So, last week in near 90 degree temps I picked all the tomatoes that were ripe in my garden and made tomato soup for the winter. It wasn't my fault, the tomatoes made me do it. And as we're still squeezing out the last of the 3 H's (hot, humid and hazy), I have no choice but to put food up at it's peak of ripeness. Yay, New York.
Today's adventure is making crabapple jelly. There's a tree near me that is bursting with fruit. I really don't know what kind it is, other than it's crabapple. The pull to use the fruit has been bothering me so I bought some jelly jars and decided to try it.
Next, strain. I needed to let the remaining juices drip. This is the pectin so it's not supposed to be rushed. I read to let it strain anywhere from a few hours to overnight. I used a clean pillowcase and put the mash into it (thanks Aunt Louella for the [pillowcase advise!). This way it holds the fruit which would either make the jelly cloudy or cause foam at the top. I rigged it up to my microwave door with the pot underneath. At first it was dripping every five seconds or so, right now it's down to every 35 seconds. (This is a great opportunity to sneak in the last of summer math: "if the juice drips every 15 seconds, how many drips will the pot collect in one hour...")
Once it reduced to about a third I added sugar. Most of the resources suggested 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar for each cup of un-reduced juice. Mine needed only about 3 cups of sugar total (This is where pectin will be necessary so it gels). The mixture was then brought to a boil while I washed and sterilized my canning jars. The juice has to thicken (sheeting stage) and mine took forever. At one point I was wondering if I'd have any juice left to can.
5 minutes in boiling water hopefully will seal the deal. They are resting now and so am I.