Sunday, February 26, 2012

Strawberry Jelly

Last Monday I made a WalMart run for cake supplies.  I prefer buying locally at the Pig as often as feasible;  however, it still pays to drive the forty mile roundtrip to Lucedale  for flour, butter, and confectioner's sugar.  Mama needed a few things from Chavers' Fruit Stand,  iconic of the mom-and-pop operations indigenous to the South, with the freshest produce south of Hattiesburg.  Mark (Chavers) had locally grown Eubanks strawberries for $16.00 a flat.  A flat; that's nine quarts of strawberries! 

The whole store smelled of red ripe strawberries, so much so that, like Pavlov's dog, I immediately began salivating.  My only thought was to procure a flat of them for the purpose of making jam to enjoy the flavor created by this smell later on in the year.

Only the ripest parts and strawberries were used to make the nine pints of jam Mama and I made Monday afternoon.  Roughly six cups of less ripe strawberries and pale bits and pieces were put in a non-reactive pan, covered with water, and brought to a slow boil for ten minutes to cook a very tart, delicate pink strawberry juice used to make this jelly.

It was strained through a flour sack dish cloth once;  the cooked strawberries then combined with fresh pears and a bit of sugar to make a simple compote.
WearEver aluminum really does last a very long time.  
See the handle burned off on this pot?  I'd say it came that way, but
I know otherwise.  This is a favorite pot at Mama's house.

For strawberry jelly 3 3/4 cups of juice, 4 1/2 cups of sugar, and a box of SureJell fruit pectin were used.

It really is a matter of following the directions for cooked jelly in the box.  I'm going to type them exactly as they are there and document with a few photos:

Stir 1 box pectin into fruit or juice in saucepot.  Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired (I don't add butter or margarine.  Mama does, though).

Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.

Stir in sugar quickly.  Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim off any foam.

Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.  Wipe jar rims and threads.  Cover with two-piece lids.  Screw bands tightly....

And then the directions go on to say to cold water bath it.   The USDA says to do that too.  Uhmmm....errrrrrr....  We never have.  Don't water bath it at your discretion...

Voila!  Six cups of jelly -- just like the directions said!

A half-pint of strawberry jelly and half-pint of jam were shipped to Gainesville, to the young man that is the 800th 'like' on Facebook.  I was so tickled it was him!  His paternal grandmother is one of those awesome encouraging souls you wonder if you're ever good enough to deserve knowing.  She's a friend -- a very good friend.  Apparently, she's a pretty incredible grandmother, too!  When she saw the page at 799 likes she asked her young-ish grandson if he'd login to his FB and oblige the 800th for me.  Without flinching, hesitating, or questioning in any manner, he did!  What kind of love is that? Amazing.  It's a beautiful thing in my life, knowing Mrs. Mary's there.  Thank you, ma'am.  Love you BIG!

We travel to New Orleans this coming Wednesday evening.  All of Mama's presurgery tests will be done Thursday with the mini-AVR scheduled for one o'clock Friday, March 2nd.  If y'all don't hear from us soon, you know why.  Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and support.  <3 you all!!

1 comment:

  1. My goodness, Mary, now I'm the one blushing! Such kind words. I'm so fortunate to know you - it really feels like kismet sometimes. Amazing and wonderful. Gotta' make that jelly, too. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Like you don't have anything to do or somethin'! ! <3<3<3 And xo xo xo from Hud! YUM! Thanks so much. maryb