|This is what Rogue does to cherries.|
The first thing I noticed was the madness of its measurement system. It's rather odd, because most people will say, "I have x lbs of cherries. How much jelly can I make?" This recipe begins at the end, by asking how much jelly you wish to make. That would not be so bad, except that the amount you will make is proportional to the amount of juice you have, which is dependent upon the amount of water you add to it, which is inversely proportional to the unknown amount of juice your unmeasured cherries will make, and you can't discover how much water you need until you cook your cherries, which demands the water up front. I just threw in half a cup to start and figured I'd add more if I needed to round up. That seemed to work well.
|These are the cherries she didn't get.|
The first thing we need is juice, so I took about a half gallon of cherries - all the ones that Rogue had not already cooked into
|Fracking operation, commence|
That operation is essentially the same with any jelly you want to make. In fact, if you really want to make jelly, you can skip the entire preceding paragraphs and just open a big bottle of Welch's grape juice. What follows will work with that or just about any juice. So anyway, we have juice; let's make jelly.
I fracked about 3 1/4 cups of cherry juice, so we're going to add 1/4 cup of water and pretend that we had 3 1/2. That will let us follow this recipe without scaling.
1. Put the juice in the big pan, along with a cup of water and a whole box (1.75 oz) of pectin. I actually have a 10# jar of pectin I bought on ebay for the cost of 10 1.75 oz boxes, so bust out the scale and let's pretend I overpaid for a box of pectin. Bring that sucker to a boil. A real boil, not one of those sad sack bubblers that disappear when you stir them.
2. While you're bringing it to a boil, get your canner boiling as well. You can use the small 8qt one if you'd like, because you'll be using half-pints and smaller jars. I used the big one just because it was not put away from last time. I'm lazy like that. Sue me.
3. Once you have a good rolling boil going in the juice, add 4 1/2 cups of sugar. That's a lot of sugar, I know, but most jellies are about equal parts sugar and juice, so if that bothers you, stick to jam where you can reduce the sugar or substitute honey or something else. I actually prefer jam, but this recipe is what it is so let's get on with it.
4. Bring it to a boil again. Now this will be a different kind of boil. The last boil was a tame if playful boil. This one will use the second you're not looking to jump out of the pot and gel your entire stovetop for you. So keep an eye on it. As soon as it bubbles up to the top of the pot, stir it like mad and set your timer. One minute is all you need. Stir, baby, stir. Then cut the heat.
|I hope one of the lids doesn't seal|
It's a pretty fast operation, all told. I made the juice last night and left it in the fridge overnight, so from juice to jelly tonight took less than an hour. I ended up with about 40 oz of jelly, as you can see, plus a little bit extra that I shared with Molly because she was #3 in "three's a crowd" tonight. Sometimes a kid needs warm jelly on french bread with Dad.
It was possibly the best jelly I've ever made. I was a little worried about the high sugar, as I'm not a fan of overly-sweet concoctions, but because my cherries tend to the sour side the balance was magnificent. I'll need to hide these jars in the pantry to ensure that last year's apply jelly gets eaten first. And there is no danger, none, that they will suffer the same fate as 2008's pear butter.