Where has all of my time gone? I used to have a lot more – and little at a time it has been taken away from me. I am lucky if I am able to cook or bake anything over the weekends these days – and I am living one day at a time. If I can make it through the day without anything slipping through the cracks – that is success. But cooking has not been the priority lately (aside from dinners each night, which have been served later and later each week). Fortunately, I know that things are about to change soon, so there is no need to completely give up hope at this point.
Normally I have quite the stash of jam that lasts an entire year, but for some reason this year all of a sudden, the pantry was bare. It is around this time that I start gearing up for the next jam season, but not this spring. There is just too much going on, that the thought of making jam just stresses me out – and it is supposed to be a relaxing activity. So, I talked to my younger daughter about the fact that we just need to get through the next couple of months, and could I just buy some good jam from the market to get us through? Right. She didn’t go for it at all. She told me that she could never eat store bought jam again – and the thought of not making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that are just SO easy to pack in lunches, stressed me out even more. I guess I created this mess…
So, I went to the famer’s market to see what was in season. There was one stand with a few stalks of rhubarb, but the price scared me away – so I ended up at my favorite apple cider stand. I almost bought the normal spiced cider that I buy in the fall, when I noticed he had some raspberry apple cider. That was it. This is one of the easiest jellies to make, and with the addition of raspberry, I wouldn’t even add any other spices. Sold.
I carved out a couple of hours (I actually blocked it on my calendar) and successfully banged out two batches of this stuff – more than enough to last the next couple of months, and boy was it satisfying. If nothing else, it is one less thing to worry about. Now I can focus on the other 100 things…
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 (1.75 ounce/50 g packet) powdered pectin
- 4 cups fresh pressed raspberry apple cider
Fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to temperature. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat (but do not boil) in order to soften the sealing compound.
Measure the sugar into a blow. Whisk the powdered pectin into the sugar to blend. In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the cider and the pectin-spiked sugar. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat for 15-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the volume in the pot is greatly reduced. While you continue to stir, clip a candy thermometer to the pot and watch until the pot reaches 220 degrees F. There will be a great deal of foaming and bubbling before it reaches this point. It should look thick and syrupy and the bubbles should look glossy.
Test the set of the jelly using the saucer test (place a saucer in the freezer when you start – when you think the jam is done, place a drop on the plate and return to the freezer for 1-2 minutes, it should wrinkle when you push on it). If it doesn’t pass, return the pot to the heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes before repeating the test. When the jelly has reached the desired consistency, turn off the heat and fill the jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 10 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter. When the jars are cooled, check the seal by pressing on the top of the jar. If there’s no movement, the jar has sealed. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place.
Makes 4 pints (yield varies depending on width of pot, cooking length and juiciness of fruit).
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