equal amounts of juice and sugar. If the pectin collects in several small particles use have as much sugar as juice.
To sterilize jelly glasses: fill jars ¾ full of water and place them in a shallow pan partly filled with water. Simmer 15 min and then keep hot until filled. If the lids are placed on the steaming jars they will be sterilized simultaneously.
Tips: -Use enamel or stainless steel pots not aluminum or copper.
-On average, use ¾ c sugar to 1 c fruit or juice depending on pectin content[see above].
-Very acid fruits can tolerate a whole c of sugar.
-Sterilize jars and seal tightly.
-For fruit that tends to discolor add lemon juice or Ascorbic acid.
-Keep in a cool dark place but do not refrigerate.
Making Jam: is easiest and most economical as it needs only one cooking step and uses the pulp. Measure the fruit. In putting it in the pan, crush the lower layers to provide moisture until more is drawn out by cooking or add a little water. Simmer the fruit until it is soft. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring to avoid sticking. Reduce heat and cook until thickened- up to ½ hr.
Making Preserves and Conserves: Place fruit in a pot with an equal amount of sugar in layers ending with sugar on top and allow to rest overnight. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer until fruit is translucent. Drain fruit and put in sterile jars. Simmer syrup longer if necessary to thicken it and pour over fruit. Seal and store.
Submitted By JIM WELLER On 11-26-95