Okay, that title may be a bit misleading. Jelly making is typically not a challenge for me. After years of making it and getting great insights and tips, I feel like I have it pretty dialed in. For this month’s #fijchallenge what I did not have dialed in was navigating canning projects in a new house! Well, no time like the present to jump in and search for everything. The ingredients were easy, I only needed three. It was tracking down all of the equipment that resulted in 3 separate trips to the pantry (which is downstairs…) In the end, this helped me figure out the best places for everything to ultimately get stored. In searching for canning items I even found my missing mixer parts! Yay! The beginning of the project was a bit confusing, yet it all worked out in the end. And now there is some lovely pomegranate jelly gracing my pantry shelves!
There is not much in the way of fresh local fruit available right now and, besides, I was not in the mood to pull out the juicer, so I went the easy route and used a jar of 100% juice. I would recommend using juice that is not from concentrate for a brighter fruit flavor, but I used what I had, which did have some water added. It still worked out beautifully! Just remember to not use a juice with any added sugar.
A big bonus of small batch canning is not having to use the massive canning pot and rack to sanitize, keep hot, and process the jars. I can use 4 or 8 ounce Kerr/Ball jars with my tall stockpot and have enough room to cover the jars with water when processing. I also use a blossom trivet so the jars don’t touch the bottom. This recipe ended up making 5 1/2 cups of jelly, so I now have (3) 1/2 pints and (5) 4 oz. to enjoy and share!
4 Cups 100% Pomegranate Juice
4 Cups Organic Cane Sugar
2 Boxes (or 3.5 ounces by weight) regular, powdered pectin
1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and your jars, whatever combination you will want for 5 1/2 cups of jelly.
2. In LARGE pot (larger than you think you need, this jelly foams a lot at a rolling boil!) bring the juice to a boil.
3. Once boiling, sprinkle in the pectin with one hand and use a whisk to quickly mix it into the juice with your other hand. Do not dump all the pectin in at once, it will clump. By sprinkling and whisking at the same time it gets thoroughly mixed in. Bring the mixture back to a boil.
4. Once the juice/pectin mixture boils again, slowly whisk or stir in the sugar. Do not add the sugar all at once, if you do the temperature will drop too quickly and you run the risk of the sugar not thoroughly dissolving, resulting in a grainy finished product.
5. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down) and let it boil for 1 minute. This is where the large pot is a requirement! The photo on the left is the mixture just starting to boil, the one on the right is at a full rolling boil – almost to the top of the pot!
6. After 1 minute, turn off the heat, let the jelly settle, and test for jell. I prefer the chilled plate method. I keep 3-4 small plates in my freezer at all times so when I make jam and jelly I can just pull one out, spoon a small amount of my mixture on it, and quickly know if the set is where I want it.
7. Skim off any foam. Remove hot jars from canning pot and fill with jelly, leaving 1/4″ headspace.
8. Wipe rims with damp paper towel. Place lids on jars and tighten rings finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
9. When 10 minutes are up, remove the jars from the water bath canner and set them on a folded dish cloth or a wooden cutting board and let them cool. Check the seals and store accordingly. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. If any jars did not seal, pop them into the refrigerator for immediate enjoyment!
*By adding the pectin before the sugar and re-boiling, you allow the pectin to absorb the liquid and fully dissolve.
*With jelly recipes I prefer to use a whisk to insure full incorporation of all ingredients.
*A personal note on pectin – I often see jelly recipes calling for liquid pectin, which I do not care for. I have consistently had issues with my set when using liquid pectin and I feel it leaves a funny taste. I get very consistent, high quality results using powdered pectin so you will not see liquid pectin called for in any of my recipes. The is just how I feel and what I have experienced, but if you like using liquid pectin, by all means, do what you are comfortable with and enjoy! If a recipe calls for liquid pectin and you would like to use powdered pectin, substitute 2T. powdered pectin for 1 pouch liquid pectin. It will give you a nice loose set perfect for all kinds of toasted goodies, or spooning into yogurt or over ice cream!