Monday, July 12, 2010

Jam/Jelly Tips

It’s Jam/Jelly making season around here. We’re kicking off with strawberries in the Northwest but the blue-, rasp- and blackberries, peaches, and so many other fruits are not far behind. Here are some quick my tips for making SEEDLESS strawberry jelly. That’s right, I make seedless strawberry jelly. I’ve made jelly this “secret” way for 4 years now and can’t believe everyone isn’t doing it this way. You can use these tips for more than just strawberries, but people don’t believe me that I make strawberry jelly without seeds. I’m here to share that it can be done!

1)You have to pick the best berries to get the best jelly/jam. I went to a local u-pick to get my strawberries. When selecting strawberries you need to find the best ripe berries you can. These are perfect berries that are fully ripened on the vine. Once you pick a berry it will not ripen, green is green. Also, you don’t want blemishes. Go in the early morning or at least try to get them when it isn’t about 75 F outside, the heat will wilt them and they won’t last as long, even in the fridge. You only have about 24 hours to make your jelly from the time you pick them, unless you’re going to freeze them and come back to the juice or berries at a later date.

2)Wash your berries only once you’re ready to consume them or start your jelly process. Washing them makes them spoil sooner. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use yucky berries, whether it’s been nibbled by a bug or starting to mold/rot. The quality and longevity of your final product is dependent on the quality of berry you select to use. Remove the tops but you don’t have to remove the white core, it won’t affect your jelly because of the next step...

3)Bring out your Jack LaLanne Juicer! Yes a juicer. I guess any brand might do but I’ve found ZERO seeds and I get almost a dry product out the back side with my “Jackie.” I get more juice this way than with cheesecloth or grandma’s method of using nylons. And I don’t stain my hands. Juice those suckers up good, but you can add some crushed berries to the mix if you want some seeds. Tom, my husband, likes to have some chunkiness to his jam, or it isn’t a good PBJ, so I do a 50/50 juice to mushed berries to make him happy too.

4)Now you need to follow the directions your box of Pectin gives you for making strawberry jam. Strawberries need more pectin than blackberries or raspberries so don’t try to substitute either recipe for strawberry. If you like your jelly really firm you may even want to add a ¼ of another pectin box.

5)You have to do jelly in small batches or you’d have to cook it for a long time and then your pectin would break down causing a runny jelly. So do it one batch at a time.

One of the big reasons I remove all of the seeds is that there are few people with diverticulitis or other colon/intestinal issues that get to enjoy blackberry, raspberry, or strawberry jam. Several people in my family have to be careful about this. This is a great gift for those people in your lives. Just slap on a decorative label (you can get templates from Microsoft Office or make your own with Publisher or another computer program. You can also theme several jellies together with a fabric topper. Make sure to label them as seedless because people may just assume they can’t have your wonderful gift. Also label ingredients used if you think there are dietary restrictions of some of your recipients.

If you’re looking for recipes, tips, or places to pick fruit in your area, veggies too, visit If you’re looking to pick up a Jackie of your own, I’d try first as many people fall in love with the idea of juicing and fall out of love with it just as fast. They are easy to clean, efficient, very quiet for a juicer (don’t do it while the baby’s sleeping, a little common sense is required), and they are pretty safe. The infomercial actually took it into the classroom to have some kindergarteners make their own juice. (This is not an ad for the Jackie or for the Pick Your Own website, but I do love them and depend on them for accuracy and getting the job done right the first time.)

Till next time folks,


My Little Sister’s Farm

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