I have made jelly!
I can’t help thinking of Tom Hanks’ line from the movie, “Castaway”, “I have made fire!”
Today is Saturday, my favorite day of the week, a day I get to choose what project I’m going to tackle. I was walking back from feeding the chickens and hanging out a load of laundry and I routinely check on the plants and plantings on my way back to the house. I discovered that the spearmint was about to leap out of the tub it’s planted in and invade the surrounding landscape. I decided I should try my hand at making jelly, something I’ve never done before in my whole life.
I checked the cupboard and sure enough I had a box of Sure Jell. I didn’t know how to use it but I had it. I put the box on the stove top. I got on the trusty internet and browsed for some mint jelly recipes. There are many from which to choose.
I got out my water bath canner and washed jars, lids and rings. I got the jars in the canner and started the sterilization process. I gathered the mint, washed it and put it in the pan with water to make the infusion the recipe called for. I also put the lids in a skillet of water to ready them for the sealing process. Meanwhile the box of Sure Jell is still on the stove top, which is now complete covered with pans of various and gigantic sizes.
I smell something burning. I don’t know where it’s coming from and I’m beginning to panic, when I catch site of a little smoke rising from the stove. I shift the gigantic canner and there is the smoldering box of Sure Jell. Not too burnt, just the outer box has a small hole in it. So glad it was no more than that. I make the decision that I can carry on with the project without having to make a trip to the store for more Sure Jell.
I used the recipe as far as the quantity of water mint and sugar, but also got a second opinion from the Ball Blue Book of Canning. BBB doesn’t use Sure Jell, so for a third opinion I pulled out the insert, slightly scorched and brown, from the Sure Jell box. Now the little packet of Sure Jell was slightly injured during the scorching incident, and about a tablespoon of it hardened up so that it was unusable. I make the decision to continue on with the remaining ingredients.
I used the recipe as far as the quantity of water mint and sugar, but also got a second opinion from the Ball Blue Book of Canning. BBB doesn’t use Sure Jell, so for a third opinion I pulled out the insert, slightly scorched and brown, from the Sure Jell box.
When I raised the jars from the boiling water bath, I hear immediate ‘pop!’ ‘pop!’ ‘pop!’ as the lids seal on the jars! I have to say that is a most satisfying sound. It means all your hard work—from planting watering and growing the mint, preparing the jars and lids, and cooking the jelly—has come to a wonderful fruition.
I could hardly wait for it to cool to taste it on an English muffin!
I pronounce that it is very good!