Friday, March 12, 2010

Jelly! It's the tight-wad's friend!

Recently I was given some free apples from a friend's tree. They were quite tangy (read, 'sour and horrible') so were no good for eating. At the same time, a school notice came home begging for contributions to the school gala. "Home preserving" was one of the items requested.
Aha! said my inner tight-wad. (Actually who am I kidding? My tight-wad is not inner at all, it's an intrinsic personality trait that I wear proudly for all to see.) Let's make jelly!

Jelly is so delicious. It's a bit of an old lady cupboard item, I'll admit that. But it's beautiful like stained glass and has a delicate flavour that's good with pikelets or toast, or brushed over fruit tarts as a glaze, or even alongside roast lamb if you're into that.

This is how I make jelly: Don't even bother to peel or core your apples, just wash them and chop them into chunky pieces. Add other fruit if you have some to get rid of (I added four sour plums, just because). Add some water to the fruit- almost cover it but not quite. Simmer the fruit until it is soft. You can press it gently with a wooden spoon but FOR GOODNESS SAKES don't break it up too much or your jelly will be cloudy. When the fruit is soft, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Then, strain it though a clean cloth (I use a new 'chux' cloth) and let it drip through over night. You will be tempted to squeeze the bag, but I again I say DON'T DO THAT FOR GOODNESS SAKES or your jelly will be cloudy and old women will tsk tsk when they see it.

Then, measure your juice and bring it to a simmer. Add 2 c sugar for every pint of juice, and the juice of 1 lemon. Then boil until you reach a set (I have a stack of saucers in the freezer, then I put a little on the saucer and see if it forms a skin when I push my finger accross it).

Total cost: Jars, free. Apples, free. Sugar, $1.50. Total cost per jar, $0.30.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! And if you have any good tips for other things people like to buy at school fairs, please share!

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  1. Yum!! I too am a tightwad! One of my favourite things to buy at the 'old lady preserves table' at fairs is a tiny jar of sunshiney yellow lemon honey. It's not so much the tight wads friend, unless you have a tree and chooks, but!

  2. I love jelly-making, quince is my favourite, I look forward to quince-jelly-making weekend all summer! Yours looks perfectly ribbon!

  3. Well done Miss Smith - your patience and perserverance have paid off with smug preserves that will not sit around for long. harruh!

  4. From one tightwad to another, if I used plums would they mush? (it's those teeny weeny ones that are no good for anything else) Maybe if I kept it all at a very low heat to extract the juice. Anyway, I'll try it and if it looks half as good as yours I'll be doing well. Magazine address correct thanks.

  5. What a beautiful jelly! It's almost enough to make me throw over my longstanding anti-jelly stance and make up a few jars with the last of our apples. I'm usually a jam girl, but this...this could tip me over the edge!

    - Marsha

  6. indeed from one tight wad to another - I think it's a family thing. theres nothing better than making something for virtually nothing. I think that jelly looks delicious. I love buying that stuff at school fairs especailly if it is not outrageously priced. I also like knitted toys of certain type.

  7. I so want to make jelly but am too scared I will not be able to help myself and my impatience and just squish and squeeze!!! Love, Vic.

  8. jelly!

    I agree that quince is good. And redcurrant.

    Another twist is jelly to accompany savoury things - redcurrant, with a few chillies, peppercorns and some grated ginger added at the cooking stage (sometimes with some lemon halves thrown in for good measure) results in a lovely red jelly with a tangy bite - excellent with lamb. (a slurp of good white wine vinegar doesn't go astray, or a slurp of cheap port.)

  9. Old lady cupboard hahahah Love it. Will try this recipe. Thanks. How healthy you do reckon it is? COuld you alter the recipe?