Home: Jam

We love jam and jelly and preserves. I eat them on yogurt on toast and I often use it on meats for a glaze with a bit of sweetness. In the last year I’ve made all sorts of varieties. This last week I finally walked to the end of our yard and picked some prickly pears for jelly!

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I have to say, I’ve kinda avoided this as I really hate stickers! But I read on the internets that you can burn the stickers off and that really helps things. It totally works, I got around 3 or 4 stickers in my hands the whole time I made the jelly. One of them was on the pitcher of juice in the fridge a day after I picked them so you know those stickers are wily!

I boiled it for ten minutes of so to loosen up all the pulp and then strained it in dish towels for a few hours. Do you buy cheese cloth? I don’t, I buy those 99cent dish cloths from ikea in bulk and toss ’em in the rag bin when they start to look gross.  The next day I had about 3 quarts of juice. I put about 9 cups in my great big jelly pan and let it oil for a few minutes to reduce just a titch, then I added 5 cups of sugar, I prolly could have gone a bit lower on the sugar but jelly has me adding more sugar as I hate when it doesn’t set. To the juice/sugar combo I added about 2 cups of lemon juice and then I slowly started adding some really hot habanero hot sauce we had in the fridge. I wanted this to be spicy but not overwhelm the delicate prickly pear flavor. Once I had it to the right flavor I added a bit more to compensate for the canning process, everything seems to get less spicy when it’s done. Then I added 6-7 tablespoons of the low sugar pectin I typically use until I got a nice thick set on my cold plate in the freezer.
As you can see when it comes to jam and jelly making I’m a bit more wing it than most people. I tend to trust my instincts and over do it to make sure everything turns out the way I want it. More sugar, more pectin. I kinda understand those people that want things to taste super natural and fresh but um…it’s not. You’ve added sugar and cooked it. At least get a product your happy with that lasts. I ended up with 9 half pint jars. Most recipes typically call for making much smaller batches than that, I get away with it by using that giant pan and my super hot range. Your mileage may totally vary.
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Can’t wait top pop one of these open and put some of the jelly on whole wheat bread with some almond butter!

This entry was posted in Home: Nesting in the Woods....