Last year I decided to try canning. My mom had canned several different things while I was growing up so I thought maybe I could do it too (plus I had an excellent resource to bother with all my questions!) Last year I started with canning tomatoes, salsa, and pickles. They all turned out great so this year I am canning again, but this year I am adding jelly to my canning journey. A couple days before I left to visit my husband I decided to make the jelly (my parents wonder what is wrong with me to start these projects when I have a lot going on, plus did I mention that in addition to having the house on the market, a rain storm caused a crack in the kitchen ceiling and while I was in the middle of the jelly it was being repaired!)
Now if you are thinking that jelly must be really hard to make, here is a secret- its actually really easy (just time consuming)!! All you need are sterile jelly jars, a large pot of boiling water to heat them so they seal, pectin, fruit and a lot of sugar. I used Ball pectin, which has the recipes for all their jelly. They suggest using butter in the recipes, so they don't build up foam, but you can easily scrape that away and if your children can't have milk (like one of mine) it is still milk-free.
I made three different types of jelly: raspberry, strawberry and sweet cherry. This is the best time of the year to tackle this project with all the fruit being in season, which means ripe and cheap fruit. I had a raincheck for the strawberries at Meijer (they were $1 a pound!), the raspberries were $1 per container at Kroger and the cherries were actually from last year, I had frozen them- they were actually the hardest to do because I had to pit all of them (luckily my mom has a cherry pitter, but it is still messy!) In the end I had 28 jars and plan to make several more. They are great gift and if you price jelly it can be quite expensive (plus this is much better!). Initially the project will cost the investment of the jars, but they can be reused, except for the inner lid (which are pretty cheap).
I will be posting about the pickles I made next week and hope to can more in the coming weeks!