Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cherry Jelly

Today I did something I've never done before: I made jelly. I even heat processed it - although if you're not into that, keeping it in the freezer accomplishes the same thing. I just think it's neat to can something.

I made my jelly with Nanking cherries. They grow on a strange little shrubbery. I found them growing in the park where I work (in behind Boffin's, for the locals). There are a variety of edible things growing there - a few Saskatoons, some pincherries, some crabapples, and some lovely looking Nanking cherries. I've never picked them before, but after verifying via google that I did indeed find something I could make into jelly, I snuck back on my coffee break and picked the prescribed 6 cups of fruit.

Nanking Cherry Jelly
6 cups Nanking cherries
1 cup water
1 package powdered pectin, like Certo
4.5 cups sugar

1. Stem and wash Nanking cherries and place in a saucepan with water.

2. Bring to boil and simmer 15-20 minutes, until fruit is soft.

3. Line a strainer with 2 or 3 layers of cheesecloth. Place this over a bowl or another saucepan. Pour fruit into cheesecloth. Alternately, if you do this more often than I do and have a "jelly bag", or have that cone thingy that my mom uses to make jelly, use that.
4. Mash fruit to press out juice and strain. Measure the juice before you pour it back - you're aiming for 3.5 cups. If you're short, add water. I had to add nearly a cup of water, and my jelly is still delicious.

5. Return juice to saucepan and stir in pectin crystals. Turn heat to high, and stir until it boils. Add sugar, stirring well. Bring to a vigorous boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

6. Meanwhile, sterilize some jars. I'm a naughty home canner and reused a few I had already. This is not recommended by those people concerned with "food safety". New lids with old canning jars are fine, though. I put mine on a pan with some water in it and baked for 15 minutes at 225 degrees. Leave in the oven until time to bottle.
7. Fill jars to within 1/4" of the top. Put on lids and tighten as well as you can. If freezing jam, let cool on counter then move to freezer. If heat processing, fill canner or large pot with water. If you don't have a rack, place a towel in the bottom of the pot for cushioning. Once all the jelly is in jars, cover jars with water and bring to boil. Boil 10 minutes (start timer when rolling boil begins).

I made the three various sized jars shown, plus 2/3 of another jar about the size of the right one. I just put that one straight in the fridge. :) It seems to have set very well, and has a great tart-but-sweet taste. This recipe is meant specifically for Nanking cherries, but the procedure would work well for any kind of cherry or berry with pits or many seeds.

5 comments:

  1. WOW! I'm impressed! Very cool.

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  2. Your jelly turned out so nice looking. I especially like the jars you used. The color of the jelly is so pretty. I want to try my hand at some homemade jelly and jams too. Thanks for sharing the recipe and details.

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  3. thank you thank you thank you OH SO MUCH!
    i have just picked a pail of nanking cherries (this is the first year our bush has produced enough) and am about to embark on making jelly ... for my first time as well! your posting with pictures and wonderful directions is just what i needed to give me the courage to carry on ... (i've been weak in the knees as my mom and sister-in-law are pretty much queens of canning!)
    your first batch is so beautiful!
    fingers crossed i'll be posting a success tomorrow ...
    many thanks again ~
    prairiegirl

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