Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jams & Jellies

The boys like to brag about my jams and jellies... It makes me feel so good when I hear "My mom makes the best crabapple jelly- you're going to love it!" :-) Last year Stephen wrote a poem about our crabapple tree "giving my family delicious jelly".

And here I've been thinking of cutting the darn tree down... It's just that it makes such a mess and I only am able to get about 1/2 of the crab apples up and juiced before they go bad and then it's so hot to boil them and strain the juice... uff-dah! Cost-wise it is nice- obviously, the juice is free so then with the cost of pectin and sugar-

Juice: free
Pectin: $2.38
Sugar: $.68
Yields 4 jars @ $.76/per jar

Generic grape jelly (the very cheapest) is somewhere around $1.30 now and I use the "less sugar" pectin, so there is 1/2 as much sugar as regular jelly. (6 c. juice/4 c. sugar vs. 6 c. juice/7 c. sugar)
Of course when I make strawberry or other jams that we don't grow the fruit for, it's a bit more money, but if you compare it to the store, it's so much cheaper! And if you've never made jams or jellies before, I would encourage you to try it- it's quite simple, and doesn't take all that long to do the cooking part- maybe 30 minutes from juice to jelly in jars. The instructions in the pectin box are quite easy.

Over the last week we made: (R to L) Peach-raspberry: 1 batch, strawberry-rhubarb: 1 batch, apple: 1 batch, cherry: 1 batch, crabapple: 3 batches and strawberry: 2 batches.
I like to buy the Classico Spaghetti sauce and Adams Peanut Butter, because I can reuse the jars and lids- some of these jars I have had for 10 years and they still seal every time I make jam or jelly. On the green side- I don't have to throw away used jars and on the frugal side- I don't have to buy new lids all the time.

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