I seriously have a new favorite jelly.
It’s just the right balance between sweet and tangy. And I could eat it out of the jar with a spoon.
It probably tastes even better to me because every one of these raspberries came from our own bushes. I picked them at their peak, and froze them to be used at my convenience.
There’s a reason I made jelly rather than jam, however. And I must warn you, it’s much less glamorous than I’d like to admit. Jam is usually a better use of the berries, because there isn’t anything leftover to discard. With jelly you strain out the pulp and seeds and only use the juice of the berries, so there’s a lot left over. If the raspberries you are working with have gritty seeds, you may prefer to make jelly over jam.
Our berries didn’t have gritty seeds in them… but they did have worms.
I know. I told you it wasn’t glamorous. It is, however, real life. At least there was extra protein in the pulp for the chickens to enjoy. (Always look on the bright side!)
If you remember, back in September I shared that I was having trouble with the Spotted Wing Drosophila, the larva of which were the worms in my berries. I hated to waste all of those beautiful berries on account of a few little worms. So yeah, I froze them anyways.
When I thawed the berries and saw the little worms floating around in the juice, it was immediately apparent to me that there was no way to pick them out. Thus, the jelly. Thanks to the tight knit of a jelly bag, it is possible to strain out all of that lovely juice without any of the worms getting into your jars. Worm guts? Maybe. But let’s not go there.
Here’s how to make a delicious seedless raspberry jelly…
If you are working with fresh berries, wash and drain them well before getting started. If you’re using frozen berries, hopefully they were washed before they were frozen. Make sure to remove any stems and rotten berries.
Dump the berries into a large stainless steel pot, warm them over low heat, and crush the berries using a potato masher or something similar. The more you crush, the more juice you’ll get. You don’t want to cook them, just barely warm them to help draw out the juice. You might even turn the heat completely off once they’ve been warmed a little. Do not add water.
Using a ladle, fill a Jelly Bag with the crushed berries and juice. Hang it over a bowl to drain for several hours. Squeeze the bag to help the juices flow out (I like to use two wooden spoons to squeeze the bag on either side, to keep my hands from being stained with the juice.) If you have a juice press, something that will squeeze the berries in a bag, that would definitely be the most efficient way to extract the juice.
As a side note, a friend of mine recently introduced me to her Welles Juice Press(actually an Amish-made replicate of such). It worked AMAZINGLY well for squeezing the juice out of the grapes we were working with. I couldn’t believe how dry the pulp was when we were done. I’m searching the internet for directions on how to make my own, ’cause these presses are super expensive when bought new.
Once you have your juice, measure exactly how much you end up with. The amount you have will determine how much pectin and sugar you will need to use. If you need to add a little bit of water to bring the liquid to an exact amount, that is fine.
Pour the liquid back into the pot.
In a separate bowl, measure the exact amount of sugar you will need (See recipe below). If you want to make a low-sugar or sugar-free jelly, you will need to use a Low or No-Sugar-Needed Pectin.
Stir the pectin into the juice in the pot, and bring the liquid to a full rolling boil over high heat.
Once the liquid has reached a full rolling boil, quickly stir in the sugar (I prefer a wooden spoon for stirring jelly). Return to a full rolling boil and allow to boil for exactly 1 minute. This is where you have to be careful ’cause it can boil over very easily if you don’t watch it.
Remove from heat.
You may choose to skim off any foam from the top of the juice. This is merely for looks. My mother in law always told me that the foam on the top of the jelly was like candy to her as a kid, so I just leave it on there as a treat.
Quickly ladle the hot jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/8″ from the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a wet rag, to remove any sticky residue, and affix a previously simmered lid.
Lower the jars on a rack in a water bath canner (being sure the jars are covered by 1-2″ water). Bring to a boil, and process for 5 minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel or rack to cool for 18-24 hours. Check the lids to make sure the seals are tight before putting them away on your shelves. Don’t forget to label your jars with the contents and date!
Your jelly will be delicious and ready to enjoy as soon as the jars have cooled. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.
Raspberry Jelly Recipe
*Makes approx. 3 pints
- 5 pints berries
- 5 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 box powdered pectin
1. Wash berries; remove any stems and rotten berries. Drain.
2. Pour berries into a large, stainless steel stock pot, and heat over low just to warm. Crush berries to extract juice.
3. Ladle berries and juice into a jelly bag. Hang the bag to drain over a bowl for several hours, squeezing as necessary to remove the juices.
4. Measure the juice. You need 4 cups. Add water or another fruit juice as necessary to fill to this exact amount (you shouldn’t have to add much). Pour the juice back into the large stock pot.
5. Measure 5 1/2 c. sugar into a separate bowl. Do not reduce. If you want a low-sugar jelly, you’ll need to use a low-sugar pectin (which will have a different set of instructions).
6. Add 1 box of powdered pectin to the juice in the pot, and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.
7. Quickly pour in the sugar, and stir. Return to a full rolling boil, and allow to boil for 1 minute exactly. Remove from heat.
8. Ladle hot liquid into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/8″ headspace.
9. Wipe rims of jars with a wet rag, to remove any sticky residue.
10. Affix a previously simmered lid and ring.
11. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 5 min.
12. Remove from canner, and allow to cool on the counter for 18-24 hours before testing the seals on the lids.
I hope your family enjoys raspberry jelly as much as mine does!