Jelly Making

Preparing the Fruit

  1. SELECT a mixture of slightly underripe and ripe fruit and prepare it in small lots at a time.
  2. Wash fruits, discarding any spoiled parts.
  3. Cut hard fruits, such as crab apples, quinces and applies into pieces. Berries and currants may be slightly crushed.
  4. Add enough water to barely cover hard fruits (about one pint of water for each pound of fruit). Currants, grapes and berries need only enough water to start them cooking (about 1/4 cup water for each quart of fruit). Boil until fruit is tender.
  5. Put the hot cooked fruit at once into a jelly bag and let drip. When dripping has almost ceased, press jelly bag. Re-strain juice through a fresh jelly bag to make juice as clear as possible.


PECTIN is that substance in some fruits that when heated and combined with fruit acid and sugar causes the substance to congeal or "jell"." Not all fruit contains this substance, but the homemaker may extract the pectin from fruits that are known to contain it, such as apples, plums, quinces, etc., and combine it with other fruit juices and feel quite confident that she can make jelly, or use orange or lemon pectin (page 25) or commercial pectin. When using commercial pectin, be sure to follow the recipe that come with the pectin.

To Test Juice for Pectin

THE juice may be tested to determine whether it contains sufficient pectin to make jelly. The amount of pectin will indicate the amount of sugar to be used.

  1. To one teaspoon of cooked juice, add one teaspoon of grain alcohol and stir slowly. Wood or denatured alcohol may be used but DO NOT TASTE as the latter two are POISIN.
    1. Juices rich in pectin will form a large amount of bulky gelatinous material.
    2. Juices moderately rich in pectin will form a few pieces of gelatinous material.
    3. Juice poor in pectin will form small flaky pieces of sediment.
  2. Or mix 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon Epsom Salts, 2 tablespoons cooked fruit juice. Stir well and let stand for 20 minutes. If mixture forms into a semi-solid mass the juice contains sufficient pectin.

Pectin must be added to juices poor in pectin by adding other juice which is high in pectin (see pectin recipe, page 25) or commercial pectin may be used.

To Test for Acid

JUICE rich in pectin may lack acid to make good jelly. The fruit juice should be as tart as one teaspoon lemon juice mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. If necessary, lemon juice may be added to the fruit juice. Usually one tablespoon lemon juice to each cup of fruit juice is sufficient.

Adding the Sugar

THE amount of sugar to be added will be determined by the pectin content of the juice.

Juices Sugar (for each cup juice)
Rich in pectin 3/4 cup
Poor in pectin 1/2 cup

Juice should be boiling when the sugar is added. Boil jelly as rapidly as possible.

As a rule jellies and preserves made in small quantities are more satisfactory. Work with not more than 6 to 8 cups of juice at a time. Use a kettle that will hold 4 to 6 times as much juice as used. Unsweetened fruit juices may be canned during summer and made into jellies as wanted.

Testing for the Jelly Point

DIP a spoon in the boiling jelly. As it nears the jellying point it will drop from the side of spoon in two drops. When the drops run together and slide off in a flake or sheet from the side of the spoon, the jelly is finished and should be removed from the heat at once.

A candy or jelly thermometer may be used in testing for the finished jelly. The temperature of the boiling juice at the jellying point will be from 220° to 222° F. at sea level. At higher altitudes the temperature will be lower.

Remove the foam from the jelly and pour at once into sterilized KERR Jelly Glasses. The glasses should be dry. Fill glasses with jelly only to within 1/4 inch of the top.

Sealing with Paraffin

AS SOON as jelly is cold and firm it is ready to seal. With a damp cloth remove any particles of jelly that may be on glass above surface of jelly. Melt paraffin over a low heat until it is hot. Pour a thin layer of paraffin over the jelly. Slightly rotate the glass as soon as paraffin is poured on so paraffin will stick to glass above the surface of the jelly. Use only enough paraffin to completely cover surface of jelly. Place clean dry lid on jelly glass. Label and store jelly in a cool, dry place.

To make jelly with all white corn syrup or honey use 3/4 cup syrup or 1 cup honey to each cup fruit juice. However, flavor of syrup or honey may be more pronounced than the fruit flavor. It is best to replace not more than 1/2 the sugar with white corn syrup or honey by using one cup syrup or honey for each cup sugar omitted. Proceed same as for jellies made with sugar.

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