If I have fresh ingredients at hand, I’m happy to use them, but I’m not averse to haunting the frozen food section for fruits–or the juice section, for that matter.
Since my three apple and two cherry trees are just babies, I get the ingredients where I can find them.
Today’s came from bottles: CheRefresh 100% cherry juice and the lime juice I always keep in the fridge.
So here’s the recipe:
1 quart (4 cups) unsweetened cherry juice
1 cup lime juice
3 2/3 cups sugar (remember the 2/3 rule I made up)
1 box no-sugar Sure Jell pectin
Sterilize the jars (about 5 or six half pints) in the boiling water bath you’ve prepared. Mix the sugar and pectin together.
In a stainless steel 5 quart flat bottomed pan, mix the cherry juice, lime juice, and sugar/pectin mixture. Set the temperature to med/high heat.
Stirring regularly, bring the mixture to a boil. Set the timer for 8 minutes. Lower the heat so that the mixture is at what I like to call The Edge of Boil.(sounds like a soap opera, doesn’t it?)
Keep stirring contiuously. If it’s boiling too hard, reduce heat; if it’s not boiling, turn it up.
When the timer hits 2 minutes, turn the heat up so that it gets to a hard boil. Hard boil it, stirring continuously until the time runs out. If it’s spattering, turn it down a bit. Boil, but not spatter.
I grabbed my phone and captured a picture of the hard boil. It looks like this:
Once the time is up, remove from heat and scoop into the sterilized jars. Put lids and rings into the water bath for a few minutes. Wipe the lip of each jar and put the lid on. Finger tighten.
Put it boiling water bath for 8 minutes.
Now here’s a secret: All the canning authorities (Ball, Mason, USDA, IRS) insist that you should NEVER re-use jar lids, as they might not re-seal.
Turns out, they usually will reseal. Indeed, those nice Smucker’s jelly jars from the store–guess what, they’ll reseal too, if done right.
I sterilize the lids, just like I do the new lids and rings, and put onto the jars. Finger tighten and put into the water bath for 8 minutes, just like the other jars.
The important part, especially with re-used lids and jars is to listen for the POP and CHECK TO MAKE SURE THE JAR IS SEALED. That little pop up thingy in the middle of the lid MUST be back down. If you can still pop it back and forth, your jar didn’t seal. Put it in the refrigerator and eat it first.
But don’t tell anyone I do this, or the USDA will be hunting me down with DAWGS (or worse, IRS agents) and I’ll be put on some Subversive Canners Enemies list.
Here’s a picture of 1 standard jar and 3 non-standard jars I used. They all sealed.
That third one was some sort of Italian pasta sauce jar I got, probably from my sister, because I wouldn’t waste my spaghetti on jarred sauce when real sauce is better with home canned tomatores (another subversive story or another day). But I digress.
The jelly came out a warm burgundy color, and the flavor has a very tart lime mixed with the sweetness of the cherry. Very tasty.
The Patient Husband played “Guess what flavor I made” with this jelly and couldn’t quite identify it but came up with cranberry as a guess. It is cranberry-like, but more complex with both flavors vying for top spot.
It set up in the fridge in my overflow jar, and next day at room temp.
This one’s a keeper.