My birthday this year went really, extremely well. My husband had to fly out the night of my birthday, so he treated me to a nice day while he was here, and I had to take him to the airport that evening after dinner. It was barely even 6:30pm, so I called a new friend of mine to see if she'd like to make some salmonberry jelly with me. She had just won the blue ribbon at the Fair the previous weekend, so she was more than willing to show me the ropes.
I was amazed at how simple it was to make jelly. The hardest part for me was getting enough juice out of my salmonberries that I had collected this summer. See, I froze mine (it makes the skins more willing to break and release those yummy juices) but they weren't quite thawed out by the time I got to her house. I took some elbow grease on my part to get those bad boys beat into submission, but I managed!!
My first attempt came out a little on the sweet side, but I have such a major sweet tooth that I was like, "Bring it on!". Amazingly enough, I ended up giving away 5 of my 7 jars of salmonberry jelly I made to my dear friends and family, so it's a good thing I picked lots more berries this week so I can make another batch!! I've already gotten requests from all over for jars of my jams and jellies I'll be making. I don't want to get too ahead of myself, I just started doing this!
Anyway, if you've been fearing jarring/canning, trust me, if I can do it, you can do it. Just take it step by step (like a Daring Bakers challenge!!) and make sure you have adequate time and equipment and you'll do fine. Here's the recipe:
-4 cups of your favorite berries (I used salmonberries, but blackberries/raspberries/etc will do just fine), if you prefer seeds in your jam, don't strain, but if you're making jelly, then you'll need to strain the juice out of your berries and discard the pulp and seeds
-4 to 5 cups of sugar
-1 box of pectin
-mason jars (you can pick the size- mini, regular, jumbo)
-lots of water
Instructions: In a large pot, heat enough water to cover your jars. Place your jars face down, and make sure you put your lids and rings in the water too. Once it boils, allow to boil for 10 minutes (10 minutes seems to be the rule of thumb for canning). Carefully remove the lids and jars from the water and allow to rest on your counter while you make your jam/jelly. In a medium/large saucepan over medium heat, combine the juice, pectin and sugar. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Once the mixture bubbles, continue to stir for about a minute. Remove from heat and ladle into your jars (my friend used a really cool funnel for this, but you don't have to if you're careful). Fill to the lower ring (about 1/4" inch from the tippy-top) and screw on the lids and rings hand-tight, but not super duper tight. Place in the boiling water for 10 more minutes. Remove from the water and allow to cool on the counter. You'll hear the lids pop, that's a good thing, that means they're sealed. Allow to cool overnight prior to re-tightening their rings.
This was so much fun! A very girly thing to do on my birthday. I decorated mine with some flannel and ribbon. Word to the wise: when decorating jam jars, don't use slippery ribbon. You're better off using twine or something that's grippier than ribbon. You would not believe the sheer amount of expletives I uttered when trying to tie those damn flannel squares on the lids. But, in retrospect, they sure do look purdy.
I'm looking forward to this weekend where I'll get to do some more canning, and then send them out to spread joy over the Earth! Have a good weekend!