The Best Jelly You’ll Ever Put In Your Face

img_1518

Ahh the blooms on the wild Mexican Plum tree. They bloom in early spring, and we have to worry our heads off over a late freeze and the spring storms that tend to roll through, taking all the blooms off. We are lucky enough to have two trees growing wild in our yard.

mg_9613sm

The plums are generally ripe in mid to late September. The Mexican Plum is not a Sand Plum, they ripen earlier in the year and have a smooth leaf, whereas the Mexican Plum has a fuzzy one. Pa is really the one to ask though, he knows all about them. What do I know? Well, how to make Pa’s favorite jelly, of course. It’s a lot of hard work, I tell ya. Poor ole Ma’s arm is generally dead after juicing all them plums. Sadly, last year we only got a handful of plums, not near enough to shake a stick at. This year we are not sure what happened, but it doesn’t look as though we will be harvesting any. Two years ago, however, we had a bumper crop. I juiced all of them that I could, I near thought my arm might fall right off. I took all that wonderful juice and froze it on up all measured out and ready to make a batch of jelly per gallon Ziploc freezer bag.

IMG_20130621_162202

When I need to make a batch of jelly, I pull me a bag out and get busy. I am never patient enough to just let the juice thaw, I cut that bag right off and plop it right into my jelly makin pot.

IMG_20130621_162211

Now, because I want everything to go smoothly, I go ahead and get my pectin open and ready to pour. I also get my sugar all measured out ready to go in the pot when the time is right.

IMG_20130621_162533

Whenever I am in the kitchen, Merle always has to be right behind me. I admit sometimes it is a bit unnerving, but I know he is just there to make sure I am doing it all right. I’m fairly sure Pa has put him up to it.

IMG_20130621_163256

When you start with frozen juice, it is important to stir, stir, stir. If you do not, then that juice will scorch to the bottom of your pot. Yes, I speak from experience. Also, you want that juice warm, not boiling hot, but warm BEFORE you add that pectin. If you try to add the pectin when the juice is still cold, the pectin will clump up and never completely dissolve. Again, I speak from experience. Add the pectin and stir, stir, stir.

IMG_20130621_164237

See that steam rising there? Well, let me tell you it is hot, and will burn you if you hold your hand over the pot too long in one place. So be sure to stir, stir, stir. Keep on a stirring until the juice and pectin come to a boil. Then it is time for a little magic.

IMG_20130621_164556

Once that juice and pectin comes to a boil, it is now time to add all that sugary goodness. Be sure to stir, stir, stir.

IMG_20130621_164608

That’s  a little sugar, huh? Well, now the stirring is really important. Stir, stir, stir until it all dissolves, and then the magic is revealed.

IMG_20130621_164754

Just look at the clear pretty color! Oh man, I love it when that happens. At this point, you will need to, you guessed it – stir, stir, stir! Keep on a stirring that jelly until it comes to a boil.

IMG_20130621_165726

Once it comes to a boil, set your timer for exactly one minute. Guess what you do now? Yep, you got it… stir, stir, stir until that timer goes off. Then turn the heat off and remove that pot from the burner. You can finally stop stirring. Whew!

IMG_20130621_170020

Now, you wanna take a spoon and get as much of that foam off the top as you can.

IMG_20130621_170148

I have made enough of this jelly that I know I will get exactly nine jelly jars full per batch. I get them all out of the dishwasher where I keep them hot by setting it to heated dry. If a dishwasher will sterilize baby bottles, then it will sterilize my canning jars as well. That there blue handled ladle is my favorite jelly dipping spoon. I get everything all set up and ready to go.

IMG_20130621_170622

Then I start filling them jars. You will see the ones there that I have already filled still have a bit of foam on them. I use a teaspoon once they are all poured, and scoop it out. I find that works better with this jelly in the end.

IMG_20130621_171722

Now, if you have never made jelly, it is important to carefully wipe the rim off with a nice clean dishcloth. The jars will not properly seal if there is any jelly residue left on the rim.

IMG_20130621_171957

Then I pull nine lids out of the dishwasher, which is still on heated dry to keep them nice and hot.

IMG_20130621_172052

Back to the dishwasher for the rings, which I screw down tight on the jars, making sure to keep the lids centered on the jar.

IMG_20130621_172439

Now with jelly, you can do a water bath to seal the jars, and some just turn the jar upside down on a kitchen towel to cool. I was given a tip a couple of years ago, to just put them right back in the dishwasher and run them through a quick cycle.

IMG_20130621_172213

Just look at that beautiful, clear jelly! Pa absolutely loves this jelly. One of his favorite uses is on a grilled cheese sammich. But he will eat it on toast, biscuits, mixed in oatmeal, or just a spoon straight out of the jar.

IMG_20130621_162822

Just in case you wondered, Merle is still there, right behind where I stand to stir, stir, stir.

Be sure to check back, I see much more jelly makin in my near future.

And with that, I’m off!

Ma

Advertisement

2 thoughts on “The Best Jelly You’ll Ever Put In Your Face

  1. I’m a newbie to jelly-making and am wondering how many cups of Mexican Plum juice do you use in this recipe, please? I made out 8 c. of sugar and a box of powdered pectin, but not sure on the juice measurement, and I wouldn’t hazard a guess. Thank you in advance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s