Date: May 1989 (Revised April 1995)
Source: University of Wisconsin
If you make jelly without commercial pectin, about 1/4 of the fruit should be slightly underripe.
If you use commercial pectin, all fruit should be ripe but still firm. In either case, wash the fruit well in cold water, but do not let it stand in water.
The method of preparing fruit varies. Crush soft fruits or berries. Cut firmer fruits into small pieces. Using the peels and cores adds pectin to the juice during cooking.
Add the amount of water specified for the fruit being cooked. The amount varies from none to one cup per pound of fruits. Bring the fruit and water to a boil and simmer until the fruit is soft. Stir to prevent scorching during cooking. Cooking may be five to ten minutes for soft fruits and 15 to 20 minutes for firm fruits.
When the fruit is ready, pour it into a damp jelly bag set in a colander over a large kettle, or simply hung over the kettle. To get absolutely clear jelly, let the juice drip until it stops; then either throw away the pulp or use it to make a fruit butter. You will extract more juice by squeezing the bag, but the juice will not be clear. In this case, after you have gotten out all the juice possible, re-strain it--without further squeezing--through several layers of damp, clean cheesecloth or jelly bag.
If you are not going to make jelly right away, you may can apple or grape juice. Process pints or quarts in a boiling water bath canner for 5 minutes. Or, juices may be put into rigid freezer containers, leaving one and one-half to two inches headspace and frozen for later use.
If you need additional information, please contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.
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