Because of the concentration of a large amount of cane sugar in jelly, it is unwholesome, and should be used sparingly, if at all. Most women, however, desire to put up a few glasses of jelly to have on hand for special purposes, and a few recipes will be given for the kinds most commonly used. The fruit juice can be put up in glass jars, the same as canned fruit, if desired, and the jelly made as needed.
Large fruits, such as apples, should yield about 3 quarts of strained juice from 8 quarts of fruit and 4 quarts of water. Juicy plums will require only 3 or 3Y2 quarts of water to 8 quarts of fruit. Add the water to the fruit, and simmer slowly until done. Then hang up in a bag to drip. The time of boiling the juice after adding the sugar will depend on the concentration of the fruit juice, the proportion of sugar, and the pectin, and, in all probability, the degree of acidity. The two principal causes of failure in jelly making are: first, the common practice of adding too much sugar; second, the differing composition of fruit juices.
In a dry time, the juice in fruit is not very abundant, and the percentage of sugar is high. On the other hand, if fruit is picked after a rain, the amount of water in the juice is increased. As a result, the fruit from the very same tree yields juice with less sugar after a rain. These facts will explain why the amount of sugar that must be added to make the juice “jell” varies at different times.
If the juice is very much diluted, it should be boiled before the sugar is added, to concentrate it, so that the cooking after the sugar is added will not be too long. To each quart of juice, add i quart of sugar, bring to a boil, skim, and let boil gently until, when a spoon is dipped into the jelly and lifted, it is coated with jelly.
Then pour into hot glasses, and set away until cool. Another test used, perhaps more frequently, is the cooling test. Drop a tea-spoonful of the jelly into a saucer, set in a cool place, and stop the boiling of the jelly until you determine whether the mixture will set. As soon as the jelly is hardened, pour a thin coat of hot paraffin over the top of each glass, and it is ready to store.
Select currants that are not too ripe. Wash them, but do not stem. Drain well. Mash a small quantity at a time in a stone crock, with a potato masher, and squeeze through cloth. Then strain the juice again without squeezing, so that the liquid may be clear. Put the liquid on the fire, in a porcelain-lined kettle, and bring to a boil. Heat the sugar in the oven separately ; and when the juice has boiled from 15 to 20 minutes, stir in the hot sugar, quart for quart, and continue stirring until it is dissolved. Bring to a boil, skim, and let boil 2 minutes. Take glasses out of hot water, fill them with the boiling liquid, and set away until jellied. Then cover with paraffin, as usual.
1 quart cranberries 1 pint water 1 pint sugar
Pick berries over, wash, and drain well. Add 1 pint water to the berries, and let boil 8 minutes after boiling begins. Mash through a colander, add sugar, and bring to a boil. Skim, and let boil gently for 4 minutes. Then pour into hot glasses or jars. When set, pour hot paraffin over the top of each glass.
1 quart cranberries 3 cups water 1 1/2 cups sugar
Pick over the berries carefully, wash, and drain. Bring the water and sugar to a boil, add the berries, and let boil slowly for 15 minutes ; then set aside to cool.