Florida Backyard header image

All images © Daniel & Stacy Tabb and Boondock Studios

«   •   Home   •   »

Makin’ the Jelly

Well, I’ve never canned before, and I’ve never made homemade jam/jelly before…but I’m an intelligent human being with opposable thumbs and better than average reflexes, and I’ve planted 18 freaking tomato plants this year, so I need to get some practice in!

Using Christine Ferber’s Mes Confitures as for theory and baseline (though I will NEVER be comfortable with “open kettle” processing unless we’re eating it immediately), I started with a 3.5 lb bag of golden delicious apples.  Cut those in quarters (removing *only* the stems, leave seeds and skin on), and boiled them up for about half an hour in around 5 cups of water.  Then discovered I did not have a chinois, and after checking in on Amazon discovered I sure as hell wasn’t paying 40 bucks for one.  Instead I used our Oxo colander placed over a large mixing bowl, and pressed the fruit with the back of a spoon.  Then I gathered up the fruit pulp in a piece of damp cheesecloth, closed at the top with a twist tie, and hung it on our handy banana stand over the bowl overnight, so every bit of apple-y goodness could finish dripping out.


Expensive tools, unitaskers…a Jedi needs not these things.

This morning I strained out 4 1/4 cups of the juice and set that to boil with 4 2/3 cups of white sugar, the juice of one lemon and 1/4 tsp of lemon zest.  While that was climbing up to 221 degrees, I sterilized the pint jelly jars (this recipe fills FOUR with 1/2″ to 1″ headspace) and fittings in the big processing pot.  This is where an electric kettle comes in mighty handy, by the way.  By adding already-boiling water to the pot you’re reducing the amount of time it takes to get the whole enchilada boiling.

The leftover mixture seems to indicate the correct consistency was achieved, without the additional pectin I totally didn’t have on hand and was terrified I’d actually need.  So, woo!


I ladeled the pretty syrup into the four jars, capped them finger tight and stuck them in their water bath, processed them at a rolling boil for about 15 minutes.  Now they’re sitting on the counter, cooling, and awaiting their labels.


I know there is still room for failure, but about a minute after being set on the counter to cool, all four jars went “pop” as their seals tightened.  I choose to take that as a good sign, dammit.